TOP STORY OF THE DAY, brought to you free by WICU: Fritz says Covid-19 numbers 'moving in the right direction'

Monday, October 18, 2021
Mershon and Sons Concrete takes advantage of fall break to do some work at North Clay Middle School.
Ivy Jacobs photo

So far, the 2021-22 school year is moving right along despite the “Overall, I’m glad to say school is going very well, and considering it’s not really a typical year, things are rolling along very smoothly,” said Superintendent Jeff Fritz at the monthly school board meeting last week. “I appreciate the hard work and dedication of our school family, and I know that it has been difficult on parents as well, but I appreciate the efforts of everyone.”

“I think we’re moving in the right direction,” Fritz said about the data recently trending downward of COVID-19 in Clay County. “Face masks are recommended now that we are in the Orange Advisory Category, but they are still required by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on school buses.”

Dana Bottomley

Fritz and the trustees were proud to announce Dana Bottomley received the 2021 McDonald’s “Teach it Forward” Outstanding Educator award. More than 700 educators were nominated for the second-annual McDonald’s Outstanding Educator awards.

The board approved the 2022 Budget, Capital Projects Plan, School Bus Replacement Plan, and the Indiana Bond Bank fuel program.

“This is something we do every year,” said Fritz.

Board President Tom Reberger said the program has “saved us during the winter” when prices skyrocketed expectedly in the past.

The new 2022-23 school calendar was also approved.

“I will tell you; this may sound a little silly, but this is one of my favorite things to do when it comes to getting ready for the next school year,” said Fritz. “It’s very, very similar to previous years, and it seems to be working well for us.”

Each year there are goals for the calendar, including:

• Keep a similar number of days for the first and second semesters.

• Start a few days after the first of August to maintain a whole week.

“That’s really important for us with all the traffic concerns,” said Fritz.

• Include the Wednesday off before Thanksgiving.

• Maintain one week at spring break, and include time for eLearning Days.

“I just wanted to say that since we implemented a calendar similar to this one a few years back, the students have been able to retain more knowledge over the summer. So they come back with more knowledge, retained knowledge, and they’re better rested,” said Amy Burke Adams. “Therefore, there are fewer discipline issues, and we had a reduction in discipline issues or reports. Higher grades result from calendars that are modeled like this, which in the end means increased graduation rates. So this is a great calendar for everyone.”

The board has requested information at a future meeting about a potential safe route to school, a trail option that would connect the city of Brazil to the campus for Northview High School and North Clay Middle School.

They also requested a visit with “Journey,” Van Buren Elementary School’s therapy dog. The Goldendoodle pup visited in August with Special Education Teacher Brooke Kraemer.

Reberger thanked the audience for its courtesy while attending recent meetings.

“We appreciate the fact that everyone feels comfortable coming to our meetings and speaking and saying what you think,” said Reberger. “We respect and encourage your opinions. We passed tonight the 2022-23 budget, school year, and the calendar. That’s a $50 million budget. That’s a lot of money, folks, and we take it seriously. We’re going to make sure your money is spent wisely and that students get the most benefit that they possibly can from it.”

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