Dear New Richmond Schools Families,
Since the March of 2020, we’ve all been through a lot. As we all strive to maintain a sense of normalcy, the New Richmond Exempted Village School District has also made great strides in efforts to grow supports for students and strengthen our academic programs. Because all of our lives have been extraordinarily busy this past year-and-a-half, I wanted to share a few highlights.
In 2019, Ohio freed up funding to address student mental health and wellness needs throughout the state. The New Richmond Board of Education moved quickly to secure some of these funds for the district in order to hire a safe and drug-free schools coordinator and two crisis intervention counselors to address the social/emotional health of our students.
Since those initial hires, subsequent funding has enabled the district to further expand staffing in this area. As of September of 2021, our team of specialists includes - Bethany Puliafico, MS, LPC, the District Drug and Alcohol Counselor serving the middle and high schools as a Mental Health Therapist; Jill Light, middle school Crisis Counselor; Sue Hill, middle school Medicaid counselor; Susan Gurski, MSW, LISW-S, Locust Corner Crisis Counselor; Kathy Jakucki, MA, LPCC, Monroe Elementary School Crisis Counselor; Anedra Shafer, middle school and high school Child Focus case manager; Jenna Chatfield, Monroe and Locust Corner Child Focus Case Manager; and a yet to be named Prevention and Intervention Coordinator through the YWCA.
The value added to the district by this team of specialists is immeasurable. Now, when students are in need of social-emotional supports, teachers and other staff members can confidently refer students to any of these individuals.
Early in 2022, we hope to improve access to these supports even more by expanding the office space for the New Richmond High School counseling/guidance team. The current configuration is limiting for students and staff and makes confidentiality next to impossible. The new office space will be created from vacant classrooms located to the right-hand side as guests enter the high school. The project will also include a safety feature for the high school, a double entrance (a feature we’re working to add to our other schools as well once additional funds are secured).
The project’s cost is 100 percent covered by Wellness Funds provided by the state.
In the fall of the 2020-2021 school year, the NREVSD took another decisive step in addressing the safety and well-being of all students with the introduction of the Stay Safe/Speak Up! student safety reporting system.
Through this system, students, parents, and other individuals can easily and anonymously report tips on bullying, harassment, drugs, weapons, thoughts of suicide, or any other concern which may jeopardize the safety of students, employees, guests, or school property.
Every report received is immediately logged into our system and our administration is notified so that they can investigate and take appropriate action.
Prior to the introduction of Stay Safe/Speak Up!, the district had one reported bullying incident. In the year since the introduction of the new reporting system, the district’s number of reported bullying incidents increased to 17. We don’t think this is a sign of increased bullying, but rather students and parents now have a safe and convenient way to make such reports.
Efforts to strengthen academics and support student progress have experienced explosive growth over the past two years. For example, in January of 2020, a team of teachers met for the first time to begin the process of creating revised graded courses of study across the board for all NREVSD schools. An essential part of the curriculum writing process focused on identifying what and when teachers are to teach and students are to learn. The courses of study resulting from the work were adopted by the Board of Education in the summer of 2020.
Then in June 2021, the Board appointed Dr. Jill R. Hollandsworth as the district’s new Director of Curriculum and Technology.
This is a new position for New Richmond Schools. It replaces the previously existing position of Technology Director. The change reflects a restructuring of the district’s administrative team that is designed to improve instruction and learning while still addressing technology needs.
Dr. Hollandsworth came to New Richmond Schools from the Milford Exempted Village School District where her duties included leading curriculum revisions and professional development, supervising the English Learners and gifted programs, managing some intervention programs, and managing federal grants.
She’s a tremendous addition to our team. Dr. Hollandsworth has great expertise in curriculum, instruction, and assessment, all areas we continue to work on.
As always, thank you for your time and ongoing support of New Richmond Schools.