DANVILLE — Why are Danville kindergarten and other elementary students walking around with beanbags on their heads?
In a story which appeared on Page 1A in the Aug. 18 edition of the News, it incorrectly stated that use of beanbags is part of Davis Learning Strategies. It is not part of Davis Learning Strategies. The News regrets the error.
That question was answered at Monday’s school board meeting, during a presentation by kindergarten instructors Lisa Thatcher, Toni Lyons and Lisa Muncie, with input from first-grade teacher Cody Donaldson and second-grade teacher Judith Crouse. Basically, they explained, brain research shows that one’s balance relates to one’s readiness to learn. The beanbags on the heads, as pupils themselves reported, help the students focus and help them think. They help the pupils to feel focused, whether sitting, standing or just walking down the hallway.
Thatcher said the beanbags “allow students to take some ownership in being prepared to learn when they enter the classroom.” The teachers explained that when a pupil begins to lose concentration, the beanbag will slip; the student will realize it’s slipping, and can then refocus on his or her own initiative, without having to be redirected by the teacher. Besides increasing academic performance, which is illustrated by data, the beanbags strategy has led to overall improved behavior and the children taking greater pride in themselves and what they are doing.
Thatcher and Muncie said the beanbags are just one part of a comprehensive approach to education called Davis Learning Strategies, which was piloted last year. Donaldson and Crouse gave some examples as to how the Davis system has positively impacted their students.
Secondary principal Linda Kay Rex reported the middle school schedule has been arranged so that there is common planning time for all middle school teachers. She said her goal is to meet with teachers on a weekly basis to focus on student achievement and how to better meet the needs of all students. She also talked about summer Ohio Achievement Test intervention, and reported high school students have been picking up their class schedules.
Seventh-grade orientation will be Thursday at 9 a.m. in the high school gym. Ninth-grade orientation will also be in the gym Thursday at 11 a.m. Any students new to the district are invited to attend the orientations.
Lynn Shoemaker, elementary principal, said fifth- and sixth-graders will be changing classes this year. They will have a homeroom and go to different teachers for subjects such as math, science and language arts. They will also have lockers, Shoemaker said, which have been ordered and should arrive shortly.
An orientation for fifth-and sixth-grade students and their parents is scheduled for 7 p.m. today. The attendees will assemble in the middle school gym, and parents and students will have the chance to walk through the student’s schedule. Parents can also pay school fees at that time. Kindergarten orientation is scheduled for Thursday at 6 p.m. in the elementary cafeteria. That orientation will include bus safety training.
During the business portion of the meeting, the board commended the custodial, transportation and maintenance crews on a job well done this summer.
The board also accepted the following resignations: Jason Crawford, junior high science teacher; Theresa Nyhart, classified substitute; and Roxanna Reiheld, freshman volleyball coach, effective immediately. The board hired Ruth Amos as middle school intervention specialist, Meredith Bowman as junior high math teacher and Jesse Ramey as high school science teacher; issued a number of supplemental contracts for the 2009-10 school year; and approved a revised job description for high school dean of students/athletic director.
In addition to approving routine fiscal actions, the board took the next step to proceed with placing the school income tax renewal in the November ballot. The renewal, at 1 1/4 percent, actually is a one-quarter percent reduction from the current tax and is used for daily operating expenses.
The board approved agreements with the Knox County Sheriff’s Office for security at certain events and with Mid-Ohio Transit Authority to transport a special needs student to Fredericktown, both for the 2009-10 school year. It also contracted with Leah Clendening to provide physical therapy services and with Tracey Lynn Smith to provide psychology services for the 2009-10 school year.
Other actions taken by the board include the approval of all bus routes, bus stops and turnarounds. The board also gave the superintendent the authority to make busing adjustments as necessary throughout the school year. Student fees for grades seven through 12 were approved, as were Chuck Daubenmier and David Dusthimer as volunteers to transport golfers to golf matches in 2009-10 and Jesse Ramey as a volunteer for the junior high football program.
Before going into a second executive session to discuss personnel, board member Charles Bratton relayed a proposal to start an archery program as an extracurricular activity for next year. He said someone has volunteered to be the instructor and a group will donate all of the necessary equipment. The board will consider the matter further, and will also pursue the proposal by Jim Holmes to get the Academic Boosters active again.
No further action was taken.