Graham BOE updated on ‘Buddy Classrooms’


By Casey S. Elliott - celliott@civitasmedia.com



ST. PARIS – An initiative to improve the social environment at Graham Elementary appears to be taking hold.

Graham Local Schools board members heard a report about the initiative, or Buddy Classrooms, at its Monday meeting. Elementary teacher Emily Shreve and several students told the board about the program, which links students from different grade levels. The teams work together on a variety of activities twice a month for about an hour, ranging from reading together to working on projects.

The program was suggested by Jason Hillman, who at the time was working with Ohio State University Literacy Collaborative, as a way to improve the environment in the school, Assistant Principal Chad Lensman said.

“We know how important positive relationships are,” he said. “It translates in and out of the classroom.”

Lensman said Graham Elementary is large – nearly 1,000 students – and the building design often prevents students and staff in different grade levels from mixing. The Buddy Classrooms program aims to change that.

“It’s a great way to connect,” he said. Lensman added that they do not have data on if the program is reducing discipline referrals, but he can tell there is a different feel to the hallways since the Buddy Classrooms began.

In other action, the board:

•Approved minutes and financial statements.

•Approved donations of eight new basketballs valued at $468 from Graham Youth Basketball Association to the Graham Athletic Department for basketball; $100 from an anonymous donor for the Glen Helen Trip; $100 from James and Kamela Kordik to the Graham Athletic Department for wrestling; and $107 from an anonymous donor for the Glen Helen Trip.

•Accepted resignations from substitute aide and substitute lunchroom worker Cheryl Wylie, effective Oct. 13, 2015; building secretary Cynthia Jacobs, for retirement, effective June 30, 2016; and substitute custodian Douglas Bovey, effective Nov. 6, 2015.

•Approved one-year limited substitute teaching contracts for the 2015-16 school year.

•Approved one-year limited contracts for Tutors for Individualized Services (home instruction/intervention tutors/Saturday School), for the 2015-16 school year.

•Approved Resident Educator mentors for the 2015-16 school year.

•Approved Resident Educator Program Coordinator Kristine Randall; High School Drama Director Jessica Thomas; Elementary Choir Director Kristen Williams; Elementary Choir Accompanist Wendy Blosser; Senior Class Advisors (.5 each) Melinda Bechtel and Kristine Randall; Sophomore Class Advisor Erin Merritt; High School National Honor Society Advisor and SMD advisor Samantha Heitman; all for the 2015-16 school year.

•Approved one-year limited contracts for the 2015-16 school year.

•Approved one-year limited substitute contracts for the 2015-16 school year.

•Approved Varsity Bowling (Boys and Girls) Head Coach Robert Carpenter; Winter and Spring Strength Coach Austin Morgan; Middle School Basketball Boys (7th) Assistant Coach Andrew Hall; Middle School Basketball Girls (7th) Assistant Coach James Pence; and Junior Varsity Baseball (.5) Assistant Coach Jacob Lawson; all for the 2015-16 school year.

•Approved volunteers for the 2015-16 school year.

•Approved non-renewal of one-year limited supplemental contracts for the fall 2015-16 school year.

•Approved new, revised or replacement board policies.

By Casey S. Elliott

celliott@civitasmedia.com

Casey S. Elliott may be reached at 937-652-1331 ext. 1772 or on Twitter @UDCElliott.

Casey S. Elliott may be reached at 937-652-1331 ext. 1772 or on Twitter @UDCElliott.