By Linda Dillman, Staff Writer
Going above and beyond is the hallmark of service provided by three Jefferson Local School District employees recognized for their efforts at the Nov. 11 school board meeting.
Truancy officer Mitch Gargac, Tim Reay of the transportation department, and Larry Wright of the technology department were honored by their respective supervisors.
“He does many things with us on attendance and truancy,” said Norwood Elementary Principal Sue Barte regarding Gargac, who serves all three schools out of an office at Norwood. “When they see Mitch coming, they know they have to be in school.”
Gargac is a military veteran who retired as a lieutenant colonel after a 26-year career in the United States Army. He was hired by the Madison-Champaign Educational Service Center to serve as the county’s attendance officer in the Jefferson, Jonathan Alder and Madison Plains school districts.
Gargac works closely with Children’s Services and building principals to tackle truancy issues and verify student addresses in order to resolve residency problems.
“Being a Jefferson Local parent, the staff at all three schools are superb,” said Gargac. “The community has been outstanding. I really have pleasure supporting our home district.”
Bob Strobl, transportation and maintenance supervisor, told board members that Reay is always ready to volunteer whenever and wherever he is needed.
“When another driver was late getting to work, Tim went in and prepped the other driver’s bus,” Strobl said. “On short notice, he picked up a special education student. These are things he does on a regular basis, and he’s come up with numerous suggestions on how to improve our routing.”
Strobl said there was once a problem with a lost child, and Reay went above and beyond his regular duties by going to the child’s house to make sure the child was safe.
Technology coordinator Curt Dennis recognized Wright for his 13 years of service to the district and assistance with student events.
“Larry does an outstanding job staying current on technology,” Dennis said. “Never once has he not stepped up to the challenges I throw at him.”
Third-grade reading guarnatee
In other discussion, Norwood curriculum coordinator Andrea Buescher reported on the district’s efforts to address the state’s third grade reading guarantee program included in Senate Bill 316.
According to the bill, initiated by Gov. John Kasich, all current third-graders may be held back a grade if they do not achieve a score of at least 392 on the Ohio Reading Achievement test.
While the mandate applies only to third-graders, Jefferson Local also assesses the skills of students in kindergarten, first and second grade. Testing is done in the fall and spring.
Data from the latest available round of testing found that 9 percent of third-graders need additional help. Twenty-five percent of kindergarteners were identified as not on track, as were 2 percent of first-graders and 6 percent of second-graders.
Buescher said scores are reported to parents via mail. Parents of students deemed to be “not on track” receive supplemental correspondence explaining how the school plans to provide additional support for their child.
“Each classroom teacher wrote a reading implementation and monitoring plan for students not on track,” Buescher said. “Teachers will implement the (individual) plans and report progress to their principal four times throughout the year. Reading plans are flexible and may be changed at any time to meet the needs of the child.
“Now that we have implemented our monitoring plan for literacy, we need to implement the same process to monitor our lowest 20 percent of students and gifted students in math as well to ensure growth for all.”