BOURBON — Reporting on the recent ISTEP results, Superintendent Donna Burroughs reported to the Triton School Board that on the I Read 3 test results, Triton third-graders achieved a 97 percent passing rate, while the state average for third-graders is 91 percent.
Christine Cook, data assessment coordinator, reported that “In the past, state tests were something done to us. Now, we are more and more in the driver’s seat.”
Recent results show that Triton’s students in grades three through eight rank above the state average in math and English language arts, and slightly below average in social studies.
In other action:
• Burroughs reported that the ADM (average daily membership) count on which state funding is based was identical to last year’s ADM. However, she noted that the school corporation will receive $13,000 less in funding than last year, with the same number of students.
This is a result of actions by the state legislature in the funding formula. Patrons who object to less being spent on education are urged to contact their state senator and representative.
• In financial matters, the 2014 school budget was approved as presented following the required public hearing.
The Rainy Day Fund was modified to make it more flexible as to what it can be earmarked for.
In an enthusiastic note, she indicated that a Triton Educational Endowment Fund has been established with the Marshall County Community Foundation to enable patrons who wish to support the school corporation to do so in an ongoing and fruitful manner.
Contributions will be invested by the Foundation with the earnings each year going to Triton schools. The fund will actually be opened on a day in December on which the Foundation will match any contributions received for the fund.
An initial payment of $5,000 transferred from the Rainy Day Fund will be made to open the Endowment Fund on that day.
Patrons interested in the future of Triton Schools are invited to make contributions as well. The principal amount of the fund will not be used for operating or capital expenses, and only the interest earned will be spent.
Board member Steve Stichter thanked Burroughs for her work on this and other corporation matters.
• The following personnel matters were approved by the Board: Cara Wise on a temporary contract to cover the maternity leave; Connie Manns hired as the Destination Imagination coach; boys basketball coaches hired as follows: varsity assistant — Steve Duff, JV — Matt Landis, 8th — Brad Hargrave, 7th — Jason Harrell, and 6th — Joe White; Girls basketball coaches hired as follows: JV — Justina Faulkner, 8th — Brent Cooper, and 6th — Dave Carpenter; and junior High wrestling coaches hired — Jason Thompson and Shaun Belin (split position).
• New guidance counselors were introduced and each presented a power point display summarizing their respective revamping of the entire guidance procedure at the school.
Junior high counselor Charlene Koenig outlined her Developmental Guidance Plan, while senior high counselor Jennifer Shaw emphasized the move toward college readiness.
Shaw also raised the question currently making the rounds of educational theorists, “Is class rank helpful?” She said that the difference between a valedictorian and the third-highest ranked student in the school might be just .1 percent.
A more helpful moniker for college scholarship applications might be, say, the top 10 percent of the class. The Board heard this issue without taking any action at this time.
• Elementary principal Jeremy Riffle reported that the VIP (“Grandparents”) Day went very well with many supporters visiting and eating lunch with the students. He also said that parent/teacher conferences were scheduled for Tuesday.
On Oct. 23, 30 students visited the school from the Bethel College Introduction to Education Class.
The Trojan Pride kickoff was Friday, beginning the program for the year in which school personnel nominate students doing a good deed for others and give them a Trojan Pride ticket.
Helping projects, in which students learn to help others, are on the horizon. Currently 30 students are being given “Blessings in a Backpack” each Friday — a backpack filled with food for the weekend when school lunches are not available.
On Nov. 6, 180 students from Triton — fifth- and sixth-graders, the high school wrestling team, the high school cross country team, the high school principal’s and athletic director’s leadership teams, and various adults will travel to the Nappanee Community Church to pack lunches for the “Feed My Starving Children” worldwide mission.
On Nov. 7, fourth-graders will pack “Operation Christmas Child” boxes with gifts to be sent to third-world countries.
• For the jr./sr. high school, Cook reported that the VIP Day went well there also, with the agriculture department providing a luncheon for the visitors.
The school’s weekly newsletter is now on the website to be accessed by interested individuals.
The school has received a grant from the Marshall County Community Foundation to purchase computerized infants for the family living classes.