In the late-summer heat of last Friday, Rainsboro Elementary fourth graders spent some time in the woods at the Highlands Nature Sanctuary letting themselves be inspired by the nature in which they were immersed as part of a Artists-in-Sanctuary program.
A few of the fourth graders were at Monday’s Greenfield Exempted Village Board of Education meeting at Rainsboro Elementary to share their art from that day — poems and paintings created as they spent time amid the flora and fauna of the area formerly known as the Seven Caves.
One student, Zander Lyons, read a poem he wrote while at the sanctuary that was inspired by the sight and sound of the moving creek water. With the other children reluctant to share in front of everyone present, they broke off after Lyons’ reading to team up with a board member to share their poems individually.
Their art teacher, Jennifer Singleton, showed board members paintings the students have been working on, also inspired by their time at the sanctuary.
According to Charlotte Stiverson, who is with the sanctuary’s program, while the students were there to be inspired by nature, the presence of the students served as an inspiration to the resident artists as well. She thanked board members for the opportunity to work with the students, and expressed her hope that the program continues to grow.
There are three parts of the program, Rainsboro Elementary Principal Maggie Lyons said. Part one was the students’ visit to the sanctuary last week where they met with artists and spent time in nature writing and painting what they saw, heard and felt. Part two is a visit on Friday from the sanctuary’s resident poet who will come to the school. Part three is an art show and sale at the sanctuary Sunday, Sept. 29, featuring not only the work of the resident artists, but the works created by the fourth graders.
Along with the art show there will be guided nature walks, poetry readings and refreshments. The event is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sept. 29 at the sanctuary, located at 7660 Cave Rd. near Bainbridge. For more information, go to arcofappalachia.org.
In other matters, director of instruction Alisa Barrett presented the results of the most recent district report card, which was released by the Ohio Department of Education last week.
The district has made marked improvements. Three out of the seven grades increased two letter grades from the previous school year’s report card, Barrett said. In the years of 2016 to 2018, the district received one B, three Cs, 10 Ds, and five Fs. With the most-recent report card, the district received one A, two Bs, one C, two Ds, and one F. Within the region that includes all the school in Adams, Clinton, Fayette, and Highland counties, Greenfield was second in the progress component, and seventh out of 12 districts with the overall district grade of C.
According to the 2018-19 report card, the district received an A on the progress component, which pertains to the growth all students are making based on past performance; a B on gap closing, which measures how schools meet the performance expectations for the most vulnerable students; a B on the graduation rate; a D in improving at-risk K-3 readers; a D on achievement, which represents student performance on state tests; and an F in the prepared for success component, which considers the readiness of students for their future.
“We continue to work on this,” Barrett said of the component receiving an F, adding that when the data is studied, there is improvement.
She highlighted district initiatives to continue improvement in all areas that included a focus on teams (district leadership teams, building leadership teams, and teacher-based teams), differentiation, literacy and social-emotional learning.
The teams, she said, “are the heart” of the work geared toward helping each student be their best.
“We are very excited about the progress we have made,” she said.
Board members approved the consent agenda, which included the treasurer’s report for August, the itinerary of the marching band and Tigerettes trip to Walt Disney World in April; the itinerary for the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Ind. in late October/early November; approval of the FFA Advisory Committee; and approval of locally defined diploma seals.
According to McClain teacher Jeremey Andrews, whose teaching is focused with at-risk students, the state provides pathways outside of the state testing so the students struggling the most are able to have a better chance at graduating. One of them is by diploma seals, which allow students’ skills to be recognized when they may not be performing very well on the testing.
He said students can earn two seals that help toward their graduation, one from the state’s list of seals and one from local diploma seals. The state said schools could develop three of their own seals, giving districts the opportunity to provide what works for the students in their community.
The three locally-developed seals that were approved Monday were community service, co-curricular activities, and performing arts.
The use of the seals will go into effect as soon as the state irons out all of the details, Barrett said, which will hopefully be by next year.
Angela Shepherd is a correspondent for the Greenfield Exempted Village School District.