ARCANUM - Franklin Monroe schools are scheduled to begin the school year on Monday.
This year, community members can expect to see a satellite business academy program for high school students, a new baseball and softball complex by the start of the season, the development of a program intended to help in reading development for kindergarten through first grade students and various new staff members.
Jeff Patrick, superintendent of the school district, said the satellite business academy is in conjunction with the Miami Valley Career Technology Center, and is the first of its kind in Darke County. Students enrolled in the academy have the opportunity to earn up to 12 college credit hours at Sinclair Community College and Wright State University and fulfill their general education requirements for high school. Patrick said the program is designed for juniors and seniors, but will be a required for all incoming freshman to complete at least one of the classes in order to fulfill the keyboarding class requirement needed to graduate from Franklin-Monroe High School.
The school is also beginning constructing of a baseball and softball complex starting on Sept. 1. Construction will begin with work to the infield and outfields, with fencing going up this fall. Patrick said they are hoping to use the newly constructed complex by spring.
Franklin Monroe will spend a $250K on technological devices, such as laptops, equipped with programs to help kindergarten through first grade students in reading development. Franklin Monroe, Wright State University and PBS are currently partnering together to develop the programs, and Patrick said this will save the school district money in the long run by eliminating the need of aids later on. The school is able to develop these programs through the Straight A grant, totaling to 2.1 million dollars, and split between Franklin Monroe, Milton Union and Piqua school districts. This school year, the programs are being developed and piloted. However, Patrick is hoping for full implementation by the next school year.
The school is also introducing new staff members this school year, including Amanda Wackler, who will be teaching sixth grade, Clinton Sharp, who will be teaching fifth grade, Megan Campbell, who will be teaching junior high math, Rachael Rettich, who will be teaching high school English, Daryl Goodwin, who is the new Vo-Ag teacher, Sylvia Koeller, who is the new part-time reading group paraprofessional and Aaron Whittaker, who is the new second shift custodian.