Ferry BOE eyes rating changes

MARTINS FERRY The Martins Ferry Board of Education held its regular meeting Monday to review ongoing projects.

Superintendent Dirk Fitch updated the board on House Bill 555, which will reform district rating from the current degrees of excellence to terms of A, B, C, D, or F. The system will go into effect next year. Any effects on the district’s current ratings are yet to be determined.

In addition, the River Schools Initiative and Safe and Healthy Schools program is providing grant funds and approval to purchase a fingerprint and identification print along with the police department as a co-op. Local students will be fingerprinted once the funds are released.

Fitch also noted that enrollment has decreased slightly. He is putting together a team to look at options to increase enrollment. Offering after school day care may be an option.

Winter drug testing for winter sports athletes is also coming up.

Elementary School Principal Jim Fogle reported an increase in enrollment to 536 students from the 532 students at the beginning of the year. He noted that their state report card showed a performance index of 103.5 compared to last year’s 97.3. The school earned an evaluation of excellent with distinction this year.

“We’re very proud of that and all the hard work that went into it,” he said, adding that many of their initiatives will be repeated these include the eight-weeks spring after school programs for third and fourth graders to study the Ohio Achievement Assessment tests.

He noted the state derives value-added status by taking one year’s growth from every state of Ohio and averaging it. Martins Ferry pupils met and exceeded it.

In addition, Fogle noted the STARS program is in operation and Ohio Achievement Tests were administered the second week of the school year. The program assesses the students’ progress and gives individual planning reports and assists teachers in pointing out areas in need of improvement. Overall class reports and building scores are also provided, which aid in setting math and achievement scores.

Board congratulated Fogle, the schools staff and students for their work.

Board approved the employment of Rachel Webster and Carol Harrison as substitute teachers.

Board approved requests from Kristen Steele to attend the K-1 Science Toolkit Nov. 14 at New Philadelphia and Pam Cox to attend the Do It All and Do It Right meeting Dec. 13-14 at Morgantown, WV.

Board approved stipend pay for certified teachers and the physical education curriculum guide, noting that it conforms to state standards.

Board approved the creation of an account for the Middle School Student Council.

Board approved the workers’ comp rate of .008972 with Comp Management as TPA – $1,400.

Board approved changing the useful life of buses to five-20 years and computer software to an equipment code to be depreciated and not expended in one year.

Board approved changing the $1,270 advance into 599-9110 in FY10 to a transfer.

Board noted successful Veterans Day assemblies.

The next meeting is set for Dec. 10, 5:30 p.m.

DeFrank can be reached at rdefrank@timesleaderonline.com