By Amie Sites
---- — WALTON — Two employees began the school year at Southeastern School Corporation in new positions.
Southeastern School Corporation board members approved Maria Funk as student coordinator and Dawn Robertson as data analyst and high ability coordinator.
“They have both been extremely busy,” said Trudie Hedrick, Southeastern School Corporation superintendent.
Adding the positions provides resources to help students succeed, Hedrick said.
Funk, who is responsible for all students in kindergarten through 12th grade, has focused on getting a “response to instruction” program together to give the opportunities to have a more personalized program. She will focus on what can be done to assist students to be successful in the classroom with any sort of intervention.
“We’re trying to focus on academics and this is a way we can do that,” Funk said.
Funk, who began working for the corporation in 1993 as a substitute teacher, plans to meet weekly with teachers.
For the past 17 years, she has been a social worker within the corporation. In her absence, Jessica Houston was hired as social worker and will be splitting responsibilities between Thompson and Galveston Elementary schools.
Although Houston is a new hire, she is familiar with the corporation because she previously had an internship at Thompson and Galveston schools, Hedrick said.
During the next year, Funk will become a certified school safety specialist and will work on a crisis intervention program as well as a bullying program. Funk said it’s exciting because the job varies so much.
Since Dawn Robertson found out she was named data analyst and high ability coordinator, she has compiled data to work toward identifying high ability students. In addition to those positions, she is also the test coordinator and the high ability teacher.
When ISTEP scores come in, Robertson will comb through the data, she said. Robertson will analyze each student and examine areas in which they are struggling. Students will then be instructed in small groups targeting problem subjects.
“The goal is to not have students falling through the cracks,” Robertson said.
This would have been Robertson’s 20th year teaching. She has mostly taught fourth, fifth and sixth grades with subjects ranging from reading and math to science and language arts.
“One of my jobs is to be a resource for teachers,” Robertson said.
Sue Gremelspacher, who was previously a Title I teacher, will fill the sixth grade social studies position, Hedrick said.
Robertson said she likes the administrative side but will enjoy being around the kids again.
The overall goal with the new positions is to help students succeed.
“We want to give every student the opportunity to graduate,” Funk said. “We are here to help them get an education. We know if they don’t get it here they’ll struggle the rest of their lives.”
Amie Sites is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5117 or firstname.lastname@example.org.