Waterford staff starts school year

Tradition of celebrating Wolf Creek staff continues

Photo by Michael Kelly Wolf Creek Local Schools staff relax after a welcome-back breakfast served Monday morning by school board members at Waterford Elementary School. The tradition of starting the school with a hot breakfast prepared by the board dates back years.

WATERFORD – The staff of Wolf Creek Local Schools began the school year with some fortification courtesy of the board of education.

Board members – Jerry Barnett, Roger Doak, Hugh Arnold, Stephen Lang and Gerry Adams – prepared and dished up eggs, bacon, sausage, donuts, fruit and drinks for more than 100 staff Monday morning to mark the return of classes. Students will have their first day on Wednesday.

“It was delicious. The board is so giving and supportive. It’s a great way to start the year,” said school counselor Nan Varnadoe.

“It’s fantastic. They do good work here, and they don’t let us go away hungry,” said chemistry teacher Jason Zaros.

High school teacher Roger French, who’s been with the school system for 26 years, said he applauds the board’s efforts.

“It was fantastic, as usual. We appreciate the school board doing this. It’s a wonderful tradition,” he said.

For years, the board has prepared breakfast for staff as teachers, custodians, bus drivers and others launch the new school year.

“Everyone is real excited to get the year started,” board member Gerry Adams said afterward. “It actually went pretty smooth this year. Usually, they’re lined up waiting on us.”

The board met immediately after the breakfast was finished and staff headed off to prepare classrooms, do some final custodial and maintenance work and settle in.

The board approved the monthly treasurer’s report, additions to the substitute list, one last teaching contract and several supplemental contracts for teachers.

Superintendent Doug Baldwin said the district is fully staffed, although one elementary special education teacher wasn’t hired until last week. He said the district’s enrollment seems steady, but might be up slightly with several students having enrolled in the past week. The district normally enrolls just more than 600 students.

Baldwin said the district this year will benefit from an additional $35,000 from Gov. Mike DeWine’s initiative to fund wrap-around services for students and their families, a response to the social damage inflicted by the opioid crisis. The funding will be used, he said, to expand the services the district receives from Life and Purpose Services, however, Wolf Creek did not receive nearly the level of funding from the initiative conferred on surrounding districts.

“By comparison, we have very little free and reduced lunch students, it’s not very high at all,” Baldwin said. Poverty is one of the primary funding criteria under the governor’s initiative.

“Those services apply to everyone,” he said. “Drugs aren’t necessarily a poverty issue.”

The district, he said, is coming off a good year and hopes to increase its ratings under the state report card system.

“Out of 56 seniors, 38 of them went on to post-secondary, and they got $1.5 million in scholarships,” he said. “One hundred percent of our third graders were promoted to fourth grade.”

Baldwin said he’s developing a fact sheet for distribution to parents that will include the district’s academic information, along with some its financial data.

Michael Kelly can be contacted at mkelly@mariettatimes.com.

Wolf Creek Local Schools

• Enrollment: Approximately 600 students.

• Staff: About 125.

• Teachers: Approximately 43.

• Buildings: Two.

• Staff breakfast served Monday morning: Eggs, sausage, bacon, donuts, fruit, beverages.

• First day of class: Wednesday.

Source: Times research.