School day stretched  by nine minutes 

A total of nine minutes have been tacked onto the beginning and end of each school day at Thayer Central. Come Aug. 16, students will start their days at 8:10 a.m. and finish at 3:45 p.m. 

The extra minutes will allow for Titan Team advisory time to work on grade checks and positive teacher-student relationships, which are part of the 8-to-Great essential skills curriculum that will be taught to grades seven through 12 at Thayer Central. According to 8-to-Great’s website, the mission “is to empower students and adults with the skills for greater happiness and success, thereby instilling hope and inspiring possibilities.” 

The curriculum is designed to teach students basic skills, such as problem solving, which aren’t being taught in every home, Superintendent Eric Miller said. 

“It helps kids deal with people they don’t get along with,” Miller said, using an example of the curriculum that boasts success in fewer office referrals, improved grades, lower dropout rates, improved staff morale and even sports performances. 

Lesson plans, videos, handbooks and a bullet journal guidebook are included in the curriculum, according to 8-to-Great’s website that shows how it aligns with the five core social-emotional learning competencies of self-awareness, responsible decision making, social awareness, self-management and relationship skills.

Social-emotional learning, however, isn’t the main focus of the advisory time, Miller said. 

“There are many different topics. We’re trying to teach kids to deal with the here and now because there is so much more out there beyond the problems,” Miller said. “There is a future and they have a full life ahead of them.”

Thayer Central doesn’t have a lot of problems, but addressing grades and assisting students to improve on their positive qualities are two ways the school can help.     

In other business, the gymnasium that has served Thayer Central for several decades has re-branded the Titan Event Center. It also has a new look — the ceiling was painted black and the walls are a neutral gray with more updates are on the way. 

“We discussed the steps we want to take in that area. I’m looking into sound and stage lighting,” Superintendent Eric Miller said about the facilities committee discussion. 

For sound and stage lighting, those projects will most likely be officially addressed next year, along with seating, which Miller wants in the budget. 

“We’re looking at possibilities, like a cushion-bench type seating,” he said. 

The Titan signage in front of the building is also due for new paint and room numbers will be redone. 

“The numbers are a safety feature,” Miller said. He explained new room numbers will be on the outside and inside of classroom, so they can be easily identifiable for students and teachers in case of an emergency. The numbers will also be near the windows for any emergency personnel. 

Open campus for seniors was also on the agenda, and the board didn’t object. Open campus would be used as a reward and students must meet academic requirements to reap the privilege, which may begin in the second quarter.