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Board names new chairman, presents anti-bullying curriculum

Board names new chairman, presents anti-bullying curriculum

The Germantown School Board unanimously elected Rev. Rebecca Luter as its new chairman.

Boards members voted last Tuesday during their regularly scheduled meeting.

“With her skills, her experience, her education, her demeanor,” said Amy Eoff, School Board member, “I feel she meets the criteria of being trustworthy, familiar with management, with an ability to coach and an ability to build unity.”

Eoff added that Luter was a good fit because the district is “entering a year of strategic planning,” which includes the opening the of a new school.

Luter is pastor of Farmington Presbyterian Church, where she has served since April 2014. Prior to that, she served as Lead Associate at Germantown United Methodist Church for 14 years.

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The Board spent more than an hour discussing ongoing measures that the district is taking to curb bullying.

Chauncey Bland, executive director of Student Services, and Superintendent Jason Manuel gave a detailed presentation to illustrate the extensive work that the district is doing to prioritize “whole child development” throughout the school system.

Bland said a “No Bullying Task Force” was established in June when the district was approached by a group of parents whose children had been bullied. From there he conveyed how the district’s “anti bullying curriculum” has grown to create a “culture of kindness.”

School counselors continue to undergo extensive training and the district has even hosted national level speaker and counselor Rodger Dinwiddie to address bullying prevention.

Next year, Germantown Schools will begin hosting Town Hall Listening Tours with an emphasis on “social emotional health.”

In February, Box Out Bullying, a national touring organization that specializes in combining research-based bullying prevention with live theater, will make a series of performances in Germantown. Parents will also be asked to participate in a survey to determine “individual school climate.”

“This is a priority,” Manuel said.

Every department within the school system is being asked to participate in the effort.

Mason Grace, director of Curriculum Technology and Communications, said second graders now have a typing curriculum that includes “digital citizenship lessons, cyber safety and email rules and manners.”

Assistant Superintendent Chief of Staff Dan Haddow said Houston Middle School has implemented a new system to encourage kindness.

“The students are divided into house, kind of like in Harry Potter,” he said. “But instead of earning points in Quidditch, they earn them based on acts of kindness.”

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