A McClain High School program created to help meet basic needs of high school students received a big boost through a local bank’s donation to the Greenfield Board of Education at its meeting Tuesday.
Members of the Community Savings Bank’s Board of Directors and staff presented a check for $5,000 for McClain’s MHSmart, a program that helps ensure high school students in need get what they need.
It’s a program that bank board member Steve Pearce said he was recently speaking to superintendent Quincey Gray about, and he brought the idea of giving to the program to the bank’s board members.
“It seems to be such a good program and we want to help continue it,” Pearce said.
MHSmart is a program at the high school that allows students to request a need — be it for food, clothing or hygiene products — and do it privately. With MHSmart, a student can make a private request through a Google form on the school’s website. When the need is addressed, the student is notified and can pick up whatever they requested when it is most convenient for them.
The bank’s donation, Gray said, was “absolutely fantastic” and will go a long way to helping meet the basic needs of high school students in need.
In other business, McClain High School’s prom and graduation, as it stands now, will look something more like what they were before last year — a formal dance in the school gym and an in-person graduation, albeit with masks.
Gray, in her report to the board, said that prom is scheduled for May 1 and graduation for May 21.
In addition to the prom, Gray said a grand march is also planned prior to the dance, something many in the community look forward to. Certain rules will be applied, she said, and what those are will be determined and shared closer to the event.
Currently, graduation is slated for outdoors. If inclement weather is imminent for that day, then the event will be moved inside and Covid capacity rules will apply. There will be more information as the date nears.
The superintendent noted that the district is moving forward and feeling good about where it’s going, especially considering the events and uncertainty of the last year.
Also in her report, Gray spoke about the “great sadness” experienced this week with the death of a high school student. She said the crisis management team has been providing support to students and staff as everyone navigates the loss. She noted that one way the student is being remembered is a day coming up soon where students and staff will wear purple, which was the student’s favorite color.
In other business, curriculum director Alisa Barrett updated board members on what is happening in the district, particularly regarding how things are going with the new, more rigorous curriculum and the visible learning plan implemented at the beginning of the school year.
One graphic she shared showed growth in math across all grades levels, which has been attributed in part to the more challenging curriculum. And while it has all been a bit harder for students, they are showing the positive results of being challenged.
Barrett added that she is excited to see the results further displayed in the upcoming rounds of spring testing, set to occur at the end of March and the end of April.
As to the visible learning, the multi-year plan was implemented this school year beginning with the aspects of clarity, in both teaching and learning, and learning dispositions.
Clarity in teaching is teachers dissecting and analyzing what is required for grade-level and content standards, and then using that information to create students’ educational experiences and assessments. Clarity for students is when students have a clear objective of what they are learning and the steps to achieve that learning.
With learning dispositions, students have not only been learning about taking ownership, embracing challenges, persevering, continually growing, and being engaged, but also how those principles apply to their learning experience.
Consent agenda items approved by board members included resignations of elementary art teacher Jennifer Singleton, high school English teacher Ali England, and weight room supervisor Taylor Baker. According to Gray, each are moving onto other things, with two moving out of state.
Employment recommendations approved were: Danae Redding, certified substitute; Makayla Lucas, aide/monitor, cafeteria and clerical; Drew Hamilton, junior high track; Racheal Roman, aide/monitor, cafeteria and clerical; Delbert Mitchell, van driver; Coty Barnhart, spring weight room supervisor; Tammy Sexton, middle school yearbook assistant; Devin Penwell, baseball assistant; Bill Barnes, track volunteer; and Emily Sterling, softball volunteer.
Angela Shepherd is a correspondent for the Greenfield Exempted Village School District.