Triton holds first board meetings of 2013

BOURBON — A spate of back-to-back meetings got the Triton School Board off to a good start for the new year last Monday night. First up was an executive session during which the sale or lease of the old gym and ball diamond was discussed. The matter was not addressed during the public meeting.
Then, the board met as the Board of Finance and elected its new officers: Amy Middaugh, president, and Terri Barnhart, secretary. In a review of the three major fund investments, the need to have leftover money to start up the Rainy Day fund again was reiterated.
During the first regular session of the school board itself, Larry Wattenbarger, Jr./Sr. High history teacher, proposed to the board that if he should retire this year, his unused accumulated sick days be donated to a sick bank for use by all staff. The board took his proposal under advisement.
Then, meeting for its traditional reorganization session led by superintendent Donna Burroughs since the board is temporarily without a president, officers were elected. Middaugh will serve as president, Jerilyn Anders as vice president, and Terri Barnhart as secretary. The regular meeting of the school board was confirmed as the second Monday of each month at 7 p.m. at the central office. Appointed school corporation officers were retained as follows: Janet Barker as treasurer and Mark Wagner as attorney.
Assuming her duties as the new president, Middaugh appointed board members to the following representative positions: herself to the Discussion Committee with the teachers’ association, Barnhart as the ISBA delegate, Barnhart and Anders to the Student Handbook committee, Barnhart to the Textbook Adoption committee, and Anders and herself to the Board Policy committee.
Following discussion and several proposals, the school board members’ annual salary was reduced from $1,875 to $1,500 to reflect current financial stress.
In its first regular session of 2013, Rodney Younis was hired as varsity baseball coach for the 2013 season by unanimous vote. A one-time stipend, already available, was paid to science teacher Dawn Slein to act as Science Advisor/Liaison for the second semester due to Mr. Whittaker’s retirement.
Superintendent Burroughs then gave her report. She welcomed to the board three new members — returning member Middaugh and Kevin Boyer who were elected in November, and Steve Stichter, who was appointed by the board to fulfill the remaining term of board member Debbie Shively who resigned before Christmas. The Crisis/Safety Plan Committee will meet to review its plan. Middaugh will serve as board liaison to this committee. The annual Hall of Fame banquet was a great success with 170 people in attendance. Burroughs congratulated Athletic Director Mason McIntyre for the success of this program he started four years ago. She reported that a parent from a visiting junior high team gave a compliment for the good sportsmanship of students. She congratulated students Quentyn Carpenter for his golf tourney and Tanner Shepherd for being named athlete of the week. She also wished good luck to Triton students at the annual music solo and ensemble contest. Finally, she announced that the Red Cross would conduct a blood drive at the high school on Wednesday.
Burroughs then gave a presentation of the proposed Strategic Plan for the years 2013-2020 which was developed before Christmas as she coordinated a committee of staff, students, and community members who attended two full-day retreats with an outside consultant. The summary of this plan is:
• Core drivers for Triton are values, vision, and mission.
• Values include continuous improvement, high expectations, alignment with state standards, shared leadership, social responsibility, evidence-based decision making, and accountability.
• Vision is “By 2020, we will become a 90+% school corporation in reading rate, state and national testing, and graduation rate.
• Mission is “The mission of Triton School Corporation is to develop students who are literate, responsible, proficient in state and national standards, and college/career ready.
• A “dashboard” is designed to assist in identifying and promoting behaviors which will address the core drivers.
• A scorecard is implemented to track progress in corporation goals.
• Five focus areas with specific results bring the core drivers to bear and assure implementation of the plan.
The board then voted unanimously to accept the Strategic Plan and begin its implementation.
Burroughs then presented a request for application for an eLearning Day in February. Such a day, when approved by the state, enables school to be called off for a day as teachers attend an in-service and students work at home on their computers. This day would not be counted as a day to be made up.
For students who do not have access to a home computer, a packet of homework would be distributed prior to the day. This request was unanimously approved.
A request to make Good Friday, March 29, a make-up day for classes canceled due to weather was tabled until closer to the date. Art teacher Diana Westphal received unanimous approval to use the website Artsonia in her classes which was recommended by the superintendent. This website stores pictures of students’ art work on a distant server to make sure projects are not lost.
Elementary principal Jeremy Riffle reported that 2,088 Trojan Pride tickets had been issued in his building to students who were observed doing good deeds. The elementary textbook adoption process begins soon, and the Read to Succeed program is going well. The SumDog competition begins soon, in which students work math problems and accumulate points. Last year Triton Elementary was fifth in the state in this competition.
Mike Chobanov, high school principal, reported that with Allen Whittaker’s retiring, his environmental science and chemistry classes will be taught online this semester. Whittaker will volunteer his time for hands-on experiments.
The new Ag/ FFA program is getting a revitalization with the hiring of new teacher April Leeper. She will contact local farmers for support of the program. Purdue will offer dual credit for classes in this section. On Jan. 28, the Principal’s Service Corps and the Athletic Leadership Committee students will travel to Veterans Hospital in Indianapolis to talk with veterans as a goodwill service project.
Approximately 50 students are involved.