02-21-2019 Coloma Schools may see addition of School Resource Officer; Hartford School Board hears

Coloma Schools may see addition of School Resource Officer

By Annette Christie Students and staff in the Coloma School District may soon have the company of a police officer among them. Superintendent Dave Ehlers told the board at their Feb. 11 meeting that he and Interim Police Chief Wes Smigielski have had some very productive discussions on the subject and that Smigielski has a plan to make it work. As a part of the district’s Strategic Plan to provide a safer school district, Ehlers said having a police officer on site amongst the students will bridge the gap between kids and police, provide education on tough subjects that some students may not even know are a crime, and strengthen relationships to show that police aren’t always just around when something bad is happening. Ehlers said that Smigielski will be taking the idea to the Coloma Township Board and it is likely that a joint presentation will be given to both the school and the township. He said that they will likely approve it through the budget process. Student count The board presented very preliminary numbers on the student count, the second and final count of the year. Ehlers said that the very rough internal count was 1,318, which would be down only 25 students from the fall count. The board will be discussing budget amendments affected by the count and other unseen revenues that have come to the district. School reports School administrators all reported that they have been doing some catch up following the large number of days recently off school due to the weather. High School Principal Mike Churchill spoke with pride about the wrestling team that just became district champs and the woman’s bowling team that are doing very well. Choir Director Rebecca Selvidge thanked the board for allowing the choir trip to Disney which was held recently. She said the kids did a fantastic job. Three of her choir members just made the All-State Jazz Choir. School Board President Heidi Ishmael told Selvidge, “The community can be very proud of our kids that are in your program.” Five high school students in AP History made a presentation to the board seeking permission for a trip to Washington D.C. The students have laid out a calendar with fundraising ideas. It is estimated that the trip will cost $699 per student with all expenses included and they are hoping to get between 15-30 kids. A lot of the students spoke about the importance of witnessing first hand, some of the things in history that they only read about in a textbook. The students were given permission to move forward with their trip plans. In the Intermediate School, some students recently participated in breakfast with the principal and received Principal Awards for good citizenship. The lower grade schools will be participating in “One School, One Book.” This is a national program. The students will all receive a book and will be able to take it home for family reading as well. In addition, teachers will be doing a recording of the readings for kids to watch on YouTube if they are unable to do the family reading. The book is a secret until the revealing of the title. Kindergarten roundup will be held on March 25 during the day, with evening hours on the 26th.

Community Soup & Salad Supper Friday, March 1 A Community Soup & Salad Supper will be held from 5-6 p.m. on Friday, March 1, at the North Berrien Senior Center, 6648 Ryno Road in Coloma. The menu includes soup, salad, bread, dessert and beverage. The public is invited. Cost for adults is $5; $3 for children up to 12 years of age; and free for children under three. Proceeds go to the H.O.P.E. Resources Food Pantry located at Coloma United Methodist Church. This month’s supper is hosted by Coloma Lioness Club.

HEARTSafe HARTFORD PUBLIC SCHOOLS… Since 2015 the Hartford School District has been recognized with the Michigan HEARTSafe School certification. High School Principal & District Safety Director Dave Janicki (right) is proud to announce that staff at all district buildings have completed training which minimally puts two CPR & AED trained staff members in each facility. Installation of strategically positioned Automatic External Defibrillators (AED) is one of many steps the district has implemented for the safety of students, staff and visitors. Teacher Tom Bean (center) worked with the Van Buren Intermediate School District staff with CPR training for each incoming freshman class. Now with the program in its fourth year, the entire HHS student body is fully CPR certified. Athletic Director Nick Blackmer (left) has implemented AED installations including a mobile unit to cover athletic events in the event of a cardiac emergency for both athletes and fans as well. As the Tri-Cities’ only HEARTSafe School, Hartford counts itself among now over 440 Michigan schools who have earned the designation, exceeding the minimal state requirements. Public Act 12 of 2014 requires all Michigan schools, grades K – 12, to have a cardiac emergency response plan in place. Public Act 388 of 2016 requires CPR and AED instruction for students in grades 7 – 12. Van Buren ISD Crisis Management Director Gary Brown credits Hartford as “way ahead of the curve” when it comes to matters of proactive student safety measures as compared to other area schools.

Hartford School Board hears mid-year assessments

By Jon Bisnett The Hartford School Board meeting on February 18 for the monthly business session with Vice President Mike Banic filling in at the gavel was pleased to hear Curriculum Director Brad Geesaman’s report of mid-year data showing solid reading improvement at nearly all grade levels. The shining star of the evening came out of the First Grade showing the most radical jump from 10% to 40% of students testing at or above their given benchmark. With respect to the Third Grade Reading Law which can cause the retention of a student who is not within the state mandated level, Geesaman lauded the work done by the First Grade teachers. They have truly committed to improvement which builds a critical foundation that will carry students into the 2nd and 3rd grades. Citing these teachers who have fully bought in to data-driven solutions for instructional improvement, Geesaman complimented the staff on their push to make early literacy a priority following the credo of “Learn to Read – Read to Learn.” Personnel The board