LEWISBURG — Tri-County North School District Board of Education members held their first monthly meeting of 2021 on Monday, Jan. 25.
K-4 Principal Joe Finkbine praised TCN’s elementary school teachers for providing helpful feedback to parents.
“I get the pleasure each quarter of going through the comments our teachers make, and I really want to commend them,” Finkbine said. “They do a good job of putting comments in rather than just grades.”
Finkbine read portions of a few comments to the board; names were redacted due to confidentiality concerns.
One teacher described a male student as “a leader in class. He works well in small groups, as well as in whole-group activities. He’s prepared for class daily, and asks questions if he’s unsure what to do or if we’re learning a new concept.”
“By the middle of the quarter, it was evident that she felt as if TCN was her home,” a second teacher wrote of another student. “She has become confident as a student and a classmate, and her classmates simply adore her.”
Finkbine also discussed the elementary school’s Teacher-Based Leadership Teams, which are groups of teachers who are assigned to work together to try and address different school-related issues.
“We meet as teams and go over, ‘How do we tackle each of these things?’” Finkbine said. “One team is looking at intervention strategies for students. If you’ve got a student that the normal interventions that we’re doing aren’t working – what’s next? If normal instruction in the classroom isn’t working for some students, what do we add on to that? What else can we do?”
Another team is focused on improving the culture within the school, according to Finkbine.
“The culture team is really working with the mental health of our students, and on making sure that we’re making them feel welcome, and that we’re doing the same for our staff members,” Finkbine said.
High School Principal’s Report
9-12 Principal Kristen Mills reported that fewer students are lagging behind due to remote learning and other issues, with only four juniors and two seniors currently considered at-risk.
“That’s pretty good,” Mills said. “We’re seeing a decrease in failed classes and discipline. So kudos to the teachers for working with those students.”
Mills also updated the board on Senate Bill 358, a pending measure in the Ohio legislature that would have eliminated mandatory testing requirements for the current school year.
“It’s dead. It’s not going to go anywhere,” Mills said. “So, come spring, it looks like we will be testing everyone.”
Mills also indicated that Miami Valley Career Technology Center (MVCTC) students would be returning to the TCN campus to test.
“So, we’re looking at ways to accommodate that many people and keep them socially distanced and safe.”
Superintendent William Derringer expressed gratitude to the board in honor of Board Member Appreciation Month.
“Thank you for building the future of public education,” Derringer said. “This year has been challenging and a little bit more difficult than some of the others that we’ve gone through recently, but I speak for everybody in saying that we appreciate the support and the leadership you guys have given us as we’ve dealt with the pandemic.”
Derringer also reported the outcome of a recent meeting between county superintendents and Preble County Health Commissioner Erik Balster regarding COVID-19 vaccinations.
“There’s just a lot of unknowns with the vaccines,” Derringer said. “Even Erik and the county health department don’t know the date of when they’re going to get them. I know the governor had said all along Feb. 1, but that’s been pushed back.”
Derringer discussed the results of a survey asking how many TCN staff members were interested in getting the vaccine, which indicated the school district would need “just under 70 doses.”
“What we put on there is it would probably be mid-February, and I think we’re still shooting for that time period at this point,” Derringer said.
Tri-County North Board of Education meetings take place the third Monday of each month at 7:30 p.m. in the High School Lecture Room.
Reach Anthony Baker at 937-683-4057 or on Facebook @mproperenglish