WILMINGTON — The fifth grade at Wilmington City Schools (WCS) has gained a reputation for academic seriousness and for their character, and so it’s only fitting this Class of 2026’s student council was recognized Monday in front of the board of education.
Many of the youngsters are still getting to know one another as this is the first year at WCS for all fifth-graders to be housed in one elementary building — East End School.
The student council members meet monthly and have service activities such as making Veterans Day cards for VFW members, making Christmas cards for first responders, caroling in Denver Addition on a cold rainy night, and selling suckers for a playground equipment fundraiser.
WCS Superintendent Mindy McCarty-Stewart told the students she continues to hear wonderful things from their teachers, staff and principal about how wonderful the fifth-grade class is.
“Everytime I walk into this [East End School] building, it is so professional in here, everybody is so polite and respectful. I go into the classrooms and these young people are hard at work. They take their learning very serious and they’re really kind to one another,” the superintendent remarked.
McCarty-Stewart then continued and encouraged the student council members to take advantage of leadership opportunities through high school and beyond.
She concluded by describing the honored students as wonderful leaders and great role models.
The 20 members of the Fifth-Grade Student Council are Meiley Black, Ally Oeder, Espi Espinel, Rylee Long, Cassidy Patton, Mia Hollingsworth, Brealyn Jackson, Sara Weller, Chloe Hartman, Abi Earley, Sairee St. John, Maddox Engram, Eli Rose, Dartanian Morris, Clementine Latham, Veronica Calderone, Lauren Diels, Gracie Gerard, Janessa Crabtree, and Isabelle Coates.
In a report to the board, WCS Director of Operations Curt Bone gave an update on the district’s Transportation Department. As previously reported, due to the district’s switch to elementary Grade-Level Centers and to a difficulty in securing licensed bus drivers, there have been some issues.
Bone reported Monday that two new bus drivers were licensed the prior week, one full-time while the other will be available as a substitute driver in the afternoon, a nice addition to the staff as the spring sports season nears.
In a review of bus routes, he said adjustments have been made and as the school year goes on they continue to tweak and move kids as buses get full.
He said once those routes get fully implemented, they will be able to decrease some of the elementary ride times.
McCarty-Stewart added that district officials are committed to doing everything they can to reduce the amount of ride time, especially in the afternoon.
The superintendent noted the chamber of commerce last week hosted a reception for nine WHS seniors who have completed a four-year pre-engineering program at WHS known as Project Lead the Way.
All nine students have been accepted into a college, she said, with eight of the nine planning to study engineering, and one expecting to focus on business management.
A number of administrators and staff have gone to Columbus this week for restorative practices training, said McCarty-Stewart. The entire WCS staff will be trained later this spring.
Restorative practices are meant to help schools reduce student suspensions and discipline referrals.
The superintendent said she’s very excited about what this approach will bring to the students.
Holmes School Principal Karen Long reported the school has partnered with Solutions for a February through May series of monthly workshops on trauma-informed care. The workshops will teach teachers how a brain works in the wake of traumatic experiences, or when a student is involved in crisis or has stress and anxiety.
Teachers are directed how to help students de-escalate and bring them back to a place of learning, the principal said.
Denver Place School Principal Cortney Karshner-Rethmel said the third- and fourth-grade students there have been creating their own silhouettes, and then painting them with watercolors and also writing their name on them and what makes them unique. Other kids walk up to where the silhouettes are posted in the front lobby and can see what they have in common with other students, something which can create friendships and bonds, said Karshner-Rethmel.
Wilmington Middle School Assistant Principal Brian Camp said at the upcoming April school board meeting, WMS’ newly formed Rube Goldberg Club’s teams of students will display three separate Rube Goldberg contraptions they’ve created. Since 1988, thousands of students have celebrated Rube Goldberg’s legacy by creating wacky but get-the-task-done machines in an annual Rube Goldberg Machine Contest.
High school Principal Dr. Matt Unger advised the public to get tickets early for the WHS production of the musical “Grease” coming up in mid-March. One performance date already is sold out.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.