Jasper Middle School Spell Bowl team recognized at monthly school board meeting

The Jasper Middle School Spell Bowl Team took home 4th place in a state competition earlier this month.

Team members were recognized for their hard work and dedication during Monday night’s monthly school board meeting.

The competition is typically held in person. But because of the pandemic, this year’s event was held virtually.

Jasper Middle School Vice Principal, Phil Tolbert, and Music Teacher, Courtney Heberer, then began talking to the board about how the middle school students are handling the pandemic.

Although a few kids have missed school here and there, Tolbert and Heberer say the attendance rate continues to stay around 90%.

The principal and music teacher also say they are implementing new procedures to keep students accountable.

When a student receives a certain number of consequences (these can be caused by missing assignments or misbehaving), they are given an occurrences sheet. After this, teachers receive an email to determine who feels the most comfortable talking to students about the issue and intervene. Since starting the procedure, the school has seen a lower attendance in Saturday school and fewer students are missing assignments.

Tolbert and Heberer then recognized two clubs that may not be as well known outside of the Jasper Middle School.

Save the Sea Turtles Club helps raises awareness about the dangers of pollution around the school, and how the importance of recycling and reducing waste. Club members work on creating educational posters, displays, and videos for the school to share. They also manage the school’s recycling programs. One of their big projects this month was collecting bottle caps. After weeks of collecting the drink tops, they were finally able to get enough to make a bench! Once it’s built, it will be housed at the Jasper Middle School.

The next club recognized by the school board was the Makerspace. The S.T.E.A.M club meets during homeroom and explores hands-on projects including Ozobots, Make-Makey, Keva Planks, and much more. To learn more about these clubs, visit jms.gjcs.k12.in.us.

Next on the agenda was the bus and transportation update.

Director of Transportation and Student Services, Glenn Buechlein, says the school corporation is getting ready to start a new program.

Buechlein and School Resource Officer, Jason Kneis, hope to start the program in January.

The program is a partnership between Jasper Police, Indiana State Police, Dubois County Sheriff’s Office, and the school. Buechlein says the program’s focuses on helping kids involved in traumatic events.

Officer Kneis says what takes place outside of school is typically brought into the school the next day.

Here’s how it works:

-the SRO officers will spend 20 to 30 seconds filling out a form in their car- they will only know the student’s name and date of birth and send it via email to school administrators

-from here, administrators will let the student’s teacher know. So if a student doesn’t finish their homework or seems tired because of the traumatic situation that took place, teachers will be able to be supportive and cut them some slack

After this, Buechlein updated school board members on school buses.

Buechlein says that they have had 19 stop-arm violations so far this year. This up slightly from 13 violations recorded by this time last year.

Stenftenagel Group Clerk of the Works Owner, Scott Stenftenagel, provided a building and maintenance update towards the end of the meeting.

Stenftenagel says that the demolition of the Tenth Street Elementary School building is right on schedule. They hope to have the building demolished and a completed parking lot by Fall 2021.

He also says that the Fifth Street Elementary School demolition is going according to schedule.

Stenftenagel says they are continuing to talk with SWICACC about keeping the newer 1988 portion of the facility and demolishing the original 1956 side of the building.

The Steftenagel Group is working with the City of Jasper to create a plan to terminate the existing electrical service, existing wet pipe sprinkler systems, fire alarms etc. so they can continue with the demolition as scheduled.

Stenftenagel says that School Board Attorney, Arthur Nordhoff, is developing contractual language for the proposed agreement with SWICACC and the Greater Jasper Consolidated Schools Corporation.

School Board Member, Brad Eckerle, has also been looking over and verifying property lines to help Nordhoff with establishing the language for the deed description between the two entities.

The last Greater Jasper Consolidated School Board meeting of the year is scheduled for Monday, December 21st at 1 pm in the Jasper High School Community Room.

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