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Edison Adds Resource for Challenging Behaviors

Edison Local Schools will add an extra resource to address challenging behaviors when the new term begins for 2023-24.

    During the April 20 regular session at John Gregg Elementary School in Bergholz, the school board approved a one-year contract for Kelsey Vodvarka to serve as a registered behavior technician for the district. Vodvarka, a local native who is currently employed in North Carolina, will assume her new duties in mid-August.

   Superintendent Bill Beattie said her services will provide another means to help within the district amid issues arising from the COVID pandemic.

   “A registered behavior technician is an individual who can help with difficult classroom behaviors. She will document and observe and make recommendations for intervention, write intervention plans, and be a resource for students and staff,” Beattie said. “The pandemic has created a lot of issues, and one we’ve seen is an increase in challenging behaviors.”

   The district also contracts with Kendall Behavioral Solutions of Martins Ferry for board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA) services, but Vodvarka will be providing on-site support as an added measure.

   “It’s our hope that with more the challenging behaviors that we’re seeing nowadays, she will provide support and knowledge,” he said.

   Meanwhile, Beattie updated officials on the walking trail project that is close to completion at Edison High School. Fairfield Landscaping of Canonsburg, Pa., is handling the $430,000 project and costs are being defrayed through Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds. He said the outdoor benches were installed while exercise equipment will be added and construction for an observation deck will also begin soon.  The 1.5-mile path would be available for students and the public and the course will wind from the campus into the nearby woods. The path has the ability to reverse, so treks could span a total of 3.1 miles.  Beattie noted that the trail could be used for more than health purposes; other ideas are to utilize the area for science classes and other forms of outdoor education. In related project news, he said bids will be taken to add a continuous loop around John Gregg’s property. The site currently has a U-turn at the back of the building and officials said it would improve traffic flow and safety. Beattie hoped to have some numbers for the next board meeting.

   In other action, the board:

–Heard a presentation from fifth-and sixth-graders at John Gregg on the 21st Century Enrichment Program;

–Met members of John Gregg’s Destination Imagination team Us, which is going to the global finals in Kansas City, Mo., in May;

–Approved the hiring of certified substitute teachers Arianna Moudatsos, Mason Balzano, Lindsay Breon, Madalyn Kujawa and Rachel Shay and the employment of Matt Herrick as a substitute bus driver, Myles Drake as temporary custodian at EHS, Ellen Swickard as physical science teacher at Edison for the 2023-24 school year and John Polsinelli as EMIS coordinator, effective Aug. 1, 2023 to July 31, 2025. Leaders also approved resignations from bus driver Donna Roberts for retirement purposes as of June 1 as well as non-renewals of all supplemental contracts at the end of the 2022-23 school year;

–Donated a solar light to the Salem Township Trustees;

–Approved the treasurer’s report including a March cash summary of $14,313,415.74 and expenditures worth $2,397,107.77 and a $1,840 donation from Ron Smyth to the Lady Wildcat’s Basketball Scholarship Fund;

–Set the next regular meeting for May 18 at 5 p.m. at EHS. A time change was made due to baccalaureate activities.