The Delaware City Schools Board of Education approved an alternative graduation date for Hayes High School during its meeting Monday, while also announcing the hiring of two new principals and approving several construction projects.
The meeting was held digitally to allow for social distancing and began with Superintendent Heidi Kegley reading brief statements from the unions working at the school district, who thanked the district for its leadership during the COVID-19 outbreak.
“We are beyond proud of how well the Delaware City Schools teachers have adapted to the distant learning model,” wrote the leaders of the Delaware City Teachers Association. “This pandemic took our model of teaching and flipped it upside down as teachers are making it work. Teachers in each building are doing amazing things to make distant learning feel like home, home being our buildings … They would also like to thank Heidi for their administrative team and for giving guidance, positive feedback, and having flexibility. We will all get through this time, and we believe we will grow as teachers from this experience. We are all #PacerStrong.”
The other two unions involved with the district — UE and OAPSE — also submitted statements thanking the district for continuing to pay staff and provide benefits.
The board then discussed graduation, which currently remains scheduled for the morning of May 23. The May graduation, however, may be canceled if Gov. Mike DeWine extends the state’s stay-at-home order into May.
Kegley said July 24 has been selected as a backup date in the event the May commencement is canceled.
“(The July 24 date) will allow us time to plan and prepare to ensure we are celebrating all the accomplishments of this year’s graduates,” Kegley said. “Again, it is our hope to have that in May, but we will be holding the weekend of July 24 as an alternative date.”
The board then approved the graduation of the class of 2020.
In other business, the BOE approved the resignations of Emily Thornlow, a second grade teacher at Schultz Elementary School; Amy Sheets, a School-Aged-Child-Care Program assistant at Carlisle; and Joshua Page, the principal at Conger Elementary School.
The board then approved the employments of Kerri Templeton, who will serve as the new principal at Conger, and Jacob LeGros, who will serve as the principal at Smith Elementary School. The board also approved the employment of Mandy Walters, a kindergarten teacher at Schultz.
Additionally, the board discussed and approved several construction projects.
First, the board approved a bid correction to the recently approved $12,494,700 contract with Adena Corporation for additions and renovations at Schultz, Carlisle, and Dempsey Middle School. The contract was increased by $400 and approved for the amount of $12,495,100. The funds for the project came from the 2019 bond issue passed by voters.
The board then approved three contracts with Tremco/WTI to replace or add roofing to several buildings in the district. The board approved a $448,676.57 contract to replace a section of roof at Carlise; a $351,000 contract to add roofing for the new addition at Carlisle; and a contract not to exceed $950,000 for roof construction at Dempsey Middle School.
The board also approved a $7,374 change order for the project to replace the chillers at Hayes High School and a $63,488 contract with Lepi Enterprises, Inc. to perform preconstruction asbestos abatement and removal at Hayes, Carlisle and the district’s technology center.
Kegley thanked the board for its support throughout the distant learning process and through the hiring process for the district’s two new principals. Kegley went on to say how much she appreciates the work staff and families have put into distance learning.
“I just wanted to extend my appreciation to our amazing staff, our amazing school community,” Kegley said “What we have done in Delaware is second to none. Our district stands above so many in what we are doing and how we are continuing to have a strong school community in a very different environment.”
Board President Matthew Weller agreed, stating he is proud of the work district staff has been doing.
“I’d love to echo those sentiments about the staff and certainly the food service workers,” Weller said. “To provide that volume of meals, I know they are probably used to doing it every day, but to provide it in this environment makes it that much more significant and impactful to those student who are still in need.”
Weller also thanked parents who have been helping their children with distance learning.
“I’d love to thank our parents as well,” he said. “I know trying to do at-home learning can be challenging, particularly for those elementary-age students. The parents have become the teacher in some respects, trying to keep those kids on task and keep them progressing along. Thanks to everybody for their continued efforts. Frankly, I wouldn’t expect anything less coming from this community.”
The board will next meet at 6 p.m. May 4. The meeting is currently scheduled to take place at Willis Education Center.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.