By Aimee Hancock
For the Troy Daily News
PLEASANT HILL — Newton Local School District’s board of education convened for a short meeting Wednesday. The crowd in attendance was noticeably larger than usual, as many Newton teachers had come to celebrate board member Dave Welbaum, who is retiring.
“I just want to say ‘thank you’ for 10 great years,” Welbaum said. “It’s been a lot of fun.”
Superintendant Pat McBride spoke briefly of his gratitude for Welbaum, and highlighted the role he has played within the board.
“I really appreciate Dave’s support over the years,” McBride said. “I’m going to miss him.”
Also in attendance was Welbaum’s successor, Matt Downing, who had just been voted into the position the previous evening in the local election.
Downing, who is originally from Covington, will begin his new role in January.
Danielle Davis, K-12 principal, was also present at Wednesday’s meeting, and shared dates for the upcoming holiday functions within the district. The elementary Christmas program for grades first through fifth will be held Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. in the Junior High gym. The high school Christmas program will be held Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. in the Junior High gym, and the kindergarten Christmas program will be held Dec. 12 at 1:30 p.m. in the cafeteria.
Next, Athletic Director Gavin Spitler shared information about Red & White night, which is held in support of the student athletes. The event will take place Nov. 18 at 7 p.m., and dinner will be served beginning at 5 p.m. Adult meals are $7 and kids meals are $5.
In other news, the board approved the proposed resolution for the Gifted Policy, which is a set of guidelines detailing the district’s protocol for the assessment, screening, and identification of gifted students. This is done in accordance with the Ohio Operating Standards and Ohio Revised Code.
This protocol includes testing all students to evaluate for superior cognitive ability, specific academic ability, and creative thinking, with further screening provided for those who score within a certain range.
Students determined to be in the gifted range will then be offered services within the school, which provide accelerated learning environments throughout elementary, junior high and high school.
The board also voted to approve the hiring of hiring of Kyle Borchers as the junior varsity/assistant varsity basketball coach, and Neal Hans as the assistant basketball coach, both for the 2018 spring season. Amy Booher was also approved to serve as a substitute nurse.
Lastly, McBride said representatives from Energy Optimizers, a Miami County engineering consulting company, are expected to present to the board during its December meeting regarding retrofit opportunities that would save the district money on its energy bills. This includes switching the lighting systems in the school buildings from florescent to LED, which is more energy-efficient, and therefore cost-saving.