Wabash City Schools board meeting brings to light bright future

by Emily Armentrout

Wabash City Schools held the latest board meeting at the central office on Monday, March 17. This meeting shed light on a bright and exciting future for the students, the staff and the administration.

Wabash High School principal Josh Blossom started the board meeting by presenting the Spirit of the Apache Award to Payten Keffaber, a junior at Wabash High School. Keffaber has been serving Wabash High School in volunteer roles since she was a freshman.

“Payten is not the kind of kid that asks for attention at all. She deserves a lot high praise for the leadership she shows at our school,” said Principal Blossom. “There is rarely an event at the high school that you would go to and not see Payten doing something.”

Keffaber’s latest endeavor was taking charge of a student-driven blood drive. Mr. Blossom gave Keffaber the reins, and she took the event from there.

“I don’t think I touched base with Payten until two days before the drive,” said Blossom.  “Sure enough, she had talked to everybody she needed to.”

Keffaber scheduled volunteers to help at the event. She made sure that students were signed up to donate, and she even had a set up and tear down crew assembled for the event. The result was 57 students donating to the blood drive. 

“For this blood drive and for everything that Payten does for our school, I’m to happy give the Spirit of the Apache Award,” said Blossom.

The Wabash City School corporation gave out a second award at this meeting. The Recognition Award was presented to Todd Daywalt for his 22 years of service to the corporation as a member of the Building Corporation.

“I was amazed to hear that Mr. Daywalt had served Wabash City Schools on a volunteer basis for the last 22 years,” Jason Callahan, Wabash City Schools Superintendent, told the board.

As the school board officially accepted the resignation of current Wabash Middle School principal Scott Bumgardner, the corporation looked ahead by officially filling the middle school principal position. The board approved current W.C. Mills Principal Mike Mattern to step into the position at the start of the 2014-2015 school year.

With current Chief Business Officer Jan Roland retiring at the end of the school year, Matt Stone was previously approved to take over the CBO position. At Monday’s meeting, Stone was approved to fill the shoes of Scott Bumgardner as the new Varsity Lady Apache basketball team head coach.

Following approvals of the board’s recommendations, three presentations were given that offer Wabash City and county schools a bright future.

Justin Vail, Wabash City Schools Technology Director, Brian Miller, Director of Technology Integration for MSD, Lavone Sparling, Chief Academic Officer for MSD, and Janelle McLaughlin, Curriculum Coordinator for MCS, were on hand to present WISE, a collaborative effort to teach teachers how to integrate digital curriculum into their classrooms. WISE stands for Wabash Innovative Summit for Education.

WISE is a collaborative professional development site for Manchester Community Schools, MSD of Wabash County, and Wabash City Schools, all of which have successful 1:1 initiatives in progress.

These educators were awarded a $15,000 grant from the state to help fund their endeavor. On June 12 and 13, they will be holding a conference at Northfield High School with two keynote speakers coming to share their knowledge on the innovative learning. 

You can check out to learn more about the conference and about how WISE will benefit the community and its students.

The second program was given by another grant winning group in the Wabash City Schools corporation. Abi Armentrout and Sarah Andrews gave a short presentation to the board about the Lilly Teacher Creativity Grant they received that will be sending them to Spain this summer to study Spanish history, culture and art, and bring their experiences back to their students.

The final presentation came from Jan Williams, Youth Service Director from Huntington. Williams gave a presentation on Safe Place, which is a program that gives youth a safe place and quick support to kids in crisis. Safe Place presents at schools so that kids and teenagers know they have a place they can go to be safe.

“If teens are on a violent date, we have a certain gas station, so she can suggest going to the station to get a coke, and she can go in. say ‘Hey I need a safe place,’ and they will take her in and call us,” explained Williams.

Williams presented Safe Place to the WCS board with the possibility of starting a Safe Place program here in Wabash County.

“We need the school buy in because if we don’t have access to the kids, if they don’t know we’re out there, there’s no sense in starting the program,” continued Williams. “We are just exploring the possibility. We are thinking we could start with one corporation first, because the bulk of our kids are in the city of Huntington. There is no cost to the corporation. It is just letting us come in and talk to the students,” added Williams.

Safe Place also comes to schools if a student is threatening to run away from home or is having home issues they need support for. There was no decision made on this topic at the time of print.

With all the changes coming in the Wabash City School corporation, the board feels that with the innovation of its teachers and the support of the community, that Wabash City Schools will continue to build on its tradition of excellence.

Posted on 2014 Mar 18