At Wednesday's meeting, the board and superintendent Bob Green honored Berry for his years of service, presenting him with a plaque and a lifetime pass to GCSC events.
Green and fellow board members reflected on Berry always keeping the students first.
"You could always count on Jack to do what was best for the kids," Green said.
Bruce Stinebrickner said he first met Berry at a basketball game about a decade ago, years before Stinebrickner served on the board. Berry told him at that time the focus of the board should always be on the classroom, saying the real test lies "where the rubber hits the road."
"It's been a good experience. I've enjoyed serving the community," Berry said. "Keep the main thing, the main thing. I think we're in good shape. I think you're good leaders for the community. You'll keep the interest of the kids at heart."
The board had a lengthy discussion of a presentation by Greencastle Middle School teacher Scott Weltz on the correlation of attendance to standardized test scores. While the results were not surprising, there was much reflection on what to do with the information.
Essentially, Weltz's comparison of ISTEP English and math scores over a two-year period to attendance records revealed that students missing a large number of days are more likely not to pass the tests. On the other hand, students who miss few days had higher instances of high passing scores.
The point Weltz, Green and other teachers and administrators at the meeting wished to make was that teachers have no control over attendance.
However, new proposals by Gov. Mitch Daniels and the Indiana General Assembly pertaining to teacher performance could hold teachers responsible for their students' test scores. This is difficult when a major factor in the scores is in the hands of parents.
"They want to hold me responsible for my ISTEP scores, they need to hold the parents responsible for attendance," Weltz said.
"I only want to be held responsible for the kids in my room," GHS teacher Nicole Kempf said. "I don't think they're taking that into consideration with these laws they're making."
There are steps, though, that the school corporation can take to curtail attendance problems, such as making tougher guidelines for excused absences.
Ridpath principal Tamra Walker and Deer Meadow principal Gwen Morris said doctor's excuses are often suspect. Examples included excuses for kids whose siblings were in the doctor's care, excuses for appointments outside of school hours and excuses from doctors who did not even see the children.
School attorney Bob Rund said the policies can be rewritten to help the problem.
However, the larger problem of kids missing school remains, even when absences are excused. Green said he hoped the message could just get to lawmakers before teachers are held responsible for things they can't control.
"If this is taking place in Greencastle, surely it's taking place in other communities. Let's get this information to Indianapolis and let them grapple with this," Green said.
The board approved the following personnel items:
* Retirement: Anna Robins, Ridpath custodian, end of 2010-2011 school year.
* Resignations: James Daniel Eiteljorge, bus driver, Jan. 5; Judith Overshiner, Ridpath kindergarten instructional assistant, Dec. 22, 2010.
* Hirings: Pam Sidebotton, Ridpath kindergarten instructional assistant; Chandra Warmoth, substitute bus driver; Lynsie Innis, part-time bus monitor; Brady Laney as temporary teacher for Julie Carr.
* Appointments: Sharon Hoskins, Tzouanakis Website developer; Janice Heavin, Deer Meadow Website developer.
* Transfers: Eric Davis from temporary teacher for Stockton to temporary for Amy Wheeler; Hannah Snider from TZ instructional assistant to temporary teacher for Stockton.
* Athetics: Lori Shuck, resign as varsity cheer coach and transfer to volunteer, Jan. 1; Angela Adams, volunteer sixth grade girls' basketball program; Thomas Downing, volunteer MS wrestling coach; Lindsey Etcheson, transfer from assistant cheer coach to head coach; Paige Tesmer, assistant cheer coach; Trent Scott, volunteer assistant boys' track; David Brooks, volunteer assistant boys' track; Jesse Ford, volunteer assistant HS/MS wrestling.