NAPOLEON — The start of the new school year and the Ohio Department of Education district report card were topics of discussion during the Napoleon Area Board of Education meeting on Wednesday.
Superintendent Erik Belcher briefly discussed the start of the 2020-21 school year, telling the members that district administrators would share more information about what is taking place in their buildings.
“You talk about stress that was on us all the way through the summer and how things were going to go ... that confusion takes its toll on an organization,” said Belcher. “I couldn’t be more proud of the administrative team, our teachers, our students and our parents and how well they are doing. We’re off to a great start.”
The district administrators, available on Zoom, took turns discussing the start of the school year.
“We started our plan at the elementary school by keeping students together in pods as much as possible,” said Matt Dietrich, pre-kindergarten-second grade principal. “Kids are eating breakfast and lunch in their classrooms, the specials are in their homerooms, and kids are having recess with the kids in their homerooms.
“The parents have done a phenomenal job, they’ve been flexible, kids are coming in with masks ... I can’t say enough about our parents,” added Dietrich. “We are in the process of transitioning back to the cafeteria on Monday, and to our specials on Tuesday, so that the setting will be more familiar for our kids.”
Adam Niese, grades 3-6 principal, echoed Dietrich, telling the board that the plans to start the year were all about keeping everyone as safe as possible, and that everyone at the elementary building is adapting well.
Ryan Wilde, junior/senior high principal, told the board that summer planning was the key to the year getting off to a good start, that students there have been grouped together, and that a change to the schedule has helped in keeping kids better socially distanced.
Wendy Nashu, director of student services and curriculum, shared that special education has looked different, with many students not at school in person, but that some students have returned for in-person learning. A lot of training has taken place, especially concerning remote learning, and the staff has adapted well.
Belcher also told the board that the district has received its district report card from the 2019-20 school year. The report cards don’t include the usual performance rankings and indicators (due to the COVID-19 shutdown in March), but does include information about graduation rates, enrollment, attendance and spending.
The superintendent shared the district is taking advantage of Seamless Summer Meal Program, available to all school districts in the state through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The program allows all students to receive free breakfast and lunch through Dec. 31, or until funds for the program run out.
In other business, the board:
• voted for permanent appropriations for 2020-21.
• approved FMLA leave for Pam Ledbetter from Aug. 27 for up to 12 weeks.
• okayed the employment of the following individuals: Emily Gasche as head custodian at Napoleon Elementary, effective Aug. 3; Garrett Dempsey as assistant custodian at Napoleon Junior/Senior High, effective Aug. 19; Denise Lalonde, special education tutor for remote learning students with moderate to severe disabilities, effective Aug. 21, at the tutor rate of $29.02 for no more than 29 hours per week; Stacy Eberle, as an assistant cook at Napoleon Junior/Senior High, effective Aug. 26, for six hours per day; Courtney Knapp, as an assistant cook at Napoleon Elementary, effective Aug. 31 for three hours per day; and Susan Lee, special education tutor for remote learning students with moderate to severe disabilities, effective Aug. 21, at the tutor rate of $29.02 for no more than 29 hours per week.
• voted for the change in hours worked for Patricia Kramer, Title I teacher at St John Lutheran School, to 2 1/2 hours, twice a week, effective Sept. 14 for a total of 68 days for 2020-21.
• approved the following athletic coaches for 2020-21: Terri Haase, ticket manager; Michael Retcher, winter athletic supervisor; Bethany Borton (2/3) and Sam Wesche (1/3), swimming varsity assistants; and Haley Burdue, junior high volleyball.
• authorized the use of the school name for the Napoleon eSports Club as a club sport, and allowed the club to use the Napoleon High School logo and name for competition at no cost to the district.
• okayed the following athletic volunteers for 2020-21: Randy Schwaiger and David Kiessling, bowling; Virgil Bohls, cross country; Jacob Gebers and Jared Rex, eSports; Josh Lamming, football; and Branden Turner, golf.
• voted for the following supplemental contracts for 2020-21: Larry Wesche, assistant athletic director; and Michael Retcher, concession stand manager.
• approved Heather Villagomez and Lindsay Wachtmann (Napoleon Elementary), and Jill Petee, (Napoleon Junior/Senior High) as online instructional tutors for students enrolled in the Napoleon Opportunity Academy, at the tutor rate of $29.02 per hour.
• okayed Anastasia Konstantinova for early graduation.
• voted for the following substitute positions for 2020-21: Adam Bjorlin, teacher, effective Aug. 27; Brian Conroy, custodial, effective Aug. 27; and Heidi Schroeder, cafeteria, secretarial, effective Sept. 3.
• ratified contracts with the Wood County Juvenile Detention Education Program; and a content licensing agreement with Buckeye Broadband/BCSN.
• approved several board policy revisions due to changes in state and federal law.
• okayed filing a proof of claim on behalf of the district in the Purdue Pharma bankruptcy lawsuit, at no cost to the district.
• voted for membership to the Napoleon/Henry County Chamber of Commerce for 2020-21 at a cost of $100.
• modified an agreement with Ohio Deferred Compensation to allow for Roth457(b) contributions.
• approved a yearbook agreement with Jostens for three years, from 2022-24.
• amended the substitute teacher pay schedule as follows: $100 per day for 15 consecutive days; $105 per day for days 16-50; and scale pay on the 51st day of the same assignment.
• okayed the following then and now purchase orders: Integrity Sports Services, $5,316.95; and Jostens, $6,572.33.
• accepted the following donations: a total of 24, 32-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer and four, 5-gallon jugs of hand sanitizer from the Napoleon Gleaners; $500 from ConnectGEN the Helping Hands Fund; 700 masks from the Gerken Companies to Napoleon Junior/Senior High School.