Norwood Elementary students pass third-grade guarantee

By Kevin Dye Contributing writer

June 10, 2014

Every third-grader at Norwood Elementary School in West Jefferson has met the state’s new, tougher requirements and will advance next year to fourth grade.

Each student successfully completed Ohio’s Third Grade Reading Guarantee, announced Norwood principal Sue Barte during the Jefferson Local School Board’s regular meeting Monday night.

“All of our third-graders met the Third Grade Reading Guarantee and will be moving on to the fourth grade,” Barte said. “We are continuing to supply tutors for those students who just barely made the cut to help them be ready for the fourth grade.”

The Ohio Third Grade Reading Guarantee program identifies students in kindergarten to third grade who are struggling in reading. Schools are required to implement programs and reading support to help those students improve their reading skills.

The state mandates students must meet a minimum score on the state reading test in order to advance to the fourth grade.

Norwood’s staff have put in countless hours and effort this school year to help the students improve their reading skills, said board President Dave Harper.

“There has been such a turnaround with Andrea Biescher (elementary curriculum) and yourself,” Harper said. “I know I have thanked and praised you and your staff several times. The success also lies with the third grade students who worked hard to achieve this goal.”

In other business, the board discussed the district’s five-year financial forecast. The success of the district’s levy in the May election made the future forecast much brighter, officials said.

“With the passage of the levy I think we’re healthy,” Superintendent William Mullett said. “We’re in pretty good shape.”

The board also approved a plan for the West Jeff Band Boosters to earn additional funds by cleaning the school buses. By a 4-1 vote, the board agreed to donate $1,000 to the group for completing the summer bus cleaning work. If the work is not up to the standards set by the district, the amount of donation will be lowered to $800.

Under the current contract with the district, bus drivers may voluntarily clean their buses, but are paid their hourly rate if they choose to do so. The district hired others to clean the buses not cleaned by the drivers. This year, the drivers decided as a group they did not want to clean the buses.

Several donations were also accepted by the board for the high school athletic department, including: $2,500 from Kristina Murphy and HER Realty for softball scoreboard sponsorship, $300 each from Bowman Trucking, Phillips Custom Building and Elford for softball fence and $3,161 from the West Jefferson Athletic Boosters for training equipment.

Norwood Elementary also received donations from Lifetouch for $435.67 and Kroger for $246.76.