March 6 Board Meeting

Photo by Elena Meadows

Photo by Elena Meadows

Kaitlin Ritchie, Junior Editor

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The Board of Education recognized the employee of the month, recognized the recent success of students, learned more about the education around Three Rivers and the county, went over proposals from committees and approved multiple future field trips.  The board meeting took place in the administration building on Monday, March 6.

The employee of the month is Steve Karabetsos, P.E. teacher at Norton.  Karabetsos was credited with creativity as a way of getting the Norton students actively moving.

Director of Instructional Leadership at the St. Joseph County ISD, Diane Talo, gave a presentation on focus schools.  Talo explained why Three Rivers is considered a focus school.  Focus schools are based on a gap between the top thirty percentile and the bottom thirty percentile of SAT scores.  Closing the gap between the top and bottom will get Three Rivers out of the focus school list, which is the ultimate goal.  To learn more about focus schools, Talo suggests going to https://goo.gl/6c7iYo .

Three Rivers band director, Bryan VanToll, presented the success of the instrumental music department.  VanToll brought up the amazing support the band boosters give in order to make the bands successful.  He mentioned the growth of the program and the connections gained.  With the growth of the band program, VanToll proposed new uniforms for the TRHS Marching Band in a few years, as it would be necessary with the ever growing program that is expecting at least 100 members next year.

Jen Graber, the principal of Norton presented Norton Elementary School’s mission and vision.  Graber mentioned what the staff, administration and Norton as a whole have been working on to improve the academic and social success of Norton.

Also reporting on an elementary school, Allison Taylor, the principal of Ruth Hoppin Elementary School, explained what Hoppin was doing to help the students get engaged in learning.  Taylor said that professional development has been a huge help with Hoppin’s efforts in teaching the students.

Superintendent Jean Logan presented the proposal from the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to change the school grading system from a letter scale A-E to A-F.  Passing would change to a 75 percent rather than a 70 percent.  The system would include how Three Rivers compared to different districts.

Secretary of the board of education Dan Ryan proposed businesses ask employees during an exit interview on how to improve, as part of the Human Resource Committee.  This would be used as a tool to seek improvement on the business’s or company’s part.  Ryan also brought up a proposal for an increase in retirement intake or for every sick day earned.

Trustee Mike Bosma proposed during his report on the Curriculum Committee that the middle school start teaching Earth Sciences.  It was also initially proposed by Julie Howe that College Algebra be added as a dual enrollment course.  Carrie Balk, high school principal, and Howe, had proposed earlier to the board regarding a senior seminar for graduating students.  The board decided if it were to happen, it would be as an elective.

Vice President Diana DeGraaf reported on the policy committee and mentioned looking at the code of ethics for the next meeting.

The board approved the out of state field trips for the Norton Elementary fifth grade going to Chicago and for the music departments going to Florida.  The board also approved and agreed to pay for the TRHS and TRMS Quiz Bowl teams going to state.

The board meeting came to a close with a discussion of policies, a recommendation for a bus purchase and board comments.  The discussion of policies included summer school from July 10 to August 10.  A proposal was made to bring back the calendar committee and make it possible for kids to get more of their own bowls at Empty Bowls.  Board comments came from Trustee Anne Riopel explaining why she had said “no” to Pre-AP, limiting online classes and limiting college classes.

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