By Leah Sander
AKRON — The Tippecanoe Valley School Corp. has recognized three teachers who are retiring from Tippecanoe Valley Middle School.
Before the TVSC Board meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 17, at TVMS, Valley had a reception for the teachers, Linda Studebaker, Jane Hunn and Marcie Pearson. The meeting was postponed to Wednesday due to inclement weather earlier this week.
The board also recognized the teachers during the meeting, with Studebaker and Hunn being present. TVSC Superintendent Blaine Conley read facts about each teacher. All three teachers spent their entire teaching careers in TVSC.
Pearson teaches sixth-grade language arts. She’s taught for 31 years. Hunn teaches sixth-grade science and has spent 43 years teaching.
Studebaker teaches sixth-grade math and has been in the profession for 43 and a half years.
TVSC building project
The board announced during the meeting that they’re to host two public meetings to seek input on a future building project in the corporation.
The meetings will be at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 18, and Tuesday, March 23, at the Tippecanoe Valley High School Commons. Conley told InkFreeNews after the meeting that they could be doing something with the high school’s building.
The corporation is to have the Fanning Howey company be the architect for the project, which the board also approved during the meeting. At least one representative from the company will be present at the public meetings along with at least one representative from Baker Tilly financial advisors.
TVSC Board President Tom Bauters did say during Wednesday’s meeting that taxes won’t be raised to pay for whatever project the corporation will complete.
TVMS Principal Scott Backus and his staff gave their annual update to the board at the meeting.
Their reports showed how TVMS has adapted academics and extracurricular activities in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The school has staggered start times for each grade to ensure that not too many students are gathered in hallways at the same time.
“This is one of the things that the staff would like to keep regardless of COVID’s future,” said Backus. “It’s a lot quieter. It’s less traffic in the hallway. It really has worked out to be a positive despite the negative situation that it originated from.”
The school has restricted the number of kids at each table for lunch. During warmer weather, it had kids take turns going outside for a while during lunch.
The school has been following state guidelines for athletics based on what color Kosciusko County has been rated by the state for its COVID-19 positivity rate. For band and choir concerts, the school has limited the number of people attending.
The school has also been using the software Edmentum for the students whose parents wanted them to do online schooling this year.
“We’ve spent the nine years that I’ve been in administration at this building trying to develop a collaborative classroom setting,” said Backus. “We’ve spent money on furniture to be able to work together. We’ve made this big focus on working together with kids. And this year, if you walk up and down the hall, we’ve done everything possible to spread desks out as far as possible and keep kids away from each other.”
Backus closed out all the reports by giving what he deemed a State of TVMS Address.
He said he was proud of his staff for them doing the best they can to adapt.
“It’s a great time to be a part of a great team like we have because we do a good job of supporting each other, but it’s also a really tough time to be an educator right now,” he said. “And so I appreciate these guys coming out, doing what they did tonight on their time to be able to celebrate our school. I think we’ve got an awesome school that works hard and does great things for kids. … But the bottom line is I feel like Tippecanoe Valley Middle School is in a place right now where we support each other and right now, that’s what we need.”
“We help each other through things, we work through things, and you know I think we’re 64 days away from finishing a school year that we didn’t know that we were even going to get through the first trimester of.”
In other business, the board:
- Heard from Backus that TVMS seventh grader Cassie Rich won the county’s Spell Bowl and is headed to the regional competition.
- Heard from TVHS student Mackenzie Costello during her report on the high school that wrestler Bazle Owens is headed to the state wrestling competition this week.
- Approved the hiring of Mentone Elementary School instructional assistants Ivy Johnson and Grace Grosch, TVSC Network Administration Drew Jones and TVHS Technology Associate Noah Prater.
Jones and Prater were present at the meeting.
- Approved Jamie Long as TVMS sixth grade girls basketball coach and accepted the resignation of TVHS custodian Breanna Kruger.
The board’s next regular meeting is 6 p.m. Monday, March 15, at TVHS.