Seventy-two Hillsboro students in grades K-5 will be able to take meals home with them each weekend, according to reports at Wednesday’s Hillsboro City Schools Board of Education meeting.
Hillsboro Primary School Principal Jacob Zink said the “Power Pack” program is provided through the Freestore Food Bank in Cincinnati and was made possible by Wade Hamilton, director of Samaritan Outreach Services in Hillsboro.
The first meal is supposed to be passed out toward the end of the school day Friday.
“I hope it helps some of our students who don’t know if they will have food on the weekend, and will help some families, too,” Zink said.
He said the program has the potential to expand if local businesses want to partner with the school. School officials will hold a Business Advisory Council meeting at 7:30 a.m. Oct. 1 and superintendent Jim Smith said Zink will be there to talk about the program.
Students selected for the program were referred by their teachers. Once students were selected a note was sent home with them to notify their parents.
Zink said the program will run for three years, then at the end of that time the school can reapply.
Zink also noted that the school has an extra packet bin available during lunch that students can choose from if they’re still hungry after their normal meal.
Samaritan Outreach has also helped the school launch a “Laundry Love” program. One night a month, families who receive vouchers can have two loads of laundry washed free of charge.
“I can’t thank Wade Hamilton enough, because he reached out to us,” Zink said.
On a separate matter, Zink reported on the state-mandated Third Grade Reading Guarantee, which he said requires all third-graders to pass a reading test before they can move on to the fourth grade. He said students are given up to six chances to pass the test, and if they don’t pass it a some point, they have to take the third grade over.
He said one exception to the rule is if a student has been held back in a previous grade. He said holding back a student two years at such an early age would cause several risk factors, so they would be moved on in that case even if they didn’t pass the reading test.
Later in the meeting the board discussed moving the graduation date a week earlier than its traditional date on the Sunday before Memorial Day. Board member Jerry Walker noted that the school year now ends 12 days before that Sunday, so he said keeping graduation on that weekend doesn’t make a lot of sense.
No official decision was made, but board members indicated they were in agreement with moving the date back a week, while keeping it on Sunday.
Superintendent Jim Smith said that the digital sign near the middle school/high school entrance is supposed to be working by the end of the week. The original plan was to have it working before school started five weeks ago. Smith said 8,000 people drive by the sign each day. He also thanked the Hillsboro PTO for absorbing some of its cost.
Smith reported that a Highland District Hospital sign was placed on the back of the scoreboard at the new track/soccer facility. He also thanked the city of Hillsboro and others who helped paint the words “Hillsboro” and “Indians” in large red letters on two city buildings near the football field.
“They look nice and I think they fit in well with all the other stuff we put in (at the football field) the last couple years,” Smith said.
On another note, Emily Burwinkel, the recently crowned Highland County Fair queen, was sworn in at Wednesday’s meeting as the new student representative on the school board.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.