The Trimble County Middle School Energy Team Made a presentation during the school board meeting Wednesday night. (Staff photo by Renee Bruck/
The Trimble County Middle School Energy Team Made a presentation during the school board meeting Wednesday night. (Staff photo by Renee Bruck/
A reading program implemented only a few weeks ago at Trimble County Middle School has already helped students improve their reading comprehension and vocabulary skills.

Eighth-grade teacher Erin Liter made a presentation to the Trimble County School Board on the new Reading Plus program, which helps students with motivation, capacity and efficiency when reading. The research-based online program meets Common Core standards and allows students to progress at their own pace.

"It's individualized and personalized to the max," Liter said. "They get to choose what they want to read."

The program offers seven subjects for students to choose from, both fiction and non-fiction. Reading Plus also allows teachers to implement writing prompts into the program.

Another benefit to the program is the online capabilities, Liter said. Students may chose to work on their reading while at home or wherever internet capabilities are available. The program may also be used on a computer or a tablet.

Several students have already increased their reading retention and reading levels during the few weeks the program has been used at the middle school, she said.

School board members asked Liter and middle school principal Mike Genton to keep tracking data on student progress and report back to the board later next year.

Also during the meeting, Bob Wagoner with Ohio Valley Education Cooperative Financial Services in Shelbyville, presented the 2013-2014 Enrollment Projection and Demographic Information Report for Trimble County Schools. The projection shows possible enrollment numbers through the 2030 school year.

"What the trend shows is very slow growth," Wagoner said of the county's population.

The information showed the county population is expected to increase to more than 10,000 over the coming years, but the number of school-aged children is expected to decrease.

The school district saw a loss of 10 percent of students over the last five years. The data showed a drop of 154 students since the 2009-2010 school year.

Based on the past five years, the data expects the enrollment in schools to continue to decrease slightly through the 2019-2020 school year.

Other data showed students' needs are greater than ever. More students in the Trimble County Schools continued to be identified as low-income each year. Almost 48 percent of students in the district received free and reduced lunch benefits at the end of the first month of school.

"The children coming to school here have greater needs than they did five years ago," Wagoner said.

In other business:

• The Trimble County Middle School Energy Team presented information on the projects it hopes to complete this year. Some of the team's goals include reducing the school's energy usage and studying energy savings from a solar panel. The sixth- and seventh-graders told school board members the ultimate goal was a trip to Washington, D.C., to present their findings.

School board member Tony Walker donated the solar panel for the energy team's research, and board member Scott Burrows donated a battery to run the panel.

Genton told school board members that the team helps to educate other students and encourages teachers to turn off all lights when not in rooms.

"I call them our energy hawks," he said.

• Thirteen middle school students received recognition for achieving all three benchmarks on the EXPLORE test, or the middle school preparatory test for the ACT test in high school. Those students included: Preston Allen-Hernandez, Ella Aponte, Rebecca Ashcraft, Jasmine Combest, Aubrey Graves, Isabella Hines, Evan Kunkel, Joe Pollock, Kaelynn Pugh, Brayden Sedam, Olivia Seward, Danielle Tebib and Haley Wright.