Washington School Board Honors National Merit Scholarship Finalist, Approves New STEM Programs and Rural Transformation Zone Grant

Members of the Washington School Board honored WHS senior Ben Myers at Thursday’s board meeting. Myers, the son of Mike and Christine Myers, was recently named a National Merit Scholarship finalist. The board also hears a report on the recent robotics team season from WJHS robotics team members Grant Fry and Brooks Chestnut, as well as robotics team coach Tamara Delisle. The junior high robotics team was awarded the Motivate Award for their work on the engineering portfolio.
Nikki Sparks gave the board a report on the Washington Schools STEM technology programs across the district. Sparks reported that students in the elementary grades through high school are being taught programming and other STEM skills and coding using Sphero Robots, circuit machines, green screens, 3-D printers, glowforges, and robotic arms.
Asst. Superintendent Steve Peterson told the board that the Washington Schools have been named Indiana’s first Rural Transformation Zone. Washington will work in cohort with Western Wayne, West Del, and Equitable Education Solutions. The RTZ Grant will be aimed at students in grades 5 through 8. The program will focus on creating an equitable learning environment, an inclusive educational setting for students with special needs, literacy, mathematics, and giving students employable skills. The grant will allow the Washington schools to expand the model across the district over the next five years. Peterson said this correlates with the new standards being developed by the state department of education. Peterson said that Washington will be ahead of the curve in providing students with employable skills through their education in Washington schools.
In personnel matters, the board approved the hiring of Myriam Naranjo as a DLI Kindergarten teacher, Jessica Bissey, Chelsea Bice, and Olivia Stoll as aides, and Misty Walden as a part-time primary secretary. The board also approved several ECA appointments and approved the resignations of Alejandra Davila, Michel Bello, and Marla McCracken.
In other business, the board approved changes to the Hatchet Hollow project. The board learned that a large drain that was thought to cross the band practice area was an unnecessary old structure, which allowed a more cost-effective option. The board also voted to proceed with revised options for the entry gate and ticket booth. The next regular board meeting is scheduled for April 20.

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