NEW BUFFALO – With a sigh of relief, Superintendent Jeff Leslie marked the end of the first trimester and said New Buffalo Area Schools was ready for whatever came next during the Nov. 23 Board of Education meeting.

“We’ve run the gauntlet and made it through to Thanksgiving,” Leslie said, adding that the district could look forward to the coming Thanksgiving holiday with a little less stress and be ready to start the second trimester.

He gave particular thanks to the high school teachers who found out the last minute that the state-mandated virtual learning just days before final exams began.

“Kudos to them. They were prepared and I didn’t hear anything negative. The elementary and middle schools are also ready if we need to go there,” Leslie said.

“We’re proud of what New Buffalo is producing,” said Board President Chuck Heit, who promised to keep the ball rolling and thanked everyone for their additional work.

At the end of the meeting, the board got “two thumbs up” from a parent with three students in virtual instruction who said her children were “happy, learning and progressing.”

Trustee Heather Black also praised the school and community for keeping the COVID virus spread numbers low. A health care worker who wears two masks all day at work, Black said the low numbers were due to the teamwork of parents, students and staff.

At the start of the Nov. 23 meeting, Trustee Lisa Werner read a letter of congratulation from The Pokagon Fund Board President Rob Gow on the elementary school’s designation as a Blue Ribbon School for 2020-21, one of only 15 in Michigan and 367 in the nation.

Gow said the award demonstrates the district’s commitment to achieve and its welcoming environment that fosters student achievement of challenging content.

“The designation is a tremendous boost to the community and puts the world on notice that New Buffalo Area Schools is a district where students from a wide range of backgrounds will receive a quality education,” he wrote.

The Board of Education voted to employ Jose Martinez as elementary noon aide and rehire the following coaches: Wayne Butler, baseball head coach; Jamie Flick, baseball assistant coach; Jason Haskins, softball head coach; Jim Mullen, softball assistant coach; Nathan Jones, track head coach; Renee Fitts, track assistant coach; Karla Madison, track assistant coach; Amy Ingle, tennis head coach (girls); Edward Fidler, golf head coach (boys); Erik Beers, soccer head coach (girls); Nicholas Talbott, soccer assistant coach (girls); Vance Price, middle school track coach; Natalie Walter, middle school track coach, and Lisa Knoll, middle school track coach.

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