School board learns about Southside’s Tiger Trails, ROTC programs

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FFA members speak about potential changes to Ag program

By Todd Martin

Although Shelby County Public Schools were out on Thursday, the school board was still in session that night.

The board gathered at Southside Elementary School for its biweekly meeting and heard presentations about how that school is meeting the needs of its students.

Kathy Woods, the ESL teacher, gave a presentation on a trip her students took to the Newport Aquarium in Northern Kentucky.

The field trip was a “background educational experience” for the students, she said.

“Building background is a key to introducing new material, otherwise it is difficult to learn. This helped make a connection,” Woods said.

Southside Family Resource Coordinator Beth Cathcart also spoke about the school’s Tiger Trails and Boot Camp programs.

The Tiger Trails program is for third-and fourth-grade girls and helps them focus on physical activity, nutrition and like skills. The group runs/walks 1 mile twice a week and builds up to run in two 5K events this year.

The Boot Camp program does the same for fourth-and fifth-grade boys, teaching them training, how to make responsible choices and behavior skills. The boys work with the SCHS Junior ROTC members twice a week.

The school had planned for students to help with the presentations, but with school cancelled that day, many weren’t able to make the meeting.

However, that didn’t stop the FFA members from attending. Several members of the SCHS Future Farmers of American were on hand, and three of them spoke about the proposed changes to the Ag programs at Shelby County and Martha Layne Collins high schools next year.

The group argued that a reduction in the number of teachers from two at one school to one at each school would limit the number of Ag classes. Derek Slucher, Chelsey Schlosnagle and Carrie Yates all said they enjoy the Ag classes, and don’t want to see them limited. They each made reference to the opportunities made available through the program and how it has helped them in their lives.

The board heard their complaints and will respond to them at a later date. (See a letter to the editor from Schlosnagle and Kyla Selby on Page A5.)

The board thanked the group for voicing their concerns and commended them for bringing it to the attention of the board.

Also at the meeting:

• The board heard staff reports from Lisa Smith and Joy Royalty on the district’s daycare system. Smith and Royalty recommended that daycare offer one location for the summer and continue to run the same for the 2010-11 school year as it is for this school year. The board will act on the recommendation at a later date.

• Heard a staff report from Lisa Smith on the district’s preschool program. Smith reported that 208 children are currently in the preschool program and are being served in 11 classrooms at four locations in district. There is currently space for 20 more students, but the district also serves 100 percent of those that meet the criteria and request the service. By law, the district must provide preschool services for all that meet the socioeconomic or developmentally delayed criteria. The board discussed possibly adding  tuition-based daycare, but as of now the space is limited in the county. The board will discuss finding more funding and space for preschool at a later date.

• Approved the matching the funds, either $6,000 or $6,500, with the Shelby County Area Technology Center for a College Career Coach through a grant from Americorps. Mary Stratton spoke in favor of the 2-year agreement.

• Approved a request for a disaster day related to the closing of the Shelby Education Center at Cropper on Jan. 22.

• Approved waiving policy to allow the SCHS dance team, ROTC, and academic to participate in Sunday activities.

• Approved West Middle to use a common carrier for a field trip.

• Approved leave of absence and fund raising requests.