EATON — This year, Preble County’s Educational Service Center (ESC) Alternative School has four new staff members.
The ESC school only has six total staff members. During an ESC board meeting held on Wednesday, Aug. 30, Alternative School Principal Brent Short reported this as a major change for the current school year.
“I think the biggest thing for our school this year was the changeover in staff,” Short said. “Out of six teachers in the building, four of them are new. The timing of how we had to do it and when we had to do it was tough, because you feel like it is hard to find quality candidates, but we were lucky that we got some really good teachers.”
“They have worked really hard so far,” Short said. “Honestly, for me, the first two weeks have been a blur trying to learn all of this, but it has been fun — I didn’t realize I could go so many days without eating lunch.”
He added, numbers of students will go up and down for the school. “We had one who only had to finish a few things before he was done and had his graduation requirements.”
Since then, Short has given tours to parents who might be interested in recommending a student.
There are a few more students transitioning to the school.
“Right now, our focus is on building relationships with the parents, students, teachers, and the community,” he said. “Shawn [Hoff] has been taking me around the probation and everybody in the community to introduce me. They felt like there was a disconnect, but now they feel like there is transparency. It makes me very happy with that and with our students who are really working with perseverance getting them through those issues.”
“The term I use a lot and that the staff is getting used to is that I’m not taking any excuses,” Short said. “We’re working really hard on those students thinking. They said this or did this, but what did you do? How can you control that? Some of them are already thinking like that. Ultimately, we want them to get an education, but we also want to change their mindsets about how they approach life and school so that they have a more positive impact on the community.”
Short added, he is thankful for his staff and for Hoff, who has worked in that position in the past.
Part of Short’s efforts to connect with the community was to have the students work at the Foodbank out at the fairgrounds. He said, “There was a huge line of people out there to get food. People who run the foodbank were so thankful to have that help. Taking our eight or nine students over there was a huge help.
“There was not one report of language or anything inappropriate that you would usually hear from some of those students,” Short said. “Not a complaint from a student either — they loved being out in the community. They felt some sort of need. I’ve had multiple students wanting to help with janitorial things after school. They are all wanting to do something.”
“We want them out there so they community can see them and see that they are better than what people may think,” he added. “They’re not stuck in a rut and do not have to stay there the rest of their lives.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH