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Superintendent's Message

August & September 2021 Superintendent's Message

Our staff looks forward to welcoming back all students and their families for the start of another school year with Open House on Tuesday, August 17 from 5:00-6:30 p.m. Our first day of classes for grades 1-12 will be Wednesday, August 18. Kindergarten students will have their first day of classes Monday, August 23 and Preschool will start Wednesday, August 25.
 
With the return of students, staff, and visitors into the building for another school year, and ongoing issues involving COVID-19, we encourage everyone to practice multiple layers of safeguards to protect themselves and others from the spread of the virus through the maintenance of social distancing, hand-washing, and use of hand sanitizers. Individuals who have not been vaccinated for COVID-19 are highly encouraged to wear a face covering.
 
In order to effectively carry out a successful school year with respect to health and wellness, we need parents to assist us with educating your child on the importance of maintaining safety routines and exhibiting healthy behaviors. School personnel will likewise continually emphasize and reinforce student responsibility for safe and healthy behaviors. School personnel will likewise continually emphasize and reinforce student responsibility for safe and healthy behaviors that protect them and those around them. School personnel will also clean, disinfect, and sanitize our school facility, playground, and buses on a routine basis. As of the timing of this newsletter, federal officials have stated that all individuals riding a school bus, must wear a mask. Parents are requested to stress to your child the importance of doing so. Thanks in advance for your assistance.
 
On the academic front, our staff will continue to receive professional development opportunities during this school year that increase their abilities and improve their skill set to provide instruction and engage student acquisition with respect to the state academic content standards. Furthermore, our educational partners at Discovery Education will continue to provide a systemic, comprehensive professional development program for our staff entitled STEMformation. Our partnership with Discovery Education will also include STEM CONNECT. STEM CONNECT provides every child with opportunities to access their greatest potential as it builds important connections that strengthens critical thinking skills, ignites exploration practices, and inspires life-long STEM habits. Support for our staff is necessary along with support for struggling students. While the majority of our elementary age students had a successful 2020-2021 school year, analysis of data indicate that a small percentage of our students struggled to make adequate academic progress. In an effort to provide additional support for our struggling elementary age student, our school district will offer an After School & Summer Program beginning in early September. Additional details will be shared with parents as we approach the start of the school year.
 
During the past several months, improvements to the school building and property have included the installation of new carpet in the A-Wing hallway, and entrances into the building. We have also completed repairs to our parking lots and asphalt playground area and refurbished both surfaces. We are also in the process of considering moving forward with the construction of the Innovation and Aquaponics Center. Following nearly three years of planning, bids for pricing were recently received and are currently being reviewed by the Board of Education for consideration of moving forward with plans to construct the center.
 
Parents are reminded that we will once again utilize the number tag system for elementary student pick-up in the large circle drive at dismissal time.  If you are unfamiliar with this system and need a number tag or forgot your family number, please call the Central Office at extension 2300 or the Elementary Office at extension 2200, or stop by the Central Office entrance during Open House and staff will be able to assist you.
 
Community members are encouraged to frequently visit our school website and view happenings taking place at our school, or better yet, download our new school app by going to the App or Play store, search “Antwerp schools” and install the free Antwerp Local Schools App.  The app has numerous features that will keep you updated on news, events, school delay and closings and more.  Also choose what notifications and alerts you want to receive through the MY ALERTS tile. 
 
Additionally, parents are reminded that the ONEVIEW parent portal is located in the PARENT RESOURCE tab and QUICK LINKS tab in the upper right-hand corner of the website. Parents may utilize the ONEVIEW parent portal to update student information such as change in address and/or contact numbers. The ONEVIEW Portal also serves as a location for parents to complete stu-dents forms (Emergency Medical Form, Transportation Form) that in past years, had been completed with paper forms. The ONEVIEW parent portal is also the location parents may visit to complete the registration process for new students to our district.
 
We have five new employees who will work with our students during the coming school year. Mrs. Kelli Bradbury will serve as an Intervention Specialist and work with our special needs students at the middle and high school level. Mrs. Bradbury is replacing Mr. T.J. Hammer, who has accepted a principal position with the Good Samaritan School in Defiance County.  Mrs. Melanie Verberkmoes will serve as an aide mainly assisting students with transportation to and from an autism center. Mrs. Susie Arnold will serve as an aide assisting special needs students. Mr. Dave Phillips will serve as a van/bus driver for children attending an autism center and complete a preschool route. Ms. Riley Balser will serve as our Teacher Assistant/Substitute Teacher in the elementary school. This position is funded through federal funds allocated to the Western Buckeye Educational Service Center as a means to address students who need intervention services. We are also in the process of hiring an individual for our Special Education and Preschool Director who will replace Mr. Josh Hoeppner.  Mr. Hoeppner has accepted an assistant elementary principal position with the Dekalb Eastern School District in Indiana.      
  
We have several employees who will serve in a different capacity this year in comparison to the previous school year.  Mrs. Mary Lillemon has moved from Kindergarten to a 2nd grade teaching position.  Mrs. Ashley Malfait has moved from 1st grade to a 4th grade teaching position.  Mrs. Brittni George will be on parental leave throughout most of the school year and have Ms. Lauren Volez serve in her role as a 1st grade teacher.  Mr. Jared Eklund has moved from 2nd grade to a 3rd grade teaching position.  Mrs. Sara Schaper has moved from 3rd grade to our Gifted Education teacher.
 
As our new school year begins, please remember that the most meaningful factor in assisting students to have a successful school experience is our ongoing partnerships with parents and guardians.  In order to help your child attain their goals, we need your involvement, whether through attending conferences, extra-curricular events, volunteering in your child’s school, or, perhaps most importantly, reinforcing the importance of education and on-time school attendance.
 
Through the range of experiences and emotions throughout a year, from celebrations to heartbreak, we should always remember that we are all stronger—and our students’ experience better—when we work together as a team, extended family and community. Remember to stay informed about your child’s school through our website: www.antwerpschools.org.  Enjoy the last few weeks of summer vacation and best wishes for a successful school year.

Sincerely,
Dr. Martin A. Miller, Superintendent 
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