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Liberty Union-Thurston gets ready for new school year

BALTIMORE – Holly Griffin will be the new assistant principal at Liberty Union-Thurston middle and high schools. She replaces Ken Dille who resigned to become principal of Logan High School.

Griffin, who is coming from Canal Winchester, is a former English teacher and curriculum specialist. “I’m very excited to be here,” she told board members at their June 13 meeting.

During their reports at the June 13 meeting, high school principal Matt Gallatin said 97 seniors graduated in May and two more are working to complete their graduation requirements this summer. He added that 12 seniors had speaking roles at the graduation ceremony, calling it a “great day.”

Middle school principal Tim Turner reported that 51 middle school students out of a total of 400 achieved a 4.0 grade average in the last nine-week grading period. Elementary principal Linda Rainey said 70 students are participating in the summer reading program.

In other business June 13, board members approved the first increase in school meal prices since August 2012. The district was required to increase prices by $0.10 each to better align paid lunch prices with the free lunch reimbursable rate. Prices for 2016-17 school year are:

• Student Reduced Price Breakfast: Free

• Student Reduced Price Lunch: $0.40

• Student Breakfast (all buildings): $1.10

• Elementary school student lunch: $2.35

• Middle/high school student lunch: $2.60

• Adult breakfast: $1,50

• Adult lunch: $3.00

• Milk: $0.40

Board members approved three resignations including Dille’s, Andrew Bauer as high school intervention specialist and assistant football coach and Carrie Moenter as high school math teacher.

The following supplemental contracts were approved:

• Thomas Gaskins – instrumental music;

• Emily Fisher – high school vocal music;

• Katy Noel – JV volleyball coach;

• Annie Fowler – JV football cheerleading;

• Tammy Harris – Middle school student council advisor;

• Susan Steffen – middle school yearbook advisor;

• Tabitha McCarthy – elementary school yearbook advisor; and

• Susan Steffen – 6th grade outdoor education

Curriculum coordinator Jennifer Blackstone explained a new grading scale for third grade students starting in August. Currently, fourth through twelfth graders receive the traditional A through F letter grades, she said. Kindergarten through third grade reive standards based grading: M (meeting), P (sometimes) and L (limited). Starting up the with the upcoming, new school year, third graders will transition o the A-F letter grades. Blackstone that move would make it easier for parents to understand the third grade reading guarantee.

Board members also recognized the May co-students of the month. They were junior Jamie Walter and freshman Milton Kellner.

At Monday night’s July board meeting, board members breezed through a very routine agenda. They unanimously approved spending $71,400 to lease 300 Chromebooks for three years. “We will be pretty close to one for one (one computer per student) this year,” distrist technology coordinator John LaBelle told board members. “I believe we are ahead of the curve as far as other schools in the county.” The district can purchase the lot for $1 after the three year lease is up.

Board members also approved his recommendation to spend an estimated $84,283 to install and new bell and clock system at the high school and an estimated $80,592 for the same at the elementary school. The vendor is Xtek Partners of Dublin.

A $32,712 contract with New Horizons Mental Health Services was also approved to provide interventions specialist to serve as consultants to teachers and staff in the areas of substance abuse, mental health education, substance abuse prevention and early intervention for children. A $238,000 contract with Capital City Mechanical was approved to upgrade and integrate automation and control systems for all three schools. The district’s maintenance supervisor will be able to monitor and change temperature controls remotely via a smartphone.

Pay-to-participate fees were renewed at the same level for the 2016-17 school year. The fee will remain $95 per student per sport with no caps or family limits. The fee for high school band and flag/ majorette corps is $50. The high school chorus and high school vocal chorale is $25. Knowledge Bowl is $20.

Two new teachers were hired:

• Jenni Sage as high school intervention specialist; and

• Julie Matheny as high school math teacher.

The following supplemental contracts were approved:

• Lauren Spector, high school yearbook advisor;

• Chuck Bauer, assistant varsity football coach;

• Andrew Vannatta, assistant varsity football coach;

• Mike Grover, head junior high football coach;

• Angi Landis, junior high football cheer coach;

• Michael Sage, freshman volleyball coach;

• Seth Martin, head boys basketball coach;

• John LaBelle, junior varsity boys basketball coach;

• Ryan Snyder, freshman boys basketball coach;

• David Sharp, 8th grade boys basketball coach;

• Jeff Fletcher, 7th grade boys basketball coach;

• Adam Twiss, head girls basketball coach;

• Randy Darst, junior varsity girls basketball coach;

• Jeff Mayzum, freshman girls basketball coach;

• James Peck, 8th grade girls basketball coach;

• Karen Morris, 7th grade girls basketball coach;

• Jeff Evans, band assistant;

• Paige Blosser, Flag Corps advisor;

• Marcus Alford, head wrestling coach;

• Justin Blackstone, boys basketball volunteer;

• Brett Bressler, wrestling volunteeer;

• Miles Haines, wrestling volunteer;

• Michell Kauffman, wrestling volunteer;

• Brian Arnold, swimming volunteeer;

• Natalie Lewellen, swimming volunteer; and

• Elizabeth Davis, cheerleading volunteer.

Three resignations were also accepted:

• Chuck Bauer, junior high head football coach;

• Michael Sage, volleyball volunteer; and

• Annie Fowler, junior varsity football cheer coach.

The board’s next regular meeting is set for 7 p.m. on Monday, August 8, at the Liberty Union district office.

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