Athletic facility new details

Visible Learning, Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS), and building and district teams were some of the things the Greenfield Exempted Village Board of Education has heard about many times as school administrators and teachers update the board on students’ education.

At Monday’s school board meeting, board members heard more about these things and how they are working.

Greenfield Elementary Principal Bob Schumm said it’s sometimes “nerve-wracking” deciding what to present to the school board, but he said Monday’s decision was easy: “We are following the district plan and it’s working.”

Schumm and assistant principal Lindsay McNeal provided updates to the board. They included the building’s report card, on which the school exceeded expectations on all but one component; and the new math program, an online program called Reflex Math that students spend time on each day to increase math fact fluency and has students learning math facts across all grades levels. According to McNeal, the elementary students have already mastered 54,700 math facts this year.

McNeal said teachers are “energized” by the progress happening in their classrooms, and it’s their duty as principals to continue to help make sure the teachers have the right tools to educate.

Concluding the principals’ presentation, Schumm introduced first-year art teacher William Roller to talk about the art program at the elementary school.

Roller said that since coming to Greenfield in 1995, his experiences with the community, school and art have all shaped him and what he can share with students and their visual art journey. As he came from a big-city school, he recalled the walls of the art room being stark white, and he didn’t want that in Greenfield. To that end, he has filled his room with art – a mix of things like fine art and pop art – all different visual experiences.

“I want them to start thinking about things,” he said, that exposure and experience, it’s all part of what goes into shaping the students. Another part of the visual art experience is experimenting with different mediums, and kids finding out what they like best and what they are best at.

It’s about “experimentation and access,” Roller said.

Something he is doing with the fifth graders is Art for a Cause. The students picked two charities, and each student will be producing an artwork that will be auctioned off. The proceeds will be split equally between the two charities that students chose.

In other business, this is the first year for girls wrestling at McClain, and at Monday’s school board meeting the wrestling coach had plenty of good things to say about the team as it was recognized by the school board.

Coty Barnhart, head coach of the team, expressed gratitude on behalf of himself and the team to those who helped make it possible.

He said the girls have all “worked incredibly hard” on this brand new thing, with all of them but one being first-year wrestlers, and they have all improved throughout the season.

Barnhart said the team has performed well in competition and the girls are not only working hard and improving, but “really embracing the toughness of the sport.”

Board member Sandy Free thanked all the team members that were able to attend the meeting and said she hopes it will continue through the years.

In other meeting matters, Doug Karnes of McCarty and Associates presented a proposed plan of development of the 32-acre property off North Fifth Street. The school board first saw a proposal for the site in the fall of 2019, just a few months before the COVID-19 pandemic.

That initial plan has been modified to take into consideration things like input from residents that are near the development, needs, and challenges like topography and budget.

The new presentation proposes a softball field, baseball field, parking, bus parking, field house, concourse area connecting all the pieces, and a retention pond designed to mitigate all the storm runoff in that area. Done in two phases, the project would also see a large field seeded and with drainage, that would be ready to go for future development. There would also be space for more parking should the need to develop it arise.

One of the things that has changed from the initial proposal is that now the plans don’t include field lights, something that was not popular with nearby residents. There will be parking and wayfinding lights, but for now the need for field lights for night games is not a necessity.

Of the 32 acres, Karnes said only about 18 or so are able to be developed due to various factors like the slope of the land and wetlands.

There were two items approved on the consent agenda. Those were the resignation of Kyle Barr as the esports advisor and the resignation of aide Jean Goddard, effective at the end of the school year.

Employment recommendations approved by the board were: Carrie Lovely, payroll and human resources; Dawn Barnhart, custodial; Vanessa Baker, cafeteria, custodial, aide; Cathay McElwee, aide; Sam Mincey, junior high track; and certified substitutes Kyle McClellan, Michael (Reese) McLanahan-Schluep and Adam Hester.

The next regular meeting of the Greenfield Exempted Village School District Board of Education is Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. at the middle school gym.

Angela Shepherd is a correspondent for the Greenfield Exempted Village Board of Education.