Trenton school administrators present program at Rotary Club meeting

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Trenton R-9 administrators presented the program at the Thursday, May 30 meeting of the Trenton Rotary Club, held at the BTC Bank community room. Diane Lowrey presided at the meeting, Dan Wilford gave the prayer, and Steve Taylor was the sergeant-at-arms.

Program Chairman Daniel Gott introduced Director of Education Dr. Johanna Baugher, THS Principal Chris Hodge, and THS Assistant Principal/Activities Director John Cowling, who discussed the recently completed school year and expectations for the 2024-25 school year.

Dr. Baugher works with teaching staff in three areas: districtwide curriculum, mentoring, and professional development. She said this year was spent working on a literacy cohort in grades pre-kindergarten through four to help with reading improvement, which will be instituted at those grade levels in 2024-25. A fourth-year was added to the district’s mentoring program, allowing new educators more time to improve their teaching skills with the help of experienced staff. Several days of professional development for teachers have been built into the school year, beginning with staff orientation/in-service on Aug. 14-19, before the start of classes on Aug. 20. Dr. Baugher also announced that she is adding the title of Early Childhood Education Director, working with the three- and four-year-old preschool programs as well as Parents as Teachers.

Hodge reviewed the successes of students during the past year, noting efforts to assist students in deciding a career path by attending college and job fairs. Students also earned community service hours by working at the Community Food Pantry. He highlighted honors garnered by various organizations, including three students displaying art at the Kemper-Albrecht Art Gallery in St. Joseph, six students competing in state FBLA competitions, the FFA chapter earning recognition as the fourth-best chapter in the state, Spanish Club members earning honors at a film competition, the FCCLA chapter participating in national contests, and several athletes receiving all-conference, all-district, and all-state recognition. He encouraged club members to attend events offered by the high school band, vocal music, and theater programs. He noted that classroom instruction will be a primary focus next year.

Cowling noted that most sports programs saw significant success this year, highlighting the football team’s 9-2 record, including a district playoff win. Both the girl’s and boy’s tennis teams had individual district champions, and both the girls’ and boys’ golf teams sent individuals to the state tournament. The volleyball team tied the record for the most wins in a season (12), the girl’s basketball team won a district championship, and the boy’s basketball team improved its record to 9-14, up from 1-23 two years ago. The boy’s wrestling team had two state medalists, and the girl’s wrestling team had a state qualifier. The baseball team won 12 games this year, setting a record, and was one game away from playing for a district championship. The girl’s track team qualified its 4×800 relay team for sectionals, and while the boy’s team did not qualify for sectionals, it showed much improvement throughout the season. THS had 355 students participating in all activities this year. Cowling said Trenton will host the Grand River Conference wrestling tournament in January and the all-conference band/choir performances.

Gott, who is superintendent of schools, reported that roof work will begin shortly at the high school, middle school, and elementary school, along with the installation of 20 new HVAC units and a new thermometer system at the high school/middle school complex. A new districtwide telephone system will also be installed. Much of the funding for these projects is coming from the district’s “no tax increase” bond approved by voters this past April.

During the business meeting, members were reminded the club will be putting up and taking down the U.S. flags at the courthouse on Flag Day, June 14. Members are to meet at 6:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., respectively.

The program on June 6 will be presented by Kristi Faulkner and her team of health navigators, who will share the role of a health navigator and how they can assist people in the community in gaining access to Medicaid. Steve Taylor and Brian Upton are the program chairmen for June.

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