Van Wert Middle School sixth grader Savannah Nygren and teacher Brandon Moody show board members her project from the first trimester of Genius Hour at Wednesday’s meeting of the Van Wert Board. The program focuses on project-based learning involving interests the students already have. (Times Bulletin/Ed Gebert)
Van Wert Middle School sixth grader Savannah Nygren and teacher Brandon Moody show board members her project from the first trimester of Genius Hour at Wednesday’s meeting of the Van Wert Board. The program focuses on project-based learning involving interests the students already have. (Times Bulletin/Ed Gebert)

VAN WERT - Two sixth-graders joined Van Wert Middle School teacher Brendon Moody to show school board members their projects from the first trimester of Genius Hour on Wednesday. Board members were attending the February meeting. Moody featured Genius Hour in the Educational Impact presentation with student projects including “upcycling” clothing, raising money for donated toys for a local hospital, and small flashlights powered by potatoes.

The project focuses on interests that students already have and project-based learning. Moody noted that he uses Thursdays for students to work on their Genius projects.

“The first trimester students share within the classroom and also have the opportunity to present within staff meetings as well,” explained Moody. “The second trimester, we broke into small groups and they were working on putting together a project proposal as a group. This will culminate in the third trimester when we’re going to undertake a whole class Genius project in some form of a service project.”

The rest of the meeting was taken by regular business items. Several minutes of discussion preceded the vote on approving new and revised board bylaws and policies, with the conclusion that the changes are the results of changes in the law which districts must comply with.



In the treasurer’s report, Mike Ruen noted that fourth quarter school district income tax for the calendar year 2013 was up approximately 11.5 percent, or more than $51,000. After three-fourths of tax from fiscal year 2014 has been collected, tax collection is up 13 percent from the previous year, or over $230,000.

The board acknowledged donations from Kaye Watson, Van Wert County Foundation, Ban Wert Rotary Foundation, Shelly Holding Company, The James T. and Betty Coffey Scholarship Fund, Federal-Mogul Corporation, Van Wert Federal Savings Bank, and Stoller Wealth Management.

A revised Memorandum of Understanding between the board and the City of Van Wert was approved. The change from the original memorandum was the added stipulation that Van Wert City Schools is to be responsible to clearing snow at the park at 305 Frothingham St. from sidewalks and for bus pickup.

The board also approved a Cougar’s Roar trip to attend a convention in New York City, a community reinvestment area agrrement, and the appointment of Sandy Honigford and Eva Yarger to the LifeLinks Community School Board for a three-year term beginning Aug. 10, 2013.

In personnel action, the following mentors for the 2013-14 were named: Ruth Ann Dowler, Nikki Adams, Sara Royer, Anita Zuber, Karla Butler, Sara Alvarez, Brendon Moody, Karen Emerine, Tiffany Werts, Jen Trittschuh, Nate Hoverman, Kelly Van Horn, Shelly Place, and Kyle Hammons.

A one-year leave of absence was granted to Erica Lofthouse for the next contract year. Bob Priest resigned as high school girls assistant track coach and was approved as high school boys assistant track coach. Matt Hernandez was approved as the high school boys head soccer coach. Brenda Smith moved from co-advisor to advisor of the Junior class. Brendon Moody was approved as volunteer indoor track coach.

Angela Myers and Anthony Springer were added to the certified substitute list and additions to the classified substitute list were Kirby Doidge and Sharon Gipe.

The next meet of the Van Wert City School Board of Education is scheduled for March 19, 2014 at 5 p.m. in the First Federal Lecture Hall of the Niswonger Performing Arts Center.