ENON – The Greenon Local School District dealt with a number of changes throughout the course of the 2014 – 2015 school year, including the consolidation of some of its facilities. This year, district leaders are looking forward to getting back to the basics.
“We will be able to focus on the teaching and learning aspect, as opposed to the mechanics of how we’re going to fit an extra grade level into this building,” Michael Tighe, fifth and sixth grade principal, said. “For me it’s been enjoyable because we’ve been able to focus on what we’re teaching and how we’re going to teach it as opposed to how we’re going to put a schedule together with an extra grade level or how we’re going to get all the materials from the elementary schools into this building and all the logistics.”
It consolidated its second through sixth grade building last year after one of its elementary schools closed when the 2013 – 2014 school year ended, which brings about room and signage changes as well as the adjustment to a new setting, and conjoined staff members from respective schools into one.
“Last year we had three different staffs come together in this building,” Michael Weaver, second through fourth grade principal, said. “So the first day we let out of school, we had 15 to 19 buses out there and everybody was trying to figure out where their bus was. There were some growing pains. This year, we’re able to really focus on more important things.”
Classes begin Wednesday for Greenon Junior and Senior High School, Indian Valley Intermediate School and Enon Primary School, and the principals are looking forward to beginning the school year. Teachers have been preparing for such since the summer months, and have been reminded of the better aspects of their jobs.
“It’s fun to see the kids, how much they’ve changed over the summer,” Tighe said. “See them come back and see how much they’ve grown and hear the stories of the places they’ve been over the summer. The biggest thing is the kids bring an energy to the building. You spend this part of the time going to meetings and you finally get to a point when you’re ready for the kids to come in and remind you of what really matters and what’s really important.”
In addition to the building adjustments, the district is welcoming Brad Silvus as its new superintendent. He has spent the summer months getting to know the district, and is feeling good about starting the school year. He has lived within the county for the past 22 years, and feels that he understands the expectations that have been handed to him. As far as pre-existing programs go, Silvus is looking to continue and refine.
“We want to get back to looking at instruction and really focus on student learning,” he said. “The district has had a lot of changes in the last few years, and even now, we have new administrators. We really want to get to know staff members, and really work to know that we’re meeting the needs of all students … I’m excited because this is a great community and a great staff and we want to focus on taking that next step.”
Greenon High School Principal Tim Hale is beginning his first year as principal. However, he is no stranger to Greenon, and has been involved with the district for more than 10 years. He spent the last two years as the assistant principal and a science teacher in the years prior.
He said the high school has expanded its STEM program, added new staff members and created portable classrooms. This year’s eighth graders, or next year’s freshman, will experience a change in the amount of credit hours that area required to graduate. Hale said the high school will spend time this year gearing up for that change; current high school students will not be impacted by the change in requirements.
“We’re focusing on getting our transitions in place and getting that started in the new year,” Hale said.
Darrin Knapke, Greenon Primary School principal, feels that the staff members have handled the consolidation process well. He said Greenon Primary School will continue to offer all-day kindergarten this year, and has additionally introduced staff members, including one new first grade and intense resource room (IRR) teacher, respectively.
“We want to challenge our students,” Silvus said. “We want them to be critical thinkers and be able to express their thoughts and sometimes that’s a hard thing for some students, but that’s where we will work with them and help them through those things. We’re going to expect a lot from them, but we’re going to work hard to make them successful.”
Whitney Vickers can be reached by calling her directly at 937-502-4532.