21st Century grant program detailed

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

HOLGATE - The Holgate Local Schools Board of Education Monday were updated on the 21st Century grant program.

Coordinator Karen Thomas explained the program, named TMI21 at Holgate, started in mid-September and its numbers are slowly increasing. There are currently 32 active participants, an increase from 23 students, and almost 75 percent of the total number of students registered.

“It’s been great,” Thomas said. “It’s just been going very well.”

The students in the program participate in a variety of enrichment activities after school, including archery, and the students recently traveled to their first competition in Tinora. Other activities both currently underway and planned for the rest of the year include media, where students use computers and green screens to make videos; youth development services; a Holgate Library representative comes in once a month for a discussion on books they have read; self-defense; jewelry-making; monthly visits to Vancrest Nursing Home; and volunteering at the Henry County Humane Society.

This fall, the students also learned landscaping and gardening skills.

“We added bulbs around the gazebo in the fall and we added some mulch around the new evergreens,” Thomas said. “(It’s) part of the beautification and service learning that the students need to be involved in.”

A session on photography is also approaching, and a family activity is also planned to incorporate this as students will post their family for a portrait, which they are able to take home. An additional family activity includes a planned trip to the Lights Before Christmas at the Toledo Zoo and picnics in the spring.

Thomas noted an incentive program has also been started and allows students to earn money in their accounts based on their grades, behavior and participation.

“It’s whatever they want to work toward,” Thomas said, adding they can also lose money for missing homework assignments. “It’s been really good.”

The funds for the rewards program are from Jeff Boulton of Frost Insurance, who donated the proceeds from his contract back to the school.

Board President Steve Thomas asked whether changes in grades were being monitored for those students in the program. Karen Thomas said there have been small academic improvements, but the largest improvements have been seen in the growth of self-confidence and social interaction.

“I’m seeing kids come out of their shells, they’re socially active with other people, they’re engaging,” Thomas said. “It’s great to see that. Some of them are taking on leadership roles.

“We’re in year two, I don’t want it to end,” she added. “I can see that it can do so much good the longer we can do it.”

The board also:

•Recognized Emma and Gabbi Willett for their performance in state cross country competition.

•Learned the district has received a $5,000 grant to perform security upgrades to the front entrance.

•Approved a memorandum of understanding with the Holgate Teachers’ Association regarding a shared supplemental contract for the 2013-14 school year.

•Entered into an agreement with Holgate Lumber Co. for snow removal from Nov. 18 through April 30.

•Entered into an agreement with Wadsworth Northwest for building mechanical systems service/preventative maintenance for the period of one year, retroactive to Nov. 1 and through Oct. 31.

•Accepted the donation of a book from the elementary staff in memory of Marlyn Clark and weight room equipment for the field house from Jeremy Brown.

•Learned approximately 86 percent of elementary school parents attended parent-teacher conferences, up from 69 percent in 2012 and down slightly from 87 percent in 2011. In the middle and high school, 49 percent of the conference spots were filled, up from 30 percent in 2012.

•Learned the fourth graders involved in the “Yes, Virginia There is a Santa Claus” Christmas program will be traveling to Macy’s in Lima Dec. 6 to perform select scenes and song from the production. Macy’s provided the school a grant to present the program.

•Approved numerous revisions to board policies.

E-mail comments to jenl@northwestsignal.net .