By John R. Schirmer
The new principal at Nashville Elementary School is well known to students and teachers. Rick Rebsamen was named to the post Nov. 16 by the Nashville School board following a 35-minute executive session.
Rebsamen was the assistant principal at elementary and was moved to the principal’s position as the result of the death of Latito Williams last month.
He has worked in the Nashville School District since 2002, according to Superintendent Doug Graham.
“We’re proud of Mr. Rebsamen and this opportunity to serve as elementary principal,” Graham said.
Rebsamen has worked under four principals during his time in Nashville, including Tate Gordon at high school and Karen Williams, Paul Tollett and Williams at elementary.
“He’s paid his dues and has lots of good training,” Graham said. “We look for this move to keep everything going at elementary. It will be a very smooth transition. Mr. Rebsamen has a good school mind. He’s a good school guy and will do an outstanding job.”
The district has advertised the assistant principal’s position in-house; applications are due Dec. 6, Graham said.
The district also plans to hire a curriculum coordinator, according to Graham. The position will be filled after the assistant principal at elementary is named. Applications will be accepted from in and out of the Nashville district.
Board members considered a number of other items during their November meeting.
Graham gave an update on the possibility of hiring resource officers for the district. A survey is underway of security officers in other districts, including how many there are and how they are funded.
Another district asked for the survey. “We hope to have the survey results by the December meeting and see if we want to pursue it,” Graham said.
The district’s operating balance at the end of November was almost $4.3 million. “We transferred $1.6 million to the building fund last month for the new agri building and bus barn,” Graham said.
The district’s tax settlement from Howard County will be included in the December financial statement.
NHS English teacher Holly Couch and four of her juniors presented the board’s Scrapper Celebration, a feature at most meetings highlighting student achievement.
Couch and the students discussed the art unit which has been a tradition at NHS since 1983 when Jan Booker began the study.
“It’s grown every year,” Couch said. “It’s evolved as technology and research has evolved.
During the study, each student selects an artist and becomes “the expert” on that artist, Couch said. Students conduct research, prepare a formal class presentation and take two tests over the artists.
The unit “covers almost half of the state’s language arts standards,” according to Couch.
Students keep notebooks with handouts and notes from each presentation – a total of 53 artists for the two fall semester classes which are involved.
“This is art history in any freshman-level class in college. It’s very worthwhile,” Couch said.
At the end of the unit, students will take a general knowledge test over the artists. They will also take a flash test in which they identify 100 paintings shown on the classroom’s Smartboard.
“It’s hectic, fast paced, hard and demands a lot,” Couch said.
Four students briefly discussed their artists, including Eli Howard, Steyanna Bailey, Cecily Sweeden and Bailey DeWalt.
Couch said NHS is “known for tradition in a lot of areas, and academic excellence is one of those areas.”
First day resolution
The board approved a waiver request affecting the allowable first day of school in 2018. “A couple of co-ops received a waiver on the Aug. 20 first day next year,” Graham said. Nashville approved a similar waiver request.
If it’s approved, the district may start classes during the week of Aug. 13 instead of waiting until Aug. 20. “It’s an option to start earlier if we so choose,” Graham said. “It gives us more flexibility on starting.”
Graham updated the board on the renovation project underway at Wilson Park. “I sent out a request for quotes on 84 chairback seats from dugout to dugout. These would be chairbacks like those in the arena and at Scrapper Stadium. The company that responded said it would take 20 weeks to get them,” Graham said, placing the seats’ arrival after the conclusion of the baseball season.
“I have called a couple of other companies for prices and delivery dates. We’re still going to try to find them for the second week of February.” No action was taken on the seats.
Graham said he will ask for bids on an asphalt parking lot at the park, along with a split-face columns and wrought iron fencing at the entrance.
The board approved a “December bonus” for licensed and classified personnel and for bus drivers.
The original motion called for $700 for licensed personnel, $500 for classified and $200 for bus drivers. The proposal was approved on a 219-0 vote of the district staff, Graham said. It would cost about $172,510 including benefits.
“If, in May, we can afford it, I’ll recommend that we plug this into the salary schedule,” Graham said.
Board member Randy Elliott said he didn’t like “the difference between licensed and classified bonuses.”
Graham said he had no problem with making them the same amount, which would raise the district’s cost about $13,900.
The board first voted 4-1 on the $700, $500, $200 proposal, with Elliott casting the only “no” vote.
He then asked to add $200 to the classified amount, with the board voting 5-0 in favor.
Graham said parents had the opportunity last week to eat Thanksgiving lunch with their children at primary and elementary. “We served 600 at elementary and 807 at primary.”
The district is waiting on final drawings for the new agri building and bus barn.
Starting Dec. 4, “The Nashville School District will take advantage of the Universal Free program to provide all students a free breakfast. With 70 percent on free and reduced lunches, a lot of kids come to school hungry,” Graham said.
The Universal program will provide free breakfasts to more than 1,900 students.