(Posted Sept. 13, 2022)
By Linda Dillman, Staff Writer
Inflation does not stop Jefferson Local residents, businesses and the village from digging into their pockets to support the schools financially and with donations of school supplies, especially for Norwood Elementary students.
On Sept. 12, the school board accepted eight donations, five of which were earmarked for the elementary school. The other two were financial donations to the athletic department and to a scholarship fund.
“Without the support of the community, sometimes our kids wouldn’t get the nice things they do get,” said board President Dr. Meg Hiss.
The village of West Jefferson donated $525 in scissors and dry erase markers. Amazon provided $100 in school supplies. Payton Smith donated grade-level supplies, Playdoh markers, notebooks and two backpacks. Sts. Simon and Jude Catholic Church donated $100 in supplies for elementary students. The West Jefferson Police Department gave Norwood book bags, markers, colored pencils and other supplies valued at $300.
“All of our teachers and staff are very appreciative of the support of our community,” said Norwood Principal Sue Barte. “Our kids even write thank-you notes.”
Over the past seven years, donations like the list approved at the board meeting have become more common, helping the school provide supplies to children in need, Barte said.
Downtown Photography donated $875 to the athletic department, and the Timmons brothers donated $1,000 to the Timmons Scholarship Fund.
In other business, Madison-Champaign Educational Service Center (ESC) Superintendent Mary Mitchell introduced herself and shared details about her background in special education. Before being tapped as superintendent, she worked at the ESC for seven years and was director of special education at Urbana prior to taking the county position.
Mitchell talked about Jefferson Local’s hybrid pre-school classes which contain eight mainstream students and the same number of students with special needs. Mitchell also applauded Norwood’s latchkey program.
“It’s not something we see at many other districts,” she said. “At the ESC, our commitment is to serve the needs of our districts.”
Jefferson Local Superintendent William Mullett said the ESC is helping the district provide services for gifted students. He also pointed out that, over the last several years, ESCs across the board were hit with cuts and forced to stretch dwindling dollars for services for districts under their prevue.
“We have a lot of fairly high incident kids in our pre-school,” said Mullett, “and one of the biggest things you do for us is pre-school.”
In regular action, the school board accepted retirement requests from Jeri “Bambi” Keckley, secretary at Norwood, and Mark Staffan, a teacher at Norwood. Nick Houk was hired on a one-year extracurricular contract as the high school/middle school assistant athletic director, and Cherri Schneider was hired as the athletic site manager on an as-needed basis.