The Marathon Central School District Board of Education (BOE) met recently to welcome new faculty, approve personnel, and hear about the district’s “Results First Plan.”
Marathon BOE’s next meeting will take place on Oct. 5, at the newly approved time of 7 p.m. in the school library.
Cookie Social for New Personnel
The BOE asked new staff members to attend last week’s meeting, and invited them to introduce themselves before breaking for a cookie social style meet-and-greet. The district welcomed several elementary teachers, teachers assistants, and aides, as well as three social workers, a special education teacher, and a speech pathologist. Also joining the ranks are a mechanic, bus driver, transportation assistant, two cafeteria workers, and teachers of physical education, english, earth science, and music.
Jamie Coppola, Marathon’s new junior-senior high school principal, will also assume the role of physical education director, and will report to the superintendent. Coppola, who officially started in August, was approved to be compensated for this role in addition to his salary as principal. He has held physical education teacher and director of health, physical education, and athletics positions in the past.
The district is not done hiring for the year, and hopes to entice more bus drivers with their vote to approve a paid position for bus driver trainees, allowing new drivers to be compensated for their training time.
The BOE then heard from interim superintendent William Locke regarding the district’s past results and future goals. Locke pointed out that while statewide data for the 2020-2021 school year was deemed “not representative of the state’s population and should not be compared with prior years’ results,” due to testing only 40% of students during the pandemic, Marathon was able to test and collect data from 89% of students.
Locke reported on the national trend of scores dropping in both reading and math, with both metrics seeing their sharpest dips in decades. This, his presentation reports, is a direct result of the impact the pandemic has had on students’ learning.
These results led to the district’s goals of seeing improvements of 5-10% in the rates of graduation, attendance, students passing all courses, improved performance in ELA and Math, and on state assessments and regents exams. In addition to academics and attendance, a focal area will continue to be students’ emotional and social development, so that students will learn to manage their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors as they grow.
The board accepted a donation from the Kiwanis Club of Cortland in the form of $500. The money will be used towards opening day shirts for students and staff of Appleby Elementary.
The BOE heard from principals Hillis and Coppola, who each reported that opening day at their respective buildings went smoothly, and that the usually hectic drop-off and pick-up routines had already improved by the next day.
The board also heard from superintendent Locke that the search for a school resource officer (SRO) is still in limbo due to ongoing staffing shortages at the Cortland County Sheriff’s office.
The BOE voted to move the start time of future board meetings to 7 p.m., rather than 6:30. The change will take effect immediately, with the next meeting on Oct. 5 beginning at the new time.