North Putnam moves toward 'No Excuses Environment'

Friday, November 20, 2009

BAINBRIDGE -- North Putnam Community School Superintendent Mary Sugg Lovejoy told board members at their Thursday night meeting she wants to develop a "No Excuses Environment" for the school system.

This comes as part of the school's administration goals that are being developed.

"This is a commitment to student achievement," explained Lovejoy. "At our meetings we set all the excuses we normally use on the table. All students can achieve very high goals."

Lovejoy went on to talk about a recent superintendent's meeting where the topic was discussed.

"There are many schools that have many more difficulties than North Putnam, and they have been successful," she said. "We have very supportive parents, teachers, administrators and community."

Lovejoy went on to talk about a school with a 59 percent poverty rate that has a student passing rate of between 25 and 32 percent. Over an eight-year period, that school system was able to attain a 75 percent passing rate.

"If we are successful, the most important thing is what our children learn," she said. "Not what we teach them, but what they learn."

A discussion took place concerning taking out a loan of $186,669.52 to pay the bill for the smart boards and discovery software purchased for the corporation with the expectation of grant funds coming from Old National Trail.

Board member Andy Beck asked fellow board members if anyone remembered the group authorizing this purchase. Other members did not recall it, but acknowledged that the purchase was made through ONT.

The company delivered and installed the equipment and software last June. Now, payment is due in full. The equipment was bought based on receiving a stimulus grant that has not yet been received.

Lovejoy said a partial payment had been received from the state, and she viewed this as a good sign that the rest of the money would be forthcoming. Her plan, she said, was to repay the loan as soon as the money is received from the grant.

Board member Carl Blau asked if it was possible to return the smart boards and other equipment.

It was noted that it would be very expensive to do so. A motion to approve the loan application was made. It passed on a 4-2 vote with Beck and Blau voting against it.

Lovejoy opened the public hearing to seek additional appropriations of $10,000 for the School Bus Replacement Fund, $45,000 for the Debt Service Fund and $45,000 for the Pre-School Special Education Fund.

A motion was made and passed 6-0 in favor.

A discussion about the Dollars for Scholars Fundraiser took place. This is an opportunity for students, parents and staff to work the concession stands at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis to earn money. A group of students from Perry Meridian made $10,000 during their fundraiser at the stadium over a four-day period.

Lovejoy was adamant that any students working would be doing so only at non-alcoholic events.

"I want to be very clear that we are only approving students working at non-alcoholic events," she said. "Because the e-mail we received from the Dollars for Scholars program specifically said students, I wanted this to go before the board."

The board approved the motion 6-0.

Lovejoy asked for and received permission from the board to approve professional development requests from staff that were over $200. The board previously voted that any requests over that amount be approved by them. Lovejoy was concerned that some opportunities might be missed if teachers had to wait to go before the board. It was approved 6-0.

A fundraiser to sell garment and book bags for $8 each was approved, and Beck informed the board that the first North Putnam Alumni Association banquet would be held on June 19. More information is available about the event from Bainbridge Town Clerk Jason Hartman.

The following personnel changes were approved:

* Certified -- Retirement of Kay Grove as guidance director at NPHS and medical leave for NPHS math teacher Doreen Muncy, and the employment of Ben Wells, NPHS as a teacher.

* Classified -- Resignation of Deanna Livesay as a bus driver, employment of Terri Barnhart, Bainbridge instructional assistant, Tammy Poole, NPMS instructional assistant and Brian Scobee as a bus driver.

* Extracurricular -- At NPM, employment of Brandy Dickson, as assistant swim coach, Jessie Harper as volunteer swim coach, Mark Lehr as volunteer swim coach, Brian Rhoden as volunteer swim coach, Tony Gray as boys head track coach, Joshua Stigall as head wrestling coach, Gene Winnings as assistant wrestling coach, LeeAnne Davidson, as sixth grade girls basketball coach and David Trent as sixth grade girls basketball coach.

Also, Charlie "Larry Byrd" Boller as was hired as sixth grade boys basketball coach.

Shortly after the meeting convened, members observed a moment of silence in memory of Andrew Shepherd, 14, a North Putnam student who died Thursday afternoon.

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  • Go for it!!! There should not be any excuse for not achieving. Schools need to follow the Nike motto, "Just Do It." Do what you know you are supposed to do.

    Good luck.

    -- Posted by cvilleguy on Fri, Nov 20, 2009, at 7:54 AM
  • As for Blau wanting to send the smartboards back, I understand that he probably doesn't understand the technology whatsoever that is being used with them, but believe me, from my personal experience with them, and I am well removed from the demographic that is using them, smartboards are an invaluable resource in education with the current generation. The way they work is a very intuitive process for the students - this technology is what they deal with on a daily basis in their personal lives. As much as I wish they could still learn the old fashioned way we all did, it just doesn't work anymore - sorry.

    -- Posted by snowboardermom on Fri, Nov 20, 2009, at 9:02 AM
  • Charlie "Larry Byrd" Boller?? lol

    -- Posted by bbridgeresident on Fri, Nov 20, 2009, at 4:09 PM
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