Board discusses curriculum, staffing

By Cecilia Fox -

TIPP CITY — At their meeting Monday night, the Tipp City board of education discussed curriculum and staffing.

The board discussed curriculum at the high school and middle school, as well as the need for more staff to help even out class sizes.

The middle school and the high school have asked for new staff to help reduce the size of high school math classes and middle school social studies classes.

According to high school principal Steve Verhoff, smaller class sizes would allow the high school to implement a “cutting edge” math program that would offer extra instruction to students who need it.

The high school math department has the highest student to teacher ratio in four core departments and is responsible for four classes that are required for graduation, Verhoff said.

The “innovative, cutting edge instruction” proposed would be to change the lowest level of algebra one into an intensive, two part class, Verhoff said. The students would get one class period of algebra one instruction, followed by an elective class period of math intervention.

“We would also work into that a growth mindset component. How often do we hear kids say, ‘I just don’t get it, I’m not good at math,’” Verhoff said. “This would help to teach them that perseverance.”

The department would also like to add a class called math applications as an alternative to pre-calculus for fourth year students who need a fourth math credit.

Middle school principal Greg Southers told the board that since the school switched to an eight period day last year, there have been some scheduling issues with social studies classes. Some classes have under 10 students, while others have more than 30.

The schools are hoping to hire part time teachers to address the issue, which would cost an additional $100,000, Treasurer Dave Stevens said.

Board president Sam Spano requested more information and discussion before making the decision to hire more staff.

The board voted to approve the high school and middle school programs of study. The district will host a curriculum night for students in eighth grade through high school from 5-8 p.m. on Feb. 1.

Spano also announced that the district is holding a facilities meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 20. The meeting is open to the public and aims to engage the community in a discussion about the district’s older buildings.

“We’ll talk a little bit about our current facilities, we’ll talk a little bit about some possible improvements to our current facilities, we’ll have some discussion about a new building,” Spano said.

Spano acknowledged that there is a need for new classroom facilities, but said the district is not yet ready to talk in terms of possible future levies or building designs.

Assistant superintendent Galen Gingerich present the first semester bullying report to the board and announced the upcoming roll-out of a new bullying reporting system, Safe Schools.

Safe Schools will enable parents and students to report bullying online. Staff will be trained on using the system in early February, which will be available for use after that.

“We have had very few instances of bullying,” Gingerich said. “All of those were dealt with by the administration and seem to have stopped, so we’re grateful for that.”

There were no reports in the K-5 buildings reported during the first semester, two at the middle school and three at the high school. The report will be available on the district’s website under the superintendent tab, Gingerich added.

After an executive session, the board voted to terminate the contract of Deborah Fugate.

The next regular meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 26. District representatives will also participate in the next Tri-Agency meeting a 6 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 29 at the board office.

By Cecilia Fox

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