HOWELL — Members of the Howell K-8 School District Board of Education thanked board Vice President Chuck Welsh for his service to the panel as work for the year concluded with a meeting on Dec. 9.
Welsh was not re-elected to the board on Nov. 3. He was presented with a plaque from his fellow board members.
Board President Tim O’Brien offered remarks about Welsh and said, “I wanted to recognize the fact that many years ago, when my daughter was in middle school, Chuck was the principal. I had the opportunity to get to know him there as a parent and over the years I was very impressed.
“He was a good person to go to when I was new on the board. I received good counsel from Mr. Welsh from time to time and over the years we had a good working partnership. He has been terrific and I want to thank him for his service. I want to thank him for taking the time to be a part of this board and helping it excel,” O’Brien said.
Superintendent of Schools Joseph
Isola thanked Welsh for his service and said, “You have served this board well, my friend, and we are a better board and a better school district because of your actions. I know how sincere you are about the work and how driven you are about the concepts of meaningful education for kids. Your efforts are commended. This board has really done a fine job and you have been an integral part of that.”
During his career in education, Welsh was a teacher and a coach in the Freehold Regional High School District. He went on to become a principal in the Howell school district. Following his retirement, he was elected to serve on the Howell school board.
Welsh thanked the board and provided his final update from the Education Committee.
“Our gifted and talented kids are going to take a field trip to BizTown in Edison. They have sites throughout the country where children actually participate in a fully simulated community and the purpose is to develop a facility with things like financial literacy, how to serve in a political office and everything that is associated with running a town. The program is free with exception of transportation,” Welsh said.
“Middle school health textbooks are outdated. Even though anatomy certainly has not changed, there are certain things we face in our community today with regard to health that have changed. We are engaging with the Pearson Corporation to provide a textbook as a pilot program. The pilot program will begin in 2016 and a determination will be made after we have experience with that to see if we are going to move forward with (Pearson) as a temporary provider,” Welsh said.
He touched on several other issues, including cheerleading, now that Howell’s three middle schools have been reconfigured into two middle schools.
“There is a concern about the ratio between the number of students involved in cheerleading and the coaches. I think it is a ratio of 25 (students) to 1 (coach) now,” Welsh said, adding that the question of capping the number of cheerleaders should be examined.
There was also a discussion regarding middle school baseball and whether there should be one team consisting of students in grades six, seven and eight, or whether there should also be a team for the younger grades.
“The unfortunate thing is that many of the younger children (in middle school) end up being cut simply because they are not at the level with physical maturity that allows them to compete successfully, for the most part, with eighth-graders,” Welsh said.
Board members indicated there will be further discussion on that matter.
Finally, Welsh reported that recommendations regarding the district’s program for gifted and talented pupils may be made by the end of January.