The Wilmington City School District Board of Education held their regular meeting on October 23, 2023 at Wilmington Middle School. Mr. Ted Kirkpatrick, Dean of Satellites for Great Oaks Career Campuses, was a guest presenter at the meeting. Mr. Kirkpatrick shared a brief history of their satellite programs and how Great Oaks and WCS work together to provide this opportunity for WCS students. WHS has had one of their satellite programs, Project Lead the Way (PLTW) engineering program, for a number of years. This year marks the start of having a new satellite program at the middle school level as well. At the middle school level student us individuality to design and create their own projects, using guidelines provided by the instructor. WMS PLTW instructor Chris Huelsman had some of his WMS students share their projects with the Board.
WMS recognized a number of students from this new satellite program. Braxton Pierce, Gracie Goodwin, Bailey Huff, Andrea Manzo, and Brendan Norris were recognized for being Design and Modeling Top Academic Performers. Emily Blakey received the Design and Modeling Engineer Award. Bailey Oetzel was recognized as Design and Modeling Most Improved.
Pupil Services Director, Natalie Harmeling, provided an update regarding a new mentoring program at Wilmington Middle School/High School called Check & Connect - a research-based intervention program from the University of Minnesota that has a 30 year history of success in improving student achievement. Students who struggle with attendance, grades, and/or behavior are partnered with trained volunteer mentors. Mentors meet with their mentees twice a month at school to check in, provide encouragement and support, help the student build skills, and be a positive influence in their lives. 2 mentors, Jamie Roe and John Wirmel, shared their experiences at the Board meeting. They talked about helping their mentees set goals to bring up grades and develop action steps, then celebrating the students' success when they raised a D to a B two weeks later. They have been invited to choir concerts (and plan to attend!), discovered a shared interest in cooking and swapping recipes, and have had conversations that build trust and encourage meaningful dialog. The students in the program automatically have one more person, in addition to their parents and teacher, who is rooting for them and is willing to help them succeed. Mrs. Harmeling shared that they are already seeing a positive impact from this program.
Students in 3rd-12th grade have recently been participating in Readiness Assessments in tested content areas. This is a practice assessment from the State that helps teachers identify where students are currently and helps guide instruction throughout the year. With this benchmark, teachers can develop more focused instruction to help students reach specific learning goals. Throughout the District, teachers have been participating in professional development surrounding the concept of Explicit Instruction and how it can be utilized in the classroom to improve student learning and achievement. Buildings are also focusing on teaching and reinforcing expected behaviors to improve the climate in each building.
With Veterans Day just around the corner, each building is planning activities that honor veterans.
Mrs. Woodruff, WHS Principal, shared that WHS recently hosted over 50 colleges for College Fair and extended the invitation to the other schools in the county. Last week, 10th and 12th graders were able to attend the Career Fair hosted by Laurel Oaks.Mrs. Woodruff also shared that WHS has started a school-wide system for reinforcing expected behavior.
WHS had a great homecoming week and were able to reschedule the homecoming parade for October 18th. The football team is hosting the first round playoff game this Friday. WHS Choir had their first concert last week and WHS bands held a concert after the Board meeting. The WHS Marching Band has qualified for State competition in November - their 31st time qualifying! Lastly, WHS will have their first theatre production of the school year, The Diary of Anne Frank, on November 10th -12th.
WMS Principal Ms. Martin shared that the Middle School is focusing on helping students learn how to collaborate and become active learners. Additionally, WMS is participating in a SMART adoption with the Ohio Department of Education. The purpose of this partnership is to have Instructional partners help WMS instructional leaders so they can better implement their high-quality math materials, Illustrative Math, and determine next steps to improve planning. Instructional partners come into the building and observe classrooms and give feedback on instruction, identifying for the teachers what is going well and areas for improvement.
Ms. Martin also spoke about the implementation of Positive Behavior Intervention Supports known as PBIS. WMS staff have focused on teaching and reinforcing both classroom and building expectations with students. In the 1st Quarter, students worked to earn points based on meeting behavior expectations. A record 89% of WMS students earned enough points to qualify for the incentive field trip to the Murphy Theatre. WMS is raising the bar for the 2nd quarter by doubling the amount of points required to earn a spot on the incentive trip. Grades will factor into earning points along with meeting behavior expectations.This renewed focus on expected behavior is yielding positive results and an improved climate at WMS.
This week is Red Ribbon Week where the theme is “Be kind to your mind. Live Drug Free”. The students are participating in different age-appropriate activities this week during morning meetings to reinforce the importance of making healthy choices. 5th Grade has been dissecting Owl pellets and loving it! 4th Grade science just learned about plate tectonics and are now working on pumpkin catapults.
Upcoming events for Denver include a 4th Grade trip to Fort Ancient. MH students will be going to the pumpkin patch as they work on life cycles this week.
Dr. Tanner, Holmes Principal, shared that the Wilmington Fire Department spent 2 mornings last week at Holmes teaching fire safety to Kindergarten students. Parent/teacher conferences were held on 2 nights last week with virtual, in-person, and phone options available to parents. She has seen an increase in participation by adding flexible meeting options. Dr. Tanner highlighted Connor Hendrickson, the new music teacher at Holmes, for his creative classroom instruction which has students excited about participating in his class.
The Board approved a number of business items at the meeting that included adoption of Board policy revisions and two new policies to remain compliant with current Ohio law. The revisions and new policies had been presented at the last Board meeting for consideration. The Board approved an overnight field trip for 4 engineering students at WHS to attend SkillsUSA Leadership Conference in November. Lastly, the Board approved an emergency request to approve two agreements with Air Force One to remove a boiler at Holmes Elementary and the High School and install new Lochinvar boilers at both locations. Both of these boilers failed in the last couple of weeks. Due to the imminent winter weather, these replacements will need to be declared an emergency purchase in order to forego bidding requirements which would delay the project by three to four weeks. Quotes for the project are $72,264 for Holmes and $79,999 for the HS. Repairs are possible, however the cost to replace the heat exchanger alone is nearly the same cost as a new boiler.
The Treasurer provided the monthly financial update and routine personnel items that are itemized in the minutes that will be posted online. Board minutes are presented at the next regular meeting prior to being posted online. The next regular Board meeting is Monday, November 27, 2023 at 6:00 PM and will be held at Denver Elementary.