LEES CREEK — Bidding by contractors who are interested in renovating the Sabina and New Vienna elementaries will start in mid-March, with the work expected to start this summer.
The East Clinton school board authorized this step as part of ongoing preparations for a project that involves building a new middle school and upgrading the high school and two elementaries.
As previously reported, Elevar Design Group, an architectural firm headquartered in Cincinnati, was chosen to design the construction and the renovations.
Both EC principals who gave in-person reports at the Feb. 25 board meeting spoke about a jump in attendance mediations that are taking place due to absenteeism among their students.
Middle School Principal Robbin Luck reported 57 attendance mediations to date. Normally, the middle school has about 12 mediations in a school year.
Of course, she noted, this is not a normal school year.
Luck commented the pandemic has taken a toll on attendance, with this year’s startings and stoppings and situations of in-person and remote learning formats.
Sabina Elementary School Principal Matthew Willian reported 40 attendance mediations, compared to a normal five or six.
On another matter, he spoke about Sabina educators making a more conscious and intentional effort to highlight a subset of students who often get left out in the official recognition of school children. These young pupils have excellent character, he said, but they may struggle academically and they won’t necessarily attain an honor or merit roll.
“We wanted to make sure we were highlighting those great things that they are doing,” said Willian.
So there is a “character wall” at Sabina Elementary that has eight qualities of character that personify what it means to be a Sabina student, traits such as optimism, persistence, resilience, flexibility, and citizenship.
Over the past two weeks there have been 45 submissions to the Character Wall where teachers are giving specific examples of something that a student does, he said.
A student recognized for optimism, for example, will have his photo under “Optimism”. The effort serves to encourage certain behavior, and to find examples of what a Sabina student should look like in their actions, the principal said.
Willian added, “To respond to behavior is one thing; to teach behavior is another thing.”
Of state testing that’s coming up this unusual school year, he said, “We probably all can agree, the most valuable use of our time would not be taking the test.” But since it is not going away, Willian said they plan to make it into an opportunity and try some creative things, such as using it to gather data on how to test in the future.
In a written report submitted to the board, New Vienna Elementary Principal Jason Jones said, “All grade levels are involved in celebrating Black History Month during the month of February. Students are immersed in lessons, projects and literature that feature people of color as authors or central characters. Deeper conversations about the importance of celebrating this month have taken place at the teacher/staff levels. Our end goal is to recognize, honor and celebrate each other with no barriers.”
East Clinton Local Schools Superintendent Eric Magee said he is happy to report that all of the district’s employees who wished to take the COVID-19 vaccination have received their first shot.
About 97 EC employees have chosen to do that, which is about 60 percent, and Magee pointed out that some staffers who did not take part in the first round of shots did so because they had tested positive within the prior 90 days and their doctors told them to wait 90 days before vaccination.
Magee proposed hiring a literacy coach for the elementary grades for 2021-22, with the new position to replace what’s called a Title teacher position.
In a separate personnel matter, East Clinton Director of Curriculum and Instruction Terri Barton advised Magee she will be retiring effective June 30.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.