Ferry preps for third grade reading

MARTINS FERRY – The board of education held its first meeting of the year Monday.

Superintendent Dirk Fitch addressed the Third Grade Reading Guarantee, which will institute standards in year 2013/2014. Third graders in danger of failing must be taught by a teacher with a reading endorsement, a master’s degree in reading, who has been rated above value added for the past two school years, or from a credential program on an approved list. Fitch reported four or five teachers meet those qualifications in the district, but only two at the elementary school.

“So we need to make a plan,” he said.

Muskingum University has offered to run classes in spring so that teachers may obtain reading endorsements. A grant will pay for the program.

Scott Ballint was elected board president, with Nick Stankovich vice president

Stankovich reported that House Bill 191, which would change the required time in school from a minimum number of days to a minimum number of hours passed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 53 to 38 and will move to the Senate.

He also reported on House Bill 143, an inquiry on youth head injuries. The outcome advised districts to follow procedures of the Ohio Athletic Association with nothing new added.

In addition, he reported that Sen. Lou Gentile and other legislators were pushing to obtain more local tax funds for entities such as sheriff’s departments, schools and municipalities.

Fitch reported that the district has received thanks from the Upper Ohio Valley Sexual Assault Center Inc. for providing a performance.

Fitch added that teacher evaluation is ongoing, with three completed and three remaining.

Arrangements have also been make with the Martins Ferry Education Association to train teachers the new teacher evaluation system.

In other matters, the treasurer reported the county auditor could not predict if property values could raise due to oil and gas interests.

Board approved changing the minimum wage from $7.70 to $7.85 per hour.

Among certified employees, board approved Courtney Stewart as a substitute teacher for the 2012-2013 school year. For non-certified employees, Pam Riggenbach was approved as afternoon bus driver effective Jan. 15. Charles Bennett resigned as a bus driver.

Board approved professional meetings. Fitch will attend active shooter training for educators Jan. 17, 2013 at St. Clairsville.

Paige Williams, Meagan Totterdale, and Amanda White, will attend Be the Best You are Coaches Clinic Jan. 17-19 at Cherry Hill, NJ.

Lori Beck, Rhonda Dalton, Babe Sidon, and Lisa Shriver will attend eight Mathematical practices and the Common Core, third to fifth grade teachers, Jan. 23, 2013 at St. Clairsville.

Rich Materkoski, Paul Matuska, will attend OATCCC Track Coaches Clinic Jan. 25-26 at Columbus.

Sue Ferrell will attend Understanding by Design Feb. 11-12 at New Philadelphia.

Stacey Bliss, Pam Cox, Bruce Hotlosz, Paul Matuska, Greg Steele, Meagan Totterdale, Chad Ware, Paige Williams, and Chas Yoder will attend an educational technology conference Feb. 11-13 at Columbus.

Derek Wayne will attend the WVU Honor Band Feb. 14-16 at Morgantown WV.

The next meeting will be held Feb. 11, 5:30 p.m.

DeFrank can be reached at rdefrank@timesleaderonline.com