By Pat Maurer
A new program just for Dads at Clare Primary School has been recognized for excellence by the Michigan Association of Administrators.
Doni Pummell, Superintendent; Clare Primary Principal Mandy Bolen; Primary Teachers Amanda Emeott and Matt Alexander; Responsible Thinking Director Jeremey Bear; Social Worker Sean Theisen; and parent Shawn Abraham and Tim Gallagher were all inducted into the MASA “Winner’s Circle” January 23.
They were also honored at the Clare Board of Education meeting Monday evening for their work on the “WatchDOGS Program.” Emeott gave a brief presentation on the program, which she called a huge success.
DOGS is an acronym for “Dads of Great Kids.” It is a program run by and for dads, who are taking a more active role in the school lives of their children. Teachers from a leadership team partnered with “Dad” leaders to implement the program, a volunteer effort to “celebrate and encourage male role models.”
Since it began in October, the program has trained and involved over 150 “Dads,” which means dads, grandpas, uncles and even older big brothers. The Dads are trained then can spend a day at the school volunteering. They work in four or five classrooms and stay for the whole day participating in classes, at recess and at lunch, Emeott said.
Positive connections, good choices and a positive impact on learning are the program’s goals. “We were only expecting 50 or 60 “Dads” to participate,” Emeott said. “It’s amazing that we had over 150 volunteers.”
About 25 percent of the volunteer dads have spent a whole day working in the school so far. “When a student hears that his or her “Dad” is the WatchDOG for the day, his or her face just lights up,” Emeott said. She said more dads are joining the team daily.
“Clare is an amazing community,” said Pummell. She said the program has been a great addition at the school.
The WatchDOGS program was just one of several presentations and recognitions at Monday’s school board meeting.
John Punches, President of the Brookwood 2.0 Committee outlined all of the improvements made at Brookwood Athletic Field since last spring.
Some of the accomplishments there, besides the all-new turf field, included improved drainage, new visitor’s bleachers, a new area for the shot put, new fencing, new signs, a new sound system, new lighting and a new security system. In January, the committee also provided a new sound system for the high school gymnasium. He said they have raised another $30,000, which together with funds left from this year’s work and another $62,500 committed, will give them a total of $122,000 for projects this coming summer.
He said some of those projects planned are a score board for the turf field, baseball scoreboard, softball scoreboard, more visitors’ bleachers and a donor tribute statue. “That will leave us about $13,000, possibly for baseball dugouts.”
Superintendent Pummell lauded Transportation Director Jim Parsons for the Certificate of Excellence presented by the Michigan State Police after the annual bus inspection. Parsons said they inspect the busses regularly to ensure they are safe for the students and to be ready for the inspection.
Former board members Dave Maxwell and Dick Shively were also recognized for their service on the Board of Education. Both have resigned from the board. Board President Tom Weaver said, “It has been a real honor to serve with them. They have both been a pleasure to work with.”
Recognition for the building principals as part of Principal Recognition Week was tabled, since many of the administrators could not be at the meeting due to other commitments and the weather.
Although he couldn’t be at the meeting, Steve Laverty, named High School Football Association’s Assistant Coach of The Year, was also honored at the meeting.
Business Manager Lynn Graham also presented and explained budget amendments for this year. Both revenues and expenditures are up slightly over the original budget. “Overall,” she said, “the amendments only reflect a $31,316 change in the budget totals approved last June for this year.” The fund balance at the beginning of the year was $1,249,581. The projected fund balance at the end of the year is $928,722.
Finally, Band Boosters President Melissa DeRoche noted dates for the high school and middle school band concerts and announced that the sixth annual band fundraiser “Notes of New Orleans” will be held April 11 from 7 to 9 p.m. with dinner, music by the Jazz Band, drawings and a silent auction. Tickets are available at the high school office or at clarebands.org.
Action items at the meeting Monday included:
*Approval of the budget amendments.
*Approval of Amanda Emeott (currently a fourth grade teacher) as the new Clare Pioneer Alternative High School Director and District Information System Specialist for the 2014-15 school year. She will begin her new duties July 1.