Highland set for new school year


In just over a week, students in the Highland School District will be filing into classrooms and starting the new school year.

August 12 is open house at Highland for all buildings from 12:30 -7:00 p.m. At Wednesday’s regular monthly board meeting, Supt. Dr. Bill Dodds reported current enrollment at 1850 students. Teachers’ work day is August 13 and 17, and students return for the first day of school on August 18. There will be staggered dismissal that day to ‘get the elementary students home on time. ‘

“We spend a lot of time making sure that they get on the right bus and go to the right place,” Dodds explained. “It takes us a long time to get them out of the parking lot. They were getting home very late, which worried the parents.”

The plan is to dismiss the high school at 1:50 pm, and middle school at 2:00 pm. That will have drivers back by 3:00 pm so buses can be loaded and leaving at 3:30 pm, as they would on a normal day.

School supply lists are posted on the school website’s home page. A reduction in school supplies for the parents to purchase has been put into place ‘so families don’t have to go on a scavenger hunt’ to find the needed items.

Dodds commended Todd Belcher and the custodial crews, saying the buildings look phenomenal inside and out, which was a challenge earlier in the summer with the rainy weather. He also recognized the administrative staff, who worked all summer ‘to make sure everything was ready for the students.’ Transportation and food service employees worked during the summer as well.

“People think the schools are shut down during the summer, but that’s not at all the case,” he said. “There’s a lot of work going on.”

Dodds also said a lot of new technology will be ready for students this year, with 96% of the middle school students having a computer available to them at the same time, and the elementary not far behind. The high school has what it needs, he added. “We get the technology as we need it.”

Board’s Report

Wayne Hinkle returned after time off to fulfill the state’s 60-day absence requirement after retirement. Loren Altizer said the report from administrators is in line with the district goals. Board President Bill Short said Altizer would be the Highland representative at the Cardington-Lincoln Open House Monday evening, August 10 to discuss shared services of Highland Treasurer Jon Mason with Cardington-Lincoln School District. Board members had a work day before Wednesday’s meeting and Short felt it was productive, and welcomed new first year teachers attending the board meeting.

Treasurer’s Report

Treasurer Jon Mason noted the district wound up the year in the black, with major purchases including two buses, 150 computers for the staff, and new LED lighting in the gymnasium and cafetorium. The state’s budget for the new fiscal year did not provide an increase for Highland so, Mason said, the district spends wisely.


– Employed by one (1) year contract for the 2015-2016 school year: Teresa Belcher, Elementary Permanent Substitute Teacher; Paige Schott, Elementary Intervention Specialist; Tarren Thacker, Middle School Intervention Specialist; Shawn Morgan High School Guidance Counselor; Greta Penix, High School Spanish Teacher; Rebecca Thurneyssen Elementary Teacher;

– Accepted the resignation of a supplemental contract for the 2015-2016 school year for Matthew Downing, Middle School Football Coach

– Employed by supplemental contract for the 2015-2016 school year: Matthew Downing, Assistant Varsity Football Coach (split); Nathan Huffman, Assistant Varsity Football Coach (split); Shawn Winkelfoos, Assistant Varsity Football Coach (split); Adam Gies, Assistant Varsity Football Coach Volunteer; and Scott Watson, M.S. Assistant Football Coach,

– Approved the request for maternity leave for Ashley Smith, Elementary Teacher; a Request For Leave of Absence for Hope Messmer, Middle School Educational Aide; and approved Bradley Duncan and Trina Ratliff as Substitute Bus Drivers for the 2015-2016 school year.


– Approved the Transportation Department School Bus Drivers’ Manual for the 2015-2016 school year as presented.

– Approved the policy changes to the “Bylaws and Policies” for Highland Local School District as prepared by NEOLA, Inc..

– Approved a contract agreement between the Highland Local School District Board of Education and the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America, effective July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2018 as presented.

There was no executive session at this August 5 meeting. The next meeting of the Highland Board of Education will be held Wednesday, September 9, 2015 at 7 p.m. in the high school cafetorium.

Reach Randa Wagner at 419-946-3010, ext. 1803 or on Twitter@MorrCoSentinel.


By Randa Wagner

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