Members of the Jonathan Alder Local School Board of Education offered a big thank you to high school senior Cameron Skidmore on Dec. 10 for improving the Canaan Middle School Courtyard as his Eagle Scout project.

This fall, Skidmore constructed six convertible benches and tables, as well as two flower boxes for the courtyard. He also planted bushes and landscaped the area with the help of his father.

He has more than 400 hours of work in the effort and raised $915 to buy materials.

Skidmore presented photos of the completed project to board members during the group’s regular monthly meeting.

Also on Monday, Superintendent Gary Chapman told board members the district is having trouble hiring much-needed bus drivers.

“There’s a driver shortage all over,” he said.

The district is lacking substitute drivers and has posted positions for both a four-hour-per-day trip driver and a full-time custodian/driver. Neither drew responses. The part-time position pays $18.73 per hour, Chapman noted.

Work on the new security vestibule at the junior high school is nearly complete. Chapman expects the project to be finished by the time students return from Christmas break.

Curriculum director Misty Swanger said this fall’s scores on state-mandated third-grade tests on language arts show an improvement over last year’s fall scores with a 4 percent increase in the number of students who passed. She said 80 percent of Alder third graders have now met the reading guarantee standard needed for promotion to fourth grade.

Swanger also said Alder high school students are invited to attend a Jan. 15 mental health program at the McCoy Community Center For The Arts on the New Albany schools campus in New Albany. Actress and mental health advocate Glenn Close will be the program’s guest speaker. The event is open to 100 Alder students.

In other routine business on Monday, board members:

• Approved a trip to Cincinnati for the high school girls’ soccer team on Aug. 7-11, 2019.

• Selected Mary Jo Boyd to serve as temporary chairperson for the Jan. 14, 2019 organizational meeting. That meeting is set for 6 p.m. in the board room at the high school.

• Accepted $100 from Patty Anderson for lunch charges at Plain City Elementary.

• Accepted $300 from Mr. & Mrs. Steven Beachy to cover outstanding balances on school fees at Plain City Elementary.