Just before this school year began Buckskin Elementary got an addition to each of its three floors — sensory paths to help students, particularly those facing special challenges.
The Greenfield Exempted Village School District Board of Education held its regular meeting Monday at Buckskin Elementary where principal Mike Shumate introduced occupational therapist assistant Samantha Flora, physical therapist Michael Boone and occupational therapist Paula Armstrong, all of whom help elementary students across the district.
Shumate said it was their idea to install sensory paths in the school as these are tools to help increase the educational involvement and engagement of students who have a variety of different needs by giving them movement breaks that essentially help them focus on their learning once they return to the classroom.
Shumate said the therapists and a couple staff members made the sensory paths using a Cricut machine and permanent vinyl, transfer tape and cutting mats. They also installed the paths. The Buckskin PTO covered the cost, which was less than $500.
The paths are a mix of shapes affixed flat to the floor that invite the student to move by stepping, stomping, jumping, crab walking and even bear crawling. They also include items along the walls that encourage the student to move in different ways like reaching and wall push ups.
Essentially, the sensory paths not only help a student get a needed movement break so they can better focus, but they also help with coordination. Additionally, it was noted how all students use the sensory paths when they are in the hallways and that the paths benefit all ages and abilities.
Shumate said that there is a sensory room located on the first floor of the building, a relaxing and quiet place, for students who are in a state of sensory overload.
All of the therapists said how much they enjoy working at the district, noting how open and supportive everyone has been. Boone remarked how they have been made to feel part of the team.
Shumate said he wanted the school board members to know how much of a help the therapists were to the students. “We appreciate you guys,” Shumate said.
In other business, Buckskin fifth grader Jax Vanzant was recognized by board members for winning the Recycling and Litter Prevention Billboard Contest for Highland County, an event sponsored by the Ross, Pickaway, Highland, Fayette Solid Waste District, which chooses a winner in each county of the district each year.
Fifth graders across the Greenfield School District participated as part of Highland County Community Action Organization’s recycling and litter prevention educational outreach program.
Vanzant’s billboard is up this month and can be seen on S.R. 28 just past where S.R. 138 intersects east of Greenfield. An image of Vanzant’s billboard, as well as the other winners in the RPHF district, can be seen at rphfsolidwastedistrict.com. Once on the site, click on the education tab, then scroll down to the billboard contest.
In other matters, items approved in the consent agenda included the resignations of several staff including cafeteria worker Theresa Kossler for retirement, cafeteria supervisor Dorothy Balzer for retirement, FFA teacher Chris Fitzpatrick at the end of the school year, band director Blayne Weddington at the end of the school year, and math teacher Jared Halter at the end of the school year.
Superintendent Quincey Gray said that the district wishes each of them well as they go forward in their various endeavors. Gray also said how grateful the district is for the positive influence each has had in the district during their tenures.
Later in her report to the board, Gray said that no matter how unbelievable it is, that time of year has arrived again and it is time for those milestone end-of-year events. With that, she said baccalaureate is scheduled for May 15 at 7:30 p.m. and graduation for May 20 at 7:30 p.m.
Employment recommendations approved by the school board were: Teresa Rose, clerical, aide, monitor; and Kaitlyn Vickers, certified substitute. Also, approved within the consent agenda was the employment of those that will provide maintenance and custodial help through the summer.
The Greenfield Exempted Village School District Board of Education will meet in regular session next on May 16 at 7 p.m. in the central office boardroom.
Angela Shepherd is a correspondent for the Greenfield Exempted Village School District.