Work on improving student academic performance through a Next Generation School Improvement Grant started last Wednesday, Sept. 13, after a year of planning.

Local educators are working with consultants from Equitable Education Solutions on implementing methods they can use to improve student performance, concentrating on employability skills. The program is funded by a $2.45 million grant awarded in Spring 2022. The funds are earmarked for underperforming schools.

The grant called for a year of planning, with implementation starting in the current school year, Superintendent Andy Stover told the Western Wayne school board at its Sept. 13 meeting.

A planning committee of educators from both Western Wayne Elementary and Lincoln Middle/High schools is working with EES on implementing the program. That day’s workshop included a demonstration of a lesson-building app for incorporating employability skills into daily teaching.

Also last week, Stover announced acceptance of a $255,000 grant that will fund creation of a new counselor position at the elementary school. Funds come from the federal Bipartisan Safer Communities Act: Strong Connection grant administered by the Indiana Department of Education.

The superintendent credited Chad Lieberman, director of titles and grants, for his work in developing the successful grant applications.

The board approved raises for food service employees, as recommended by Stover. They include $41,654 pay for the director, along with a $1,000 contribution to a health savings account; $12.25 per hour and a $500 per semester stipend for existing employees; $12 an hour and $500 stipend per semester for new employees; $11.25 an hour for substitutes; and a 3% raise for head cooks.

The board also confirmed the following personnel actions.

  • Certified personnel hirings: Heather Morrow, LMHS guidance counselor; Sonia Wayt, HS Spanish teacher; Diana Bell, RTI math teacher.
  • Noncertified personnel hirings: Zariah Davis, Holly Fisher and Hannah Best, WWES instructional aides; Presley Sorah, pre-K instructional aide; Fred Jensen, WWES cafeteria; Marilyn Anderson, LMHS cafeteria.
  • Coaching hires: James Pugh, sixth grade boys basketball; Ben Singer, seventh grade boys basketball; Austin Wampler, seventh grade girls basketball; Carter Mettler, eighth grade girls basketball; Brian Klein, volunteer boys basketball assistant coach; Mark Lunsford, varsity softball; Lucius Pitcock, softball assistant coach.
  • Resignations: Jennifer Cornett, part time nurse; Kayla McFarland and Krista Sortina, WWES instructional aides.

The board’s next meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 11, in Room 80 at Lincoln Middle/High School, 205 E. Parkway. The public may attend.

Share this:

A version of this article appeared in the September 20 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Bob Hansen is a reporter for the Western Wayne News.