Board gets positive Comm Ed report

by Dave Cary
Review Correspondent

PLYMOUTH - Community Education is both alive and quite well, Director Kathryn Murray told the Plymouth School Board at its regular meeting March 21.

Their count shows that the District’s Community Ed program served some 2,312 individuals in some capacity during the last year, she said.

And did it in the black. Although specific figures weren’t used, a bar chart showed revenues of some $875,000 with expenses about $50,000 less.

But, Murray implied, the real story was what those figures represented. Success stories included:

• The Kayak/SCUBA programs. These programs, Murray said, provided knowledgeable instruction in these two areas, which lets participants find out rather quickly whether or not they like the activity.

Conducted in the high school pool, kayak instruction familiarizes participants with aspects of kayak handling in a simplified manner due to knowelegable advice. This writer can testify from personal experience that merely getting into a floating kayak can be an adventure. This instruction is held in the Mullet River when offered in the summer. The SCUBA program provides the same sort of familiarization with SCUBA gear. Murray said one family had six beginner-participants who, after instruction, went to the Bahamas and dove, getting much more out of it that would have been the case had they been raw beginners.

• In the “Letters to Families With Newborn Children” program, in the baby’s first year, parents receive a letter outlining the services available through Family Resource Center; on the second birthday, information about the “Little Playgrounds;” on the third, “Born to Success” and on the fourth, four year-old kindergarten registration information.

• In the “Mural Masterpiece” program - open to grades two through six - students work on a single large mural for the school and a small mural they can take home.

• In the “Gut” program, participants study nutrition that is specifically beneficial to the digestive tract and learn, among other things, to make yogurt.

• Other activities, Murray said, included the hall-walking program (which drew 280 participants last year), a cultural fair, the “Harvest of the Month” event and the community book read.

All in all, a lot of activity.

• • •

Gale Grahn, PHS social studies teacher, athletic director and patron saint of girls softball and baseball, came to the meeting with two checks to present to the board. Both were payments for an $84,000 loan drawn by the board nine years ago to be repaid over 10 years by the Athletic Booster Club. Loan proceeds were used to refurbish restroom and concession facilities at the outdoor sports facilities.

Grahn said the Booster Club’s fundraising had gone much better than anticipated when the loan was obtained. Instead of having the ninth payment, he said, one check was for $8,315 and the other for $200 - which was the total outstanding on the loan. In other words, the ninth and tenth payments.

The $200 check, Grahn explained, came about because around the time of the loan’s origin he had been discussing it with fellow PHS teacher and sports enthusiast, the late Mike Slagle.

The pair had agreed it would be great to pay the last $100 of the loan themselves. Grahn said he and his wife had agreed to pay both $100 shares, one in memory of Slagle.

• • •

Superintendent Carrie Dassow said that at the recent legislative breakfast there had been significant discussion of Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed budget and the possible $200 per pupil hike in school aid. She added that the outlook seemed to be that development of both would go on for a while.

Board President Tim St. Clair encouraged participation in the series of state public meetings concerning the state budget, saying support of the proposed aid hike would help the district and others like it in pursuing state aid totals that would put them at or near the statewide average.

• • •

The board unanimously approved the curriculum for the upcoming summer school session. The session will start June 19 and end July 21.

Board member Bob Travis told the board the facilities committee had engaged an architectural firm to help with its study of district facilities. The study, Travis said, should position the board for the next 50-55 years in regard to facility needs.

Also unanimously approved was an out-of-state travel request from PHS Band Director Jason Sebranek to take students to Orlando, Fla., Nov. 16-22 to perform in the parade at Disney World. As presented, the trip aligns with board policy and costs will be the responsibility of students and/or parents.

• • •

The board accepted donations of:

• $1,677.10 from the Plymouth Education Foundation the Riverview Middle School STEAM program.

• $1,000 from Dave and Jo Slott in honor of Ed Grosshuesch’s 87th birthday.

• • •

In personnel matters, the board accepted the retirement request of Sheila Brzeski, first grade teacher at Horizon Elementary School, effective at the end of the present school year. She has served the district for 28 years.

• Chloe Pufahl, special education aide at Riverview Middle School. has resigned after serving the district seven years.

• Stephanie Zamora has been hired as a special education aide at Fairview Elementary School.

• Sarah Gamoke has been hired as a special education aide at Plymouth High School.

• Ruth Ann Easteroff has been hired as a special education aide at Horizon Elementary School.

• Barb Shircel has been hired as a special education aide at Parkview Elementary School.

• Ashley Hilbelink has been hired as a special education aide at Riverview Middle School.

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