HHCS re-institutes elementary art instruction


District libraries will also be staffed full time

By Greg Smart - gsmart@civitasmedia.com



HUBER HEIGHTS — At the special meeting of the Huber Heights City Schools Board of Education on Thursday, elementary art teachers were hired for the 2015-16 school year, reinstating 2.5 positions that were previously cut due to budget constraints.

Kathryn Nugent was hired for art at Monticello and Valley Forge while Kelly McGill was hired for Charles Huber and Wright Brothers Elementary. Mary Jones was hired as a half-time art instructor at Rushmore.

“We’re very excited at this point in time that we have art back at the elementary schools, Huber Heights City Schools Supt. Susan Gunnell told the Courier. “…There’s 2.5 art teachers, so that means there will be one art teacher at each elementary building which is what we had prior to the first round of reductions that we made several years ago.”

Gunnell said she was “extremely pleased” to re-institute art back into the elementary classrooms.

“That was something that came out consistently through our strategic planning processes as well as when we collected feedback from the community,” said Gunnell. “It was overwhelmingly mentioned, not only by elementary staff, teachers, administrators, parents, that they felt having that arts instruction was important at the elementary level. Even though they did a lot of activities that involved artistic endeavors, it’s not the same as actually having children benefit from instruction in art. So very pleased to be able to do that — to be able to offer that comprehensive program.”

Gunnell also indicated that the district has been able to add paraprofessional staff at the libraries. She said the district will now elementary libraries opened every day, all day.

They will also be able to fully staff the library at Weisenborn Junior High and Wayne High School as last year, one librarian was split between those two buildings. The teacher is still there half time, but the other half of the time, a paraprofessional will be on hand for support and supervision.

Gunnell said library staffing is absolutely needed as students increase research and teachers can bring classes to the library.

“I’m very pleased we’ve been able to make those small adjustments that I think will have a great impact on our comprehensive educational program,” said Gunnell.

The first day for students is Thursday, Aug. 13. Gunnell said the administration has been working very hard this summer with about 41 resignations, many for retirement while some were for other personal reasons, to put new staffing in place.

“We have a lot of people that are so excited to be offered positions here in Huber Heights,” said Gunnell. “They talk about the good things they hear about the programs we offer, about our students, about our community. Of course, there’s a brand new administrative team, there’s new administrators and there’s administrators that have been moved into new positions, so we’ve been working hard the last couple of days. The administrative team has been working hard to get to know each other. We’ve been certainly setting out our vision and mission strategic plans so that everybody knows the direction we’re heading and the focus that we have for this year.”

HHCS will be welcoming new staff members on Monday, Aug. 10. Gunnell said they will take a tour on a school bus of three buildings and give them a history of Huber Heights followed by lunch. There will also be a “welcome back staff meeting” for all certified staff on Wednesday, Aug. 12.

Weston Sale was hired as a third grade teacher at Monticello while Sean Turner was hired as an intervention specialist at Monticello. Carla Weigandt was approved as the gifted intervention specialist for the district.

The board will meet in regular session at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 13 in the Central Office Board Room at Studebaker.

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District libraries will also be staffed full time

By Greg Smart

gsmart@civitasmedia.com

Reach Greg Smart at 937-236-4990, ext. 2542 or on Twitter @HH_Courier.com.

Reach Greg Smart at 937-236-4990, ext. 2542 or on Twitter @HH_Courier.com.