Evergreen considering fifth grade move

Discussions continue on possible move to middle school

By Drew Stambaugh - [email protected]

The possibility of moving fifth grade students to the middle school was discussed at the Evergreen Local Schools December Board of Education meeting.

Though a transition plan and other details have not been approved, work has continued on preparing for the move.

“The goal of a potential move has always been to provide additional opportunities for the students,” said Superintendent Eric Smola. A move would also address challenges such as space, transition, and programming for the kids, he added.

Among previous concerns raised was interaction in the halls among the younger and older students. Having both a fifth and sixth grade cohort and seventh and eighth grade cohort could ease those concerns.

“The two cohorts will not change classes at the same time, being on different schedules,” Smola said. “Bells can be customized to each cohort to avoid confusion, so we can run two bell schedules within in the building.”

Opportunities of a move of fifth graders to the middle school include additional time in core subjects, more balanced class sizes, and the addition of advanced classes.

Specific details will still need to be nailed down.

The Board also approved the calendar for next school year. The first day for students will be Aug. 23 with a last day of May 30. Winter break would be Dec. 25 – Jan. 1 and spring break will be March 11-15.

Board member Nora Kiefer said she had heard from some people about the length of Christmas break.

“It does seem like a shorter Christmas break and it’s simply when Christmas falls,” said Smola. “We have to try to balance the two semesters.”

He added that he had heard from parents in the past about the heat being an issue on buses with the start dates in mid-August in recent years. So next school year, they will be starting later. That shrunk the winter break a little bit.

The proposed calendar for 2024-25 would have it back to a two week winter break.

Several personnel items were approved by the Board.

The Board approved offering a one-year limited contract to Dawn Cundick as a four hours per day bus driver.

Athletic coaches approved for this school year included Zach Meiring, volunteer wrestling coach; Aaron Schmidt, assistant track coach; Steven McDowell, assistant track coach; Kent Corthrell, assistant track coach; Nicholas Hassen, jr. high track coach; Megan Boze, volunteer EMS cheer; Nelson Holliday, assistant varsity baseball coach; Hailey Senn, assistant varsity softball coach; Matt Keller, volunteer softball coach; Skylee Raker, JV softball coach; Madyson Zoltowski, volunteer softball coach.

The Board approved Taylor Johnson, Ethan VanLoocke and Hunter Vaculik as event workers. An unpaid leave of absence for bus driver Lindsey Abrams was approved.

Other business

• The high school quiz team was commended for qualifying for the national competition and their trip to the competition in Chicago was approved. The 10 team members will compete in the National Academic Quiz Bowl Tournament in April.

• The Board scheduled its 2023 organizational meeting for Jan. 9 at 5:45 p.m. in the Loren Pennington Learning Center at the high school. The regular board meeting will follow.

Zach Murry was elected president pro tempore to preside at the start of the organizational meeting.

• The Board approved membership with the Ohio School Board Association and authorize payment of $5,504 for 2023 membership.

• The Board approved an overnight trip for agriculture student Meegan Gleckler, and teacher, Alexis Howell, to travel to the Next Gen: Animal Systems Conference in Denver.

• Accepted an anonymous donation of $100 to the student assistance fund.

Discussions continue on possible move to middle school

By Drew Stambaugh

[email protected]