By Cecilia Fox
For Miami Valley Today
TIPP CITY — At their meeting Monday night, the Tipp City school board voted to begin a suicide prevention program and the high school and approved a change in position for assistant superintendent Galen Gingerich.
Gingerich will be returning to one of the district’s elementary schools, Nevin Coppock as principal. Gingerich previously served as principal at Broadway Elementary School for 18 years.
The board approved his resignation from his current role, his appointment to the principal position and his change in salary. Gingerich relinquished his assistant superintendent salary of $106,111, accepting a principal salary of $103,606.
Gingerich said he is excited to return to a role that allows him to regularly interact with the district’s younger students.
Board member Theresa Dunaway said there will be “a lot of happy little kids out there.”
“It’s going to be an exciting year,” Superintendent Gretta Kumpf said. She recommended the appointment to the board after receiving verbal and written interest in the position from Gingerich.
The board voted to partner with New Creations Counseling Center in Tipp City. New Creations will be the district’s preferred mental health agency for the 2019-2020 school year at a cost of $45,200.
The board also voted to begin a Hope Squad suicide prevention program at the high school next year.
“I think it’s very, very important and I also think that it’s like so many things when you’re working with students, if you can reach just one and make a difference, it’s worth it,” Kumpf said.
District guidance counselors presented the board with information about Hope Squad, a peer resource and support program aimed at reducing teen suicides that would partner with New Creations.
According to the counselors, each of the district’s three high school guidance counselors have worked with at least one student has attempted suicide or had suicidal thoughts this school year. One counselor reported six students currently on her caseload.
Dunaway expressed concerns about “psychological fatigue” for the students in the program.
Board member Corine Doll said the program only addresses the issue of suicide prevention, and she would like the district to do more to address other mental health and wellness concerns. Board member Joellen Heatherly noted that the district does have other mental health initiatives.
In other business, following the defeat of the district’s bond issue, Kumpf said members of the board and administration will meet with the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission on June 3.
Kumpf said the district will work to “get clarification” on aspects of the state’s requirements and the district’s facilities plan.