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DePauw students to provide reading tutoring at GHS

Friday, September 11, 2009

GREENCASTLE -- DePauw students will soon be helping Greencastle High School students who need tutoring with their reading.

Ellen Ditmer of the Reading Improvement Center spoke to the Greencastle Community School Board Wednesday about the DePauw tutors coming in on a trial basis.

Ditmer said she has been working with DePauw tutors for several years, and she thinks they are capable of tutoring high school students.

"It seems to me that with the needs of the students and the teachers wanting help for their students, this could be a nice fit for our tutors," Ditmer said.

She said the tutors would be a mix of honors scholars, work-study students and volunteers. Because this will start out in a trial period, three or four tutors will begin coming to the school in early October.

"We're starting small and seeing what happens," Ditmer said.

If successful, the program should be of great benefit to GHS students. Test scores reveal that some high school students continue to read at an elementary school level.

"It should have an impact, not only in their reading, but across the board. As we know, when students have trouble reading, they have trouble accessing all information," said GHS Principal Randy Corn.

GHS Athletic Director Scott Knapp was also in attendance Wednesday to present the GHS coaches' athletic handbook.

An athletic review committee was formed in the spring to fine tune things in the athletic department, including updating the handbook.

The new handbook combines some new elements with things that were already in the old handbook. Knapp estimated 80 to 85 percent of the content to be pre-existing, but some things were update.

Two board members expressed some concerns with the new handbook. Board President Barbara Bryan said she would like to see a couple of minor revisions, while member Jack Berry wanted some more specific character guidelines for the coaches.

"I guess I was a little disappointed that there weren't more specific character references in the code of conduct. I guess I'd like to see a little bit more teeth into it," Berry said.

He said with athletics being one of the most visible parts of the school in the community, he wants to make sure the coaches are held to high standards.

"Athletics is probably something that we get the most complaints on," he said.

In other business:

* The board approved early graduation for a GHS student. Principal Corn has already met with the young man and his family and gave his recommendation.

* The board authorized Superintendent Dr. Robert Green to advertise for additional appropriations to the rainy day fund. The money will go toward the maintenance of copy machines.

"This is not going to raise taxes, and we have the funds in the rainy day fund to cover this," Green said.

* Green reported that average daily enrollment as of Aug. 31 is 1,972.5 students in the district. (The half student comes from kindergartners only being counted as halves in the official count.)

The number is down two students from last year's count.

The official count day for 2009 is later this month. School funding is affected by the official count.

* The board approved 22 personnel items including:

Hirings -- Jana Walker as temporary GHS guidance counselor; Jeffrey Miller as temporary substitute teacher; Kyla Dixon as temporary Title I teacher at Deer Meadow; Kevin Rollins as custodian at Deer Meadow, Mike Phillips as custodian at Tzouanakis; Hope Sutherlin, Kim Duell and Collen Rainey as Response to Intervention assistants at GMS; Kristy Stockall and Elizabeth Anderson as noon aides at Deer Meadow; Frances Luedke as noon aide at Tzouanakis; and Lori McCullar as behavioral support personnel for special needs student.

Transfers -- Chris Williamson from noon aide at Tzouanakis to GMS, Fred Britton from 12-month custodian at Tzouanakis to nine-month custodian at GMS, and Amanda Haddon from 12-month custodian at Deer Meadow to cafeteria assistant at Deer Meadow.

Leaves of absence -- Shannon Fritz for the entire first semester and Amy Wheeler from Aug. 28 for approximately four to six weeks.

Athletics -- Chasity Wood hired as assistant softball lay coach; Hailee Newton, volunteer girls' soccer lay coach; Olivia Miller, volunteer assistant volleyball lay coach; Logan Kuhne, volunteer assist boys' cross country coach; and Steve Miller, volunteer assistant girls' basketball lay coach.

Board members had questions about why some assistant coaching positions were not filled before the beginning of practices in August, but the personnel report passed unanimously.

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