With almost a month of experience already notched at the South Callaway School District, new teachers and staff on Wednesday were introduced to the Board of Education.
Among those introduced was Deputy Josh Anderson, South Callaway's new school resource officer. As an SRO, Anderson is expected to provide security for the district and interact with teachers and students.
Anderson said the SRO program is relatively new, and he's working on the policies to see how the position will function. He will also be attending DARE school to learn how to use the program to teach drug prevention.
"I project, hopefully, by next year, we'll have everything good, solid and be rocking and rolling without any issues," Anderson said.
In March, South Callaway became the first district approved for an SRO by Callaway County. The New Bloomfield School District has followed suit by adding an SRO and North Callaway is close to bringing one on as well. Anderson said he has been working with the SRO in New Bloomfield and the likely candidate for North Callaway to have the three districts on the same page for the program.
Heather Helsel, South Callaway High School principal, said Anderson has already shown value in being another set of eyes around the school.
"I think it's already raised our students' accountability," Helsel said. "They're understanding what they need to be responsible for and how they need to act."
South Callaway also added a school-based social worker, Jeanine Taylor, to provide students and families with counseling and other resources.
"(Taylor) has been in here and has got a regular schedule going as of the first full week of school," Helsel said. "Kids from last year, I think, look forward to that, and it has been a really good transition at the beginning of the year to encourage them and talk to parents about issues that are going on and getting them set up with that."
Other staff new to South Callaway include Michelle Dooley, sixth- and seventh-grade science; Douglas Gilliam, high school science; Jasmae Hardwick, middle school guidance counselor; Dustijn Hollon, band and chorus; Kristin Kraft, special education; Kendra Logue, sixth-grade English; Kim Morrison, high school science; Seth Thomas, sixth- to eighth-grade health and physical education; Megan Wieberg, special education; and Stephen Wisch, high school English.
The district also brought in five bus aides, a bus driver, cook and mechanic as well as and three paraprofessionals.
Also during the meeting, Superintendent Kevin Hillman informed the board on the district's efforts to update its playground. Equipment will be replaced, but work on the surface transitioning from the rest of the district's ground onto the playground also needs to be improved.
Hillman said the board will likely be able to condiser bids next month. The cost will be high, Hillman added, but improvements should last the district for at least 10 years.