PCA Board also approves funding part of school resource officer’s position in conjunction with Clayton Police

    Providence Creek Academy had fewer holes to fill in its staff this summer than in previous years, and a promising field of applicants to choose from – good news for the Clayton charter school’s board at the meeting August 19.
    “One parent member on our interview team said, ‘I can’t believe how strong most of the candidates were this year,’ said Groome Mears, PCA Director of Fine Arts and Human Resources. “This was the smallest number of new hires we ever had, and we were all very impressed with the candidates.”
    The Board of Directors unanimously approved the following appointments recommended by the personnel committee and the administrative team:
    • Kristin Brewer, kindergarten teacher;
    • Rachael Schluetter, 6th grade English and language arts teacher;
    • William Bullock, part-time custodian;
    • Brian Walley, middle school math specialist.
    Walley will replace math specialist Tami Greek, whose letter of resignation was accepted by the board before the appointments were approved. The board also approved a revised job description for the math specialist’s position.
    Coaching staff members appointed by the board August 19, as recommended by Athletic Director Michelle Grace, were:
    • Jamie Pinder, co-coach for football;
    • Mike Zulkowski, co-coach for football;
    • Eric Beach, volleyball coach;
    • Tammy Baker, cheerleading coach;
    • Tarah Curl, cross country coach.

Partial funding for police officer
    The board unanimously voted to pay one-fourth of the funding for school resource officer Tom Smythe, as requested by the Clayton Police Department in which Smythe is an officer.
    The amount will total $14,100, according to Board Member Gary Stulir, chairman of both the finance committee and the personnel committee. Previously, the school didn’t pay to fund any of the position.
    “The finance committee discussed this, and for the dollar amount they’re talking about for what we get in return, the committee members believed it was well worth it,” Stulir said.
    The personnel committee members also discussed funding for the school resource officer and were in favor of the plan, he said.
    PCA Managing Director Chuck Taylor said, “Officer Smythe has accomplished quite a bit with the GREAT program,” which focuses on resolving conflicts peacefully, preventing violence, and avoiding gangs.
    “Officer Smythe provides a valuable service,” Taylor said. “He spends a lot of time getting to know the kids, and we’ve had fewer discipline problems and fewer student hearings.”
Enrollment at about 680
    Principal Audrey Erschen said about 680 students were enrolled for the 2008-09 school year, a number that could fluctuate a bit when classes start.
    “We still have a strong waiting list, and by that I mean above 15 students in each grade,” said Erschen.

Strong summer school results,
improvements in teacher orientation
    Curriculum Director Andrea Spence reported all the students who attended summer school did very well.
    “Our summer school progress gets better and better every year,” said Spence.
    She also said for teacher orientation before the start of classes, administrators are holding more small-group training instead of one large meeting.
    “I think it’s been very effective in building collaborative teams,” said Spence. “It gives more of an opportunity for teachers to talk and ask questions.”
    It’s harder for us (the administrators) giving multiple meetings, but better for the teachers,” she said.

Summer programs a success
    Mears reported that the PCA Summer Fun Camp was “a tremendous success,” with more than 80 children attending altogether and an average of 45 campers per week.
    “That was about twice as many as last year,” said Mears.
    The camp was run by seven staff members, some full-time and some part-time.
    Meanwhile, the PCA Ballet Theater held “another successful summer program,” Mears said. “The students were able to continue their dance and ballet lessons and maintain their skills.”