Portsmouth City School District (PCSD) hosted their last education forum for the year, May 11.
Superintendent Scott Dutey opened the meeting with comments about a new Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS) program that the junior high school and high school will be implementing soon. The elementary school has already implemented these programs and the district hopes that they can expand the program into all three buildings to reinforce positive behaviors.
“Really this program is about being proactive instead of reactive,” explained Superintendent Scott Dutey. “It focuses on recognizing when students are doing things the right way and rewarding them in some way.”
Dutey says the staff will spend the 2017-18 school year training and identifying areas that they would like to improve.
Fire Chief Bill Raison spoke on the REACH Mission Work Camps that will be working in Portsmouth during the second week of June. REACH is a faith-based summer camp based in Colorado. Participants travel throughout the country repairing and renovating homes for low-income elderly or disabled citizens. Portsmouth schools agreed to operate as the base, allowing workers to camp out in their building for the duration of their stay.
According to Raison, the program was originally set to take place in Greenup. But the plans fell through with the lodging. Typically local schools host the workers, since groups can reach over 250 volunteers. Raison worked with the organization to try to find other means, but nothing panned out. The organization said if he could make arrangements for funding and lodging in Portsmouth, they would come to Ohio instead.
Raison worked with city council and Portsmouth schools to make arrangements. City council provided $7,500 toward the program. Work begins the second week of June.
Following Raison, high school art teacher April Deacon shared the progress on the district’s Human Rights Garden. The final touches on the garden have been completed and a dedication ceremony will take place May 18 at 1:30 on the Applegate Green.
Reports were also heard from East Portsmouth Elementary principal, Kristi Toppins and second-grade teacher, Debbi Montgomery. Both Toppins and Montgomery shared stories about the students and brought in examples of projects that they have worked on this year.
Portsmouth Elementary school also plans to host the Steven A. Hunter Walk-a-Thon this year. Last year marked the first year that the event was held. Over $5,000 was raised thanks to sponsor support and donations from the students and community. The funds were donated to the Steven A. Hunter Hope Fund, which provides weekend meal packs for students in need.
“It only costs $3 to provide a meal for a child, $120 feeds a child for a year,” said Amburgey. “That’s the cost of a bag of potato chips, that’s what it costs for one kid’s meal at Wendy’s or a smoothie from Dairy Queen. I found $3 in change in my bag this morning, that’s all it takes. We can’t change a child’s home life, we wish we could, but we can’t. We can, however, make sure that programs like these continue and we can support what they do for our children.”
The fund currently provides meals for 162 elementary students at Portsmouth and an additional 30 students at East Portsmouth Elementary. The walk-a-thon will take place next Wednesday and Thursday at the Hadsell track.
The education forums have come to a close for the 2016-17 school year. Announcements for future PCSD Education Forums will be made at a later date.
Reach Ciara Conley at 740-981-6977, Facebook “Ciara Conley - Daily Times,” and Twitter @PDT_Ciara.