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GCSC to keep weeklong fall break

Monday, November 19, 2012

The so-called "balanced calendar" may be a discussion for the future, but the weeklong fall break is here to stay, the Greencastle Schools superintendent said last week.

The Greencastle School Board approved the 2013-14 school calendar Wednesday, keeping the extended fall break piloted last month.

Superintendent Dr. Lori Richmond said there were mixed feelings going into the break this year, but that comments from the community and within the school were an estimated 98 percent in favor.

"People felt rejuvenated," Richmond said.

The 2013 fall break is set for the week of Oct. 21 to align with DePauw's fall break.

Richmond added that other area schools are considering the week break, which would make scheduling easier for Greencastle's Area 30 students.

Other features of the 2013-14 calendar include:

* Aug. 5: First teacher day

* Aug. 7: First student day

* Dec. 21-Jan. 5: Holiday break

* Jan. 6: Second semester begins

* March 22-30: Spring break

* May 23: Last student day

* May 30: Graduation

The calendar features 180 student days, 185 staff days and five built-in make-up snow days on Jan. 20, Feb. 17, April 18 and May 27 and 28.

Before looking to next year's calendar, the board also looked back at the school's accomplishments in the recent school performance grades released by the Indiana Department of Education.

In getting A ratings for Greencastle High School, Tzouanakis Intermediate, Deer Meadow Primary and Ridpath Primary, along with a C at Greencastle Middle School, Richmond estimated Greencastle had placed itself in the top 10 percent of schools in the state.

"This is the highest level our schools have been at," board president Mike Dean said. "I hope everyone realizes the impact this has on our community, not just the schools.

"Could everybody in this room and in the community thank a teacher?" Dean implored the audience.

Fellow board member Mike White added his praise at what the schools had accomplished in the face of a tough year in 2011-12.

"There have been so many problems we've encountered in the last year. The bottom line is, it still worked," White said. "Educating kids is why we're here. That's the bottom line."

In other business:

* The board approved Brennan Baker of Moisture Management as the project manager for the upcoming roofing projects at Tzouanakis and the high school.

Bids on the project will come in at a later date, but Baker will help the school oversee the project from the planning stages through completion.

* The school accepted a donation of $14,434.21 from the Deer Meadow PTO to Deer Meadow Primary.

The money will help pay for a sandbox cover, sand and playground equipment for the primary school, which has seen an increased need since adding a pre-school at the building.

* The board also approved 32 personnel items.

Maurice McKee retired as GHS engineering teacher and Carol Call retired as corporation database coordinator.

The board accepted the resignations of Jamie Hamock as GHS Spanish teacher, Tonya King as part-time GMS custodian and Lesley Neiner as Tzouanakis custodian.

Reuben Hinner was hired as substitute intro design teacher. Kaitlyn Hicks' maternity leave was extended through May 23, 2013. Russ Hesler will teach one class of construction.

Hirings included Joseph McPeak as GMS custodian and Cassidy Searles as principal's secretary at GHS. Ray June Turner was transferred from GHS guidance secretary to central office human resources director.

Teona Hubble was terminated as a bus driver.

Seven substitute teachers were hired: Michelle Thomas, Tonya Welker, Yvonne Jackson, Brandi Burgeson, Sarah Sears, Kristin Walsh and Cheyenne Maddox.

Fall sport head coaches Sam Hirt (boys' tennis), Garry Anderson (girls' cross country), Dave Lilly (boys' soccer), Josh Buis (football) and Art Dwiggins (boys' cross country) were approved to return in 2013.

Eight other coaching moves were approved: Ben Wells and Matt Welker as volunteer assistant baseball coaches; William Mobley and Thomas Downing as volunteer assistant wrestling coaches; Laura McMaster and Ivonne Martinez as girls' assistant track coaches; Dave Stephens as boys' assistant track coach; and Mark Lewis as volunteer assistant boys' basketball coach.

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TP, you need to get your hearing checked. Ms. Hansen never used the word "hilarious". She stated that her concerns were not "frivolous". And indeed they are not. There is so much wrong with your post, I don't know where to start, but suffice it to say that you either have no understanding of the issues here or you are just a crank who likes to unfairly attack people in print.You need to check your facts because your comment is riddled with inaccuracies. I was also appalled when I heard about the way the board treated Ms. Hansen. Particularly Mike White. The board has taken on the role of a bully in this instance and TP is carrying their water in the comments above.

-- Posted by louisvilleslugger on Tue, Nov 20, 2012, at 8:22 PM

I am grateful to Ms. Hanson for performing her civic duty by acting as a watchdog in our community. Her desire for transparency, honesty and fairness is appropriate. If we never follow school board actions, how can we correct errors when they occur? Ms Hanson's complaints all have merit. She did contact school board members and the superintendent and when she did not receive a response she then contacted the public access counselor and filed the complaints.

Ms. Hanson did not contact the media; Ms. Kenney from Channel 6 news initiated contact with Dr. Richmond and with Ms. Hanson for an interview and Dr. Richmond declined to speak with her so Ms. Kenney came to the meeting hoping to get a comment. We are lucky to have a school board who cares about our community and we are also lucky to have citizens who care enough to be active as Ms. Hanson is.

-- Posted by localmom44 on Tue, Nov 20, 2012, at 8:28 PM

I hope that the comments made by Thomas Paine will soon be removed as they are clearly an erroneous and personal attack on a concerned citizen. Shame on you Thomas Paine for your attack on a fellow citizen who is doing her civic duty in watching our school board and following up on questionable activities. It is not only our right to question and comment on the board, it is our duty as parents and community members to do so.

Of course everyone is proud of the progress our kids are making at school. But that happy news does not give anyone in the school administration or other people permission to slam a person who asks legitimate questions. I was always told in school that the only bad question is the one you don't ask.

-- Posted by greengrass on Tue, Nov 20, 2012, at 10:33 PM

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