By Ely Schosek

Student Reporter

The Springville-Griffith Institute Board of Education met for a monthly meeting last Tuesday, Nov. 12.

A few weeks ago, the Springville FFA (Future Farmers of America) traveled to Indianapolis, Ind., for the 93rd National FFA Convention. The school board invited these students to discuss their trip and experiences with the board.

High School Principal James Bialasik congratulated SGI’s Agriculture and FFA Advisor, Mrs. Tanya Nickerson, on the “phenomenal job” she has done in the past few months and the “huge strides” she has made.

“I can’t say enough about the six kids I took to national conventions this year and having the support of the school is really phenomenal,” Nickerson said.

Four of the six students competed at the national level and the other two students served as scouts to see what they may be interested in for the future.

On their way to Indianapolis, the group made a few stops. One of which being Franklinton Farms in Columbus, Ohio, where they learned about farming in urban areas. The group also visited botanical gardens and an Air Force museum.

At the convention, these students got a chance to meet other FFA members from across the United States and to meet with college representatives from out of state. While there, the group also attended a rodeo and a Brett Young concert

In August, a few of the students competed at a dairy foods contest at the NYS Fair where they earned first place and then began preparing for nationals. Their preparation included complex math problems in the dairy industry and “consuming way too many dairy products.”

At Nationals, the group placed 13th out of students from 40 states which was a silver placing. In addition, all students placed silver individually. During the awards banquet, they sat with kids from Nevada and thought it was interesting to hear from them and see how different their backgrounds were

The group thanked Nickerson, Upstate for their resources to practice, their FFA chapter for all their support, the Board of Education for allowing FFA to grow and expand past Springville, and Bialasik for having faith in the agriculture program.

FOLLOWING THIS public presentation, Superintendent Kimberly Mortiz gave her report and discussed the configuration of speech teachers in the district. Moritz noted that SGI is in need of another speech teacher.

“We are hopeful that the addition of another speech teacher could further our students,” she said. For instance, there are students that could benefit from speech therapy when they’re younger but didn’t qualify because it wasn’t impeding their learning. The addition of another teacher could help to narrow that gap.

Mortiz also discussed the addition of another groundskeeper. SGI currently has two, each of whom is receiving a lot of overtime pay which indicated the need for another groundskeeper.

Principals in the district have recently asked for school psychologists to be freed up from administrative duties and given more time to work directly with students. Additional clerical support would be able to handle those duties.

As the board has been discussing, they have added a new assistant principal who would be split between Springville Elementary and Middle School. The position is being filled by Cindy Gow, a current SGI staff member.

Springville Elementary Principal Chris Scarpine gave his administrative report which included topics like school lunches, Veteran’s Day assembly and comfort dogs.

Scarpine has noticed more kids buying lunch and, in turn, there are longer lunch lines which is something they will have to adjust to but is overall a good thing. The Veterans Day assembly included the attendance of 60 local veterans. Because of the fact that SGI is a close community, the majority of the veterans in attendance were related to the children.

A few of SGI’s administrators have been looking into a comfort dog because what person doesn’t want to smile when they see a dog or a puppy?

“Imagine if this dog was part of our community, part of our building and just wandered about during the day and everyone gets to pat him on the head or just say hi,” Scarpine said.

These comfort dogs have to go through extensive training. There is one already in the district and another undergoing the certification process who they would love to have him in the school once he passes the certification.

The Board of Education will next meet Dec. 10 with a tour of the P-TECH building commencing at 5:45 p.m.