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HOMER-CENTER: School directors honor FCS, math teachers

by CHAUNCEY ROSS on April 19, 2013 10:50 AM

CENTER TOWNSHIP — The Homer-Center School District board of directors paid tribute to two teachers at the board’s monthly business meeting Thursday.

Directors and administrators saluted Trish Zimmer, who was honored as the Family and Consumer Science Teacher of the Year by the Pennsylvania Association of Family & Consumer Sciences.

Zimmer has been the FCS instructor for 32 years, dating to the years when the program was called home economics and most of the students enrolled were girls.

Now, Zimmer said, the course is co-ed with a balance of boys and girls, and is divided into five or six areas of specialization from textiles to food and nutrition.

The most popular is the child development class, Zimmer said.

“We are always changing,” Zimmer said. “We have as many boys, if not more, than girls.”

Zimmer said FCS classes are important because they touch students’ lives.

“What percentage of our kids will have children? Almost 95 percent, so that’s what we teach, child development and parenting,” Zimmer said. “What percentage of our kids will spend money? One hundred percent, so we teach consumerism. What percentage of our kids will eat? All of them, so we teach them how to cook well and how to eat nutritionally.”

Zimmer was nominated for the honor by high school Principal Jody Rainey, Sally McCombie of Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Sara Lonetti of the Indiana Area School District. Zimmer was required to write an essay for the judging, and will represent Pennsylvania in a national FCS Teacher of the Year contest in the summer.

The Homer-Center board also accepted with regret the retirement notice from high school math teacher Anita Smith, effective at the end of the school year.

Smith has taught 38 years, including 29 in the Homer-Center School District.

Fellow teachers among the spectators at the board meeting raised a sign, made to look like a classroom blackboard, with a message that Smith would be missed after her retirement.

“You have left your mark on many students. Enjoy your retirement, you should be very proud of your work,” director James McLoughlin told Smith as the board members offered a round of thanks.

In other business, the board:

Retained Pittsburgh area attorney Daniel Cooper as district solicitor for 2013-14 at a fee of $80 an hour.

Approved the district’s share of $305,441 toward the 2013-14 budget of Indiana County Technology Center. The tech center’s total budget is $5.5 million and member districts’ shares total $2.8 million, a decrease of about 1 percent from 2012-13.

Approved payment of daily tuition of $165 for a student attending the New Story program. Formerly called Milestones, the New Story program is a private school and service designed to help children with serious and complex behavioral and educational challenges.

Accepted the district’s 2011-12 audit report, which included some findings described by board President Vicki Smith as “not major,” and which are being addressed by the business office, she said.

Awarded a contract to Waste Management of Pennsylvania for trash collection and recycling services at the schools in the amounts of $25,740.17 for 2013-14, $26,512.38 for 2014-15 and $27,307.75 for 2015-16.

Authorized the administration to invest in certificates of deposit for one-year terms in varying amounts at S&T Bank, First Commonwealth Bank and the Pennsylvania Local Government Investment Trust.

Renewed various insurance policies with Ohio Casualty-Liberty Mutual at an annual premium of $50,258.

Approved a technology systems maintenance service agreement with Weidenhammer Systems Corp. for an annual fee of $10,184. The company maintains Homer-Center’s financial accounting and human resources systems, state reporting program and other applications.

Approved Erin Mitchell as a substitute teacher and Alex Gett as a volunteer baseball coach.

Authorized five student field trip requests but declined to act on a request by the Homer-Center softball team to travel to Orlando, Fla., from March 13 to 17, 2014, at no cost to the district. The motion died for lack of a second.

“I would say that had it not been outside of the rotation, it would have been approved because the students are paying for it themselves,” Smith said. “But we set the rotation to keep the kids in school. We have so few days, with testing and everything that goes on, to educate our kids and we feel they need to be in school as many days as possible.”

The five-day trip would have included three class days.

Approved one faculty and staff travel request and one request for use of the high school gym, both retroactively.

Authorized the use of an electronic signature by District Superintendent Charles Koren on documents with the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

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