Local teachers and school staff who help young children learn to read are receiving a one-time payment of about $150 in February. 

Centerville-Abington Community Schools’ board approved distribution of stipends from Indiana Department of Education’s Early Literacy Achievement Grant during the board’s Jan. 24 meeting.  

Hoosier school districts are now determining how best to distribute that new money. 

CACS chose to give stipends to anyone working in the schools who helps advance literacy for students in preschool through third grade. 

Superintendent Mike McCoy said some districts are giving grants only to K-3 teachers, but CACS believes it’s important to thank non-certified staff and preschool instructors too.  

McCoy discussed the opportunity with Rose Hamilton and Centerville-Abington Community Schools principals Sam Pritchard and Kelly VanWinkle, literacy coach Mika Frame, and Centerville Education Association before finalizing a recommendation. 

Many Indiana teachers’ associations say the funds should be part of contract negotiations, McCoy said, but state officials don’t feel that way. 

McCoy compared this grant to the annual Teacher Appreciation Grant, given to highly effective and effective teachers. 

Retirement salute

Pam Sperling, center, who retired as Centerville-Abington Elementary’s secretary in December, is congratulated by school board President Todd Duke, left, and CAE Principal Kelly VanWinkle. Photo by Millie Emery

Pam Sperling, Centerville-Abington Elementary School’s secretary for about 30 years, is missed after her December retirement. 

The board honored Sperling with a resolution.  

Sperling began working as a teacher’s aide for a year and a half before becoming secretary.

“There’s no one like Pam,” Principal Kelly VanWinkle said. “She always ran Centerville Elementary.” 

Sperling helped new secretaries in the district or central office learn their roles, and assisted at basketball concession stands and fall festivals for many years. 

“She’s been my mom, my best friend, my confidant, and I’m really going to miss her,” VanWinkle said. “Centerville schools were blessed to have her as long as we did.” 

Sperling said she loved working for the schools and is “going to miss everything.” 

The board later approved Sperling as a substitute CAE secretary. She said she also might help at concession stands in the future. 

Board approvals

  •  Several policies related to school board duties and functions, homeless students, staff discipline, curricular material adoption and other topics. They were discussed at a previous meeting.
  • Donations from DAJO Photos ($500) for Drama Club and Hill Electric ($250) for Stop the Bleed kits. 
  • Trips for Business Professionals of America (Indianapolis) and band (Mason, Ohio)
  • A resolution allowing for the purchase of gas cards for families experiencing homelessness
  • IDOE’s annual Form 9 showing revenues and expenditures from July 1-Dec. 31, 2023

Other business

Custodians quickly found a small hole in a Rose Hamilton boiler pipe that burst during recent cold weather. The hole was contained, and no damage occurred. 

The state’s official student count date for second semester is Feb. 1. CACS currently has 1,728 students, but that changes nearly daily. McCoy said enrollment is down by seven students since fall, but a few years ago, CACS typically lost about 20 students between counts. 

Personnel updates 

Hires: Seth Hague, substitute teacher; Alex Sherwood, high school night custodian

Transfer: Hayleigh Ray, from sub to special education assistant (Rose Hamilton)

Departure: Briendle Fletcher, assistant girls track coach (high school)

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A version of this article appeared in the January 31 2024 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Millicent Martin Emery is a reporter and editor for the Western Wayne News.