WJ hires new music teachers

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A pair of new faces front grades 6 through 12 music for the Jefferson Local School District. Elmer Broecker is the new instrumental instructor. Polly Wilbur is the new vocal instructor.

The school board unanimously approved the teachers’ contracts on July 14. Broecker has 26 years of experience working with smaller school districts. Wilbur is a recent Otterbein College graduate.

High School Principal Dave Metz, who served a short tenure as a temporary band director for the West Jefferson July Fourth Streetfest parade, said the district received over 70 applications for the vocal music position and more than 40 for the band director slot.

“We got it down to seven, then two for a rendition of ‘So You Think You Can Direct’ before making the final selection,” Metz said of the vocal music position. “(Wilbur) will bring the enthusiasm that Jody (Hepp) started.”

Regarding the instrumental music instructor search, Metz said, “For us on the committee, it was a no-brainer. He’s (Broecker) coming to us from Lincoln Schools in Van Wert, worked 26 years with small schools, and comes highly recommended from Dr. Jon Woods at Ohio State. He taught at Ohio State on small bands in small schools.”

In addition to serving as a guest lecturer, Broecker is a guest conductor whose daughter is enrolled at Ohio State and is a member of the university’s concert band.

“Our ties to Ohio State and Capital are very strong,” said Broecker. “I told the kids you’ll get used to seeing Dr. Woods and Mr. (Jim) Swearingen. We are very happy to be here.”

Emergency Notification System

In other action, Technology Coordinator Curt Dennis reported on a proposal to contract with an outside company to provide emergency/messenger notification for students and their families. Dennis said the key benefits of installing a messenger system are:

• Parents can be alerted to school closings, emergency situations, or early dismissals via multiple phone numbers and e-mail.

• Transportation route, grade level, subject area, and building groups can be established.

• Message delivery can be initiated from any computer or phone.

• The system is entirely Web-based. No hardware is needed within the district.

• It can be integrated with a new Student Information System (DASL), thus eliminating manual updates.

• Technology support is provided 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

• The preferred server (AlertNow) has the ability to send attachments.

• The system has multi-language capability.

“A lot of schools in Ohio and across the country are using an emergency notification system,” said Dennis. “Price is a consideration. The cost is between $2 to $3 per entry (student). The companies are Web-based and can generate reports, polls, and e-mail/call in the event of an emergency such as a school closing. They can send out 6,000 phone calls per minute.

“Parents can be alerted at multiple phone numbers and e-mails and there is no hardware to maintain. Families would have access to a Web page to update information. They (notification companies) keep adding new features as they go along. It’s a one-price deal, so you don’t pay for individual features. The total cost would be about $4,500 per year.”

Anticipating approval, Dennis told board members he recommends implementing the emergency notification system in September after DASL goes active in August.

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