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Fairland ready to go despite challenges

Fairland Middle School has the biggest challenge this year in the Fairland School District with redirecting volleyball games and physical education classes while a new roof is being installed on the gymnasium.

The school was hit by a strong summer storm in July tearing the roof off the gymnasium.

“The damage came when the roof blew off and the rain came into the gym under the floor,” said Mike Whitley, principal. “We’re probably a couple of months away from being able to use our gym. We’re probably going to start on the new roof after Labor Day.”

The volleyball games will be at the high school gymnasium and physical education will be at Fairland West until the damages are repaired.

“I’ll be happy to be able to use it again,” Whitley said.

This year two eighth-grade teachers, Vicki Ward, math teacher, and David Carroll, reading teacher, will pilot a new program called Success Maker for the school.

“It’s a computer-based program,” Whitley said. “The (teachers) had some training on the program over the summer. A lot of the information is based on the student’s level, and we’re going to use that as part of our intervention for at-risk students.”

The appeal to the program is that reading focuses on comprehension and vocabulary development.

The new traveling media specialist at the middle school is Angie Wireman, who will travel to Fairland East and West Elementary schools also.

“Our goals for the year are as they are every year, we focus a lot toward the achievement testing in the spring and we want to be as successful at that as we can be,” Whitley said.

The new teachers this year at Fairland High School are John McClung, business education teacher and junior high football coach; Leslie Kerns, mathematics; Evelyn Capper, librarian; and Patricia Burriss, family and consumer science.

“We have a great student body at FHS and the entire faculty is committed to our student success,” said Roni Hayes, principal at Fairland High School. “We strive to make improvements on a continual basis,”

Fairland East Elementary upgraded the reading base program with open court reading, a phonics-based reading series.

“We’ve used it for at least 20 years,” said Margaret Keeney, principal. “This is just the new series they have out that we’ve purchased for kindergarten and first grades. We have one pilot program in second and one in third.”

Also, the school is continuing the intervention program for children who need help.

A new program at the school is a behavior program using a team approach to promote positive behavior and build character in students.

“It’s to develop good behavior and good manners,” Keeney said.

The meaning of the word is announced each day on the intercom.

Each month teachers nominate one student in each classroom who has demonstrated good character related to the word of the month.

For instance, if the word is respect and one example of the word would be when a student is quiet when others are talking — that’s being respectful.

Then, the students that are nominated receive a special luncheon from various community restaurants like Stewart’s Hot Dogs. McDonald’s, Subway and Captain D’s.

Martha Wilkes, guidance counselor, has the lunch for them. Also, volunteers come to the school to help with the luncheon.

One new teacher and a traveling teacher music started at the school on Friday. Lisa Roberts is the new resource room teacher. Susan Dunfee, music teacher will travel between East and West Elementary schools.

“Our goal is actually help each child to meet their potential,” Keeney said. “I feel that our teachers have really put forth the effort to do that and we make a personal endeavor in our classrooms to do that — whether they be accelerated or need help.

Fairland West Elementary had a back-to-school night on Wednesday with standing room only.

“I think the whole community came out,” said Teresa Johnson, principal.

One new program the school has is parental access to students’ grades where the parents can go online to get grades and student progress.

“Our little league — I’m real proud of them,” she said. “They are working together to keep the buildings clean and taking their football shoes off before entering the building.”

The school also has purchased a new software program.

“We upgraded a program that addresses reading and math for K through 12 — a standards-based program,” Johnson said.

Two new teachers started this year including, Gail Phillips, fourth-grade education and Danielle Fuller, fifth-grade reading.

“And we’ve had an excellent first-day opening,” Johnson said. “Kids are all excited about coming back to school.”