WILMINGTON — Children in Wilmington’s early grades will lose their principal this summer as Karen Long moves on to work for the Ohio Writing Project based at Miami University.
“I’ll be helping teachers with writing instruction and offering professional development to teachers around writing instruction,” Long said after Monday’s school board meeting.
Long taught seventh-grade language arts at Wilmington Middle School before she became the principal of Denver Place Elementary and then, this school year, the principal of Holmes Elementary.
Holmes Elementary School houses students in the kindergarten, first and second grades.
In other news about building principals, the board approved a three-year contract for Cortney Karshner-Rethmel who is principal at Denver Elementary, and a two-year contract for Bert Martini who is principal at the middle school.
In other personnel items on the board’s agenda, kindergarten teachers Diane Anderson and Betsy Holmer will retire after the school year ends. Wilmington High School English teacher Ilayna Busch and WHS French teacher Kristen McDonie will resign over the summer.
During student recognition, the Wilmington Middle School’s Math Club was recognized. A club sponsor said club members “interact” with math problems, and sometimes the teacher-sponsors and students solve an especially hard problem by working together.
Also recognized was the middle school’s first-ever Rube Goldberg invention teams. And several high school students were recognized for going to the nation’s capital in a “how-to lobby” practical experience. High School Principal Dr. Matt Unger said Wilmington College reached out to the high school and invited interested students to take part in what is an annual trip for a number of WC students.
The WHS students had an opportunity to speak directly with U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers and with a staffer from U.S. Sen. Rob Portman’s office.
During Long’s principal’s report, she said that during a four-part after-school series on trauma, staffers learned “a grounding exercise” to use for the building’s K-to-second-grade students who are feeling upset or anxious. Staffers have started to use the strategy and have noticed they have been able to calm students sooner, “getting them refocused, feeling safe and ready to learn,” related Long.
It’s a 5-4-3-2-1 technique that asks students to name five things they see, four things they can feel, three things they hear, two things they smell, and one good thing about themselves.
Commenting on this school year’s launching of grade level centers in the elementary schools, Long said she visited all five first-grade English language arts (ELA) classrooms and observed common, consistent instructional strategies among them. Greater collaboration among teachers within the same grade level was one of the potential benefits cited in favor of switching from geographically based elementaries to the grade level centers.
East End Principal Jen Martin said fifth-graders at the building are looking forward to “Be Nice Out There” which is an upcoming one-day event at Camp Kern. “Be Nice Out There” is the fifth-grade version of Project Trust which is primarily aimed at seventh- and eighth-graders and involves a three-day retreat.
But the goal is the same for both programs: community building and bullying reduction.Wilmington City Schools has been involved with Project Trust since 1992, said Martin.
WHS students who serve as Project Trust counselors for the middle school event will also come for East End’s “Be Nice Out There”. Martin hopes to write grant applications and be awarded a grant and so be able to offer the experience every year for fifth-graders.
The board approved two changes to supplemental positions and salary schedules starting in the 2019-20 school year. One change is the addition of a junior varsity lacrosse coach supplemental for $1,507. According to the school board informational packet, this change aligns to other programs and is needed due to an increase in students participating in the program.
The second change is to increase the middle school cheer coach supplemental, going from $1,596 to $2,392. This increase compensates appropriately the support and supervision needed for the fall and winter sports seasons and any additional responsibilities when students take part in competitions, states the board’s packet.
In an item on the treasurer’s agenda, Karen and Bob Carter donated $220 for the middle school Project Trust camp scholarships.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.