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Photo by Crystal Hayduk. (left to right) Chelsea High School Principal Mike Kapolka and senior Lee Argir, National Merit Scholarship finalist.

By Crystal Hayduk

High School Principal Mike Kapolka introduced senior Lee Argir to the Chelsea School District (CSD) Board of Education at their meeting on March 27. Argir has the honor of being a National Merit Finalist.

Kapolka said that out of 1.6 million students who apply for the National Merit Scholarship Program, 16,000 earn semi-finalist status. Argir recently moved to the finalist category.

Kapolka described Argir as a “triple threat,” who is talented academically, is a varsity member of the tennis and swim teams, and is an accomplished violinist, serving the orchestra as concertmaster.

The school board approved the hiring of Timothy Courtright as director of operations. Superintendent Julie Helber said that Courtright was chosen from a pool of 15 qualified applicants, following a rigorous interview process that included asking the candidates to perform a campus assessment and a 30-day plan of action.

Senior Collin Babycz, who is interested in a career as a physician assistant, presented information about his mentorship with Dr. William Lee, an orthopedic surgeon. Babycz said he learned about a variety of types of patients and plans of care, x-rays, and alternatives to surgery. He plans to attend Colorado State University in the fall. He thanked teacher Duane Moss for guiding him through the mentorship experience.

A team of teachers from North Creek Elementary School joined Principal Luman Strong and Scott Wooster, director of technology, to discuss the use of technology as an adjunct for educating students in kindergarten through second grade. As part of the five-year cycle of technology replacement, to be paid for with technology bond funds, the team has evaluated the students’ needs through 2022, when the next cycle will be complete. “We are not simply buying new devices, but enhancing instruction,” said Strong.

Photo by Crystal Hayduk. (left to right) CHS teacher Duane Moss and mentorship student Collin Babycz.

Board member Greg Rhodes asked the teachers whether students are still taught penmanship. Teacher Jill Mann said that “… students still do plenty of writing,” and that devices are used independently for short periods of time. “They are not a replacement for fine motor skills,” she said.

Board President Anne Mann addressed the audience at the scheduled time for public input. She corrected the inadvertent use of the word “private” in regard to school board meetings made on March 13.

Mann read from the public welcome sheet that is available at board meetings. “Meetings held by the Board of Education are for the purpose of conducting school business. A Board of Education meeting is not a ‘public meeting.’ It is a ‘meeting held in public.’ The difference between these two types of meetings is that a public meeting is usually designed for the free flow of information among all in attendance, whereas a meeting held in public is for observation and ‘Public Input’ at specific times on the agenda.” (Open Meetings Act can be found here: http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(fqy0a20rkkb2t21hj5zsa4wj))/mileg.aspx?page=getObject&objectName=mcl-Act-267-of-1976

Helber and the board discussed a letter they received from Susanne Vanden Bosch requesting that board meetings be videotaped. Rhodes said that the subject warranted further consideration. Helber said she will research options that would maximize the number of people in the district who would be able to view a video, because the Chelsea cable channel is only accessible to residents within the city limits.  

In other board news:

  • With a vote of six to zero due to the absence of Dana Durst, the board approved a bid for site work at North Creek Elementary School for $55,810 from Quality Asphalt. Work is expected to begin when school ends for summer break and should improve traffic flow.
  • The reproductive health committee is recommending changes to the eighth-grade curriculum about sexually transmitted infections. Public meetings to share proposed changes will be held at 7 p.m. on March 30 and 5 p.m. on April 17. Both meetings will take place in the superintendent’s conference room at 500 Washington Street.
  • The board commended retired athletic director Wayne Welton for winning the Jack Johnson Distinguished Service Award for outstanding service in youth athletics. (Related story here: http://chelseaupdate.com/wayne-welton-honored-michigan-athletic-directors/.)
  • The board also commended the boys’ swim team for finishing fourth in the state and the medley relay team for a state championship.

Upcoming dates:

  • There will be no school for spring break from Monday, April 3 through Friday, April 7.
  • There will be no school on Friday, April 14.
  • The next school board meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. on April 17 in the board room at the Washington Street Education Center.
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