Principal sees improvements at SAS

By Melanie Speicher -

SIDNEY — The achievements of students attending Sidney Alternative School were shared by Principal Clayton Westerbeck during Monday night’s Sidney City Schools Board of Education meeting.

“We now have 15 staff members and 55 students,” said Westerbeck. Of the 55 students, 44 are high school students and 11 are middle school students. Six students are from county schools — three form Hardin-Houston, one from Anna and two from Jackson Center.

“There have been 78 half credits earned this year so far,” said Westerbeck. “Students are able to work at their own pace. Fourteen students were named to the honor roll — 11 high school students and three middle school students.

He said three students are on track to graduate in the spring.

Westerbeck shared the school is making gains on reducing the number of times a student is tardy. Last year at this time, there were almost 100 tardy students; this year the number is around 67 times of a student being tardy.

A transition to success unit has been started with Kevin Stapleton as the teacher, said Westerbeck. The students do all their assignments online.

“There’s no vertical time with other students where they would get in trouble,” said Westerbeck. “They have no opportunities to get off track.”

He said there have only been two suspensions so far this school year.

“Last year, everyone had been suspended,” he said of the students who are now in the transition class.

Westerbeck said the sophomores will be going to Upper Valley Career Center Wednesday to learn about the programs offered to juniors and seniors.

Calvin Cooley, a local fitness expert, talked to the board about expanding the use of the district’s weight rooms. He’s been in the fitness industry for 27 years. When he was 19 he was in a motorcycle crash which left him paralyzed. He was at the Sidney-Shelby County YMCA for 10 years as a certified personal trainer.

Cooley said a few summers ago, his cousin approached him about helping his son lose some weight.

“After the summer, he amazed his teachers when he went back to school in the fall,” said Cooley. He worked with the boy and some of his friends in the weight room at Fairlawn Schools once a week after school started.

Cooley said he’d like to see a program started at Sidney where he could work with students, staff members and parents about weight management and physical fitness.

“This would benefit the community as a whole,” said Cooley. “The schools have tens of thousands of dollars worth of weight and cardo equipment. I’d like to educate the public and teach them about safety.

“I think this is something that should be explored,” he said. “I have lots of ideas about it. I’d be willing to take the time if the board members want to experience what I have in mind. I think there’s a risk of not doing anything. There’s a danger of injuries (if equipment isn’t used properly). The reward would be educating people and working on their confidence. I would teach quality workout techniques.”

Superintendent John Scheu said many of the county schools have new weight rooms.

“This would benefit Sidney City Schools and the county schools also,” said Scheu.

No decision was made on Cooley’s proposal.

The board’s next meeting will be Monday, Dec. 18, at 6 p.m. at the board office.

By Melanie Speicher

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.