White to head Lakewood School Board
HEBRON – Judy White is Lakewood’s new school board president. She replaces Joe Bowman, Jr.
White defeated nominee board member Forrest Cooperrider three votes to two during the board’s organizational meeting, which preceded the regular meeting. Board members Trisha Good, Rob Large, and White voted for White, while Cooperrider and Bowman voted for Cooperrider.
Board member Rob Large was named vice president after also defeating nominee Cooperrider three votes to two. Again, Good, Large, and White voted for Large, while Cooperrider and Bowman voted for Cooperrider.
White anticipates several challenges this year. First, staff contracts are up. On the academic level, the district must achieve Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP, on the state report card for the district to maintain its excellent rating. “That’s important to us,” she said.
Financially, the district must continue to be vigilant with its budget, particularly since cuts in state aid to local districts in the next two-year state budget beginning July 1 could be as high as 20 percent. The extent of the cuts will be clarified once the governor submits his proposed budget in March. “It won’t be easy street at all for us,” she said, despite the approval of an additional levy last year.
Board members were appointed to the following committees:
*Facility- Large, Cooperrider
*Personnel- Good, White
*Policy- White, Large
*Technology- Cooperrider, Bowman
In other school board news:
• Board member Trisha Good said the board should plan to meet at various locations around the district, at least a few meetings per year, to reach out to the community. However, for now, the board will continue to meet at 6:30 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month, in the high school library. Board members have yet to decide on alternative locations.
• Treasurer Glenna Plaisted said the new levy narrowly approved in November will be collected at 9.45 mills and cost the owner of $100,000 home $289.41 annually. She said the county conducted an estimate on property values back in August. However, the district’s property values are higher than what the county estimated so the millage needed to collect the fixed dollar amount that voters approved is less. Voters approved a 9.9 mills levy that would’ve cost the owner of a $100,000 home $303.19 annually.
• District resident Charles Laymon told board members he’s concerned about where his two children wait for the bus since most of the routes were changed for financial reasons. He said the bus passes his home twice, yet his children still must walk a fairly long distance in darkness and without a sidewalk for the bus to pick them up. “There’s a bit of a safety issue,” he said.
“I’d like to accommodate you,” said Cooperrider, but there are issues. He said he wanted to look into the situation more, but the district worked hard to cut drivers and routes.
“You’re asking us to increase costs,” said White.
Cooperrider was concerned that if the district accommodates Laymon, it would be forced to accommodate everyone who’s unhappy with the transportation plan.
Bowman said he supports accommodating Laymon.
“Seems like we’re lacking a little common sense here,” said White. She said there would be costs associated somewhere with changing routes. “We’re pennypinching here, folks,” but there’s obviously strong safety concern and it would be in the Laymon children’s best interest to pick them up at their home.
“There’s no cost to associate with the safety of any students,” Bowman said.
All board members agreed to accommodate the Laymons.
Franklin Township Trustee Jeremy Saling, present at the meeting, told board members that snowplows could be dangerous for children walking along the road, especially in darkness. “You have to think about the time change,” he said.
White said the public wants the board to re-examine the new bus routes in general.
• Lakewood High School Counselor Valerie Kieffer explained Credit Flex, a program developed for students to accelerate through curriculum they have already mastered or would like to study more in depth. Any student at any level may apply. Students may opt for independent study of coursework Lakewood doesn’t offer, such as astronomy or biochemistry, or students may test out of subjects where they’ve demonstrated mastery.
“There are several advantages to the program,” Kieffer said. Accelerated students may design an in-depth study of a specific subject. The student would create a proposal for his or her project including with whom they would work, logging hours and producing some sort of product at the end of the experience to present to the Credit Flex committee. Independent study students would work on the project outside of school, but consult with a teacher as a mentor throughout the project, which must be completed under deadline. “Considering the level of independent work associated with a project like this, Credit Flex definitely lends itself to students that are self motivated and organized,” Kieffer said.
Student athletes must keep in mind, however, that the NCAA does not recognize Division 1 students who opt to test out of courses. “Under this kind of Credit Flex, students could earn credit without actually taking a course at all,” Kieffer said. “I would advise all potential D1 athletes not to attempt to test out of anything via Credit Flex.”
Kieffer said the careers class and advanced placement courses are not test out options. The careers course is typically taken in the 10th grade for one half credit. “In this course, students explore potential careers and a large part of the class is discussion,” she said. The CollegeBoard’s standards govern advanced placement courses. “We don’t feel this classroom experience can be duplicated with course assessments or a portfolio of work,” Kieffer said. More information about Credit Flex and application materials are available on Lakewood’s web site.
• Director of Pupil Services Arnie Ettenhofer explained “Response to Intervention” to the board. He said RTI is a multitiered approach that helps struggling learners succeed and helps the district meet Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP, on the state report card.
Ettenhofer said students’ progress is closely monitored at each stage of intervention to determine the need for further researchbased instruction or intervention in general education, special education, or both. “Three levels, or tiers, relate to the specific needs of individual students,” he said. Universal screeners are used to determine a starting point. Tier one is specific direct instruction in the core classroom. Tier two takes place in addition to the core class for an additional 30 minute of direct instruction two or three times per week. Tier three is for an additional hour every day. “Research has shown that once a student gets behind, they cannot catch up with just the regular allotted time in the core classroom,” Ettenhofer said. “They need intensified direct instruction.”
Ettenhofer said the federal No Child Left Behind Act requires school districts to meet Adequate Yearly Progress in reading and math. If a district or building does not meet AYP consistently, the district is penalized in the school rating system and is said to be in School Improvement, or SI. “At Jackson Elementary we’re working hard to meet AYP in reading and math,” he said. Two sub groups are targeted-students with disabilities and economically disadvantaged. Roughly 44 percent of Lakewood students are economically disadvantaged and 15 percent have disabilities. A school must show two consecutive years of improvement to get out of SI, Ettenhofer said. Lakewood is in SI 1 Delay in math, meaning that the district needs one more year of improvement to get out of SI, and the district is SI 2 Delays in reading, meaning the district needs two strong years to get out of SI for reading.
“ We feel by implementing RTI, this will enable us to provide the extra time they need in direct instruction to catch up, and then get on a grade level in reading and math and eventually be successful at all levels,” Ettenhofer said.