New after-school program — ‘Bridges’ to begin in January

By Melanie Speicher -

SIDNEY — Building “Bridges” between students, parents and school.

That’s the goal of a new after-school program — Bridges — being organized for students throughout the county.

“We want to build communication between the parents and their children and the schools,” said Clayton Westerbeck, Sidney Alternative School (SAS) principal. Westerbeck discussed the program and SAS during Monday night’s Sidney City Schools Board of Education meeting.

“The program will be open to any kid in the county in grades seven to 12,” said Westerbeck. “Our goal is to have 15 to 20 students and parents in the first program.”

The Bridges program, which is being established through the United Way, will meet for 10 weeks on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5 to 7 p.m. from Jan. 26 to March 31, 2016, at Sidney Alternative School, 315 W. Russell Road. Group facilitators will be Charlie Tucker and Gail Dafler, said Westerbeck.

“The afterschool program — The Parent Project — makes a connection between the parents and students,” said Westerbeck. “We do this program after school at SAS.”

The Bridges program, he said, will continue the work established with The Parent Project and be offered countywide.

Tucker works at SAS and is a past facilitator for the Choices and Thinking for a Change programs. He is the current facilitator for The Parent Project.

Dafler is a past facilitator for Thinking for a Change Program and is a current facilitator for The Parent Project. She has 25 years of experience with prevention programming in Shelby and Darke counties.

A brochure about the program, said Westerbeck, will be going home with students and will be available at various locations in the county. There will be activities for parents and students at the meetings.

“If the program is successful, I’d like to do a summer program,” said Westerbeck.

He said United Way Executive Director Scott Barr has been instrumental in getting the program going.

“Scott Barr sees merit for the programs,” said Westerbeck.

“I think you are doing an excellent job in a tough situation,” said Superintendent John Scheu.

For more information about the program, contact Tucker at 937-494-2003 or

Westerbeck also presented an overview of the program at SAS. There are 52 students enrolled at the school with the majority of them in grades nine to 12. There are 14 staff members.

In addition to The Parent Project and the upcoming Bridges program, there is another new program at the school. A Big Brothers program has been started, also in conjunction with the United Way and the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Darke/Shelby Counties.

“This program is just in our building,” said Westerbeck. “We have many students with split parent families or only one parent, their mother.”

The goal, he said, is to have a positive male role model for the students.

“I’ve recruited three people and they are signed up with a fifth-, sixth- and ninth-grader,” said Westerbeck. “We’re already seeing changes in habits. Their attendance is up. We’re looking for some more Bigs for the program.”

In other business the BOE:

• Approved a purchased service agreement with Speech Pathology Services from Nov. 29, 2015 to June 3, 2016, at a rate of $62 per hour. Scheu told the board that the district has been unable to hire a full-time staff member. There are only six schools in Ohio which graduate speech therapists.

• Approved a purchased service agreement for James Richardson as a school security substitute at a rate of $15 per hour effective Dec. 7.

• Approved equally transferring the remaining funds of the classes of 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 to the classes of 2017, 2018 and 2019.

• Approved the purchase of two Double Stack Vulcan Combi Oven/Steamers for Sidney High School and Sidney Middle School from Bushong Restaurant Equipment at a total cost of up to $78,929.30 including installation.

• Accepted a donation from North Broadway Church of Christ of a Baldwin organ and bench, valued at $500.

• Amended the resignation date for Adam Zeller, SMS intervention specialist, from May 23, 2016, to Dec. 18, 2015.

• Approved the resignation of Timothy Burden, bus aide, effective Dec. 1.

• Employed Patti Boshears, SHS MD aid, $14,63 per hour; Justin smith, SHS MD aide, $15,91 per hour; and Jeffrey Wheeler, bus driver, $16.24 per hour. Each received a one-year limited contract.

• Employed Bill Shoffner, substitute aide, $10.61 per hour; Sandra Wooddell, substitute cook, $9.14 per hour; and David Dicke, substitute bus driver, $14.62 per hour. Each received a one-year limited contract. Scheu told the board the district is having problems finding qualified substitute bus drivers.

• Approved the retirement of Timothy Musser, bus driver, effective Dec. 31, 2015. He has been a bus driver since 2005.

• Approved curriculum additions to SHS for the 2016-17 school year. Elective classes added will be The American Civil War, The World Wars 1914-1945, The Cold War 1945-1991, Holocaust and Genocide Studies through literature and film and Global Terrorism. The semester classes will be offered to junior and senior students.

• Approved the appointment of Steve Roberts to the Shelby County Libraries Board of Trustees to replace Michael Monnin, whose term expired in September 2015.

• Learned Upper Valley Career Center Superintendent Dr. Nancy Luce was the Regional Administrator of the Year and was runner-up for the National Administrator of the Year.

The board’s next meeting will be Monday, Dec. 21, at 6 p.m. at the board of education building.

By Melanie Speicher

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822; follow her on Twitter @MelSpeicherSDN. Follow the SDN on Facebook,

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822; follow her on Twitter @MelSpeicherSDN. Follow the SDN on Facebook,