By Charles Prince
HEBRON – Lakewood School Board members filled the district’s last administrative opening Tuesday night. Board members unanimously approved Superintendent Mary Kay Andrews’ recommendation to award a one year contract to Elizabeth Cline as Assistant Principal at Jackson Intermediate School.
Cline has a BA in special education from Ohio University. She spent her first 17 years in education as Heath City Schools’ intervention specialist. During that time, she completed a Masters in Education and obtained a pre K-3 license. Most recently, she has taught second grade at Garfield Elementary for the last six years. Andrews said Wednesday night that Cline “served in many leadership capacities that helped to enhance student learning and leadership” at Heath. Cline and her family have lived in the Lakewood district for 19 years and both her daughters attend Lakewood High School.
Lakewood students return on Thursday, August 16, to start the new school year. “We’re ready,” Andrews told board members. Though there have been a number of administrative changes – a new principal at Hebron Elementary School, new assistant principals at Jackson Intermediate, Lakewood Middle School and Lakewood High School and a new athletic director – Andrews said there are only four or five new teachers district-wide.
In a detailed, lengthy report to the board, Andews said the Lakewood Preschool has completed its move from Hebron Elementary to Jackson Intermediate B. The Preschool now has a separate and fenced playground.
The Preschool day has been increased to three hours and 15 minutes daily, exceeding the minimum requirement of 12.5 hours per week. The morning session runs from 8:30 to 11:45 a.m. and the afternoon session is from 12:20 p.m. to 3:35 p.m. Andrews said the school has a new approach to snack time. Parents will be asked to provide a snack and a beverage for their child. Andrews said the approach was successful at Flying Colors, reducing staff time and costs, with less being thrown away by students. Supplemental snacks will be available in case a snack is forgotten or doesn’t meet Ohio Department of Education guidelines.
Concerning Preschool enrollment, Andrews said 21 out of the 32 possible spots for students with disabilities are filled with three more students being evaluated. Just 15 of the required 24 grant spots are currently filled. All eight spots for non-grant/non-disabled students are filled.
Andrews reported that former Hebron Elementary School principal Dee Martindale, who moved to the newly created district position of STEM Education Coordinator, is establishing an Innovative Educators Cohort, a group of K-12 educators, to “plan design challenges and create integrated problem based learning experiences with learning showcases.” The group meet all day Wednesday with 26 teachers signed up. The group will continue to meet throughout the school year to “collaborate, build partnerships and continue developing engaging lessons for students.”
On safety and security issues, Andrews said the district threat assessment team had training Wednesday and will have another session in January. Traffic patterns have been changed at the middle school to separate parent and bus traffic. The security vestibule there is now complete.
New classroom barricade devices are being researched and discussed with the Licking Township Fire Company.
Andrews added that the district’s two school resource officers completed the basic training curriculum last month provided b y the Ohio School Resource Officers Association. She said the deputies will be presenting educational programs on personal safety, school safety, internet social media, bullying, law topics, careers, and other topics during the school year. They will also be part of freshmen orientation this year.
Staff will have a School Safety In-Service on Monday, focusing on school safety, barricades, 9-1-1, triage, first aid, and self-defense.
Future safety programs include responsible use of technology/cyberbullying in September; drug prevention and education in October; and driving simulation/distracted driving in April. School and bus safety drills will begin in August and continue through the year.
She also discussed graduation status. Though the data isn’t final until the Ohio Department of Education verifies it, 157 students out of a total of 167 in the Class of 2018 graduated for a 94 percent graduation rate. Three of the students are returning and deferred graduation; four withdrew; one was an “Ed Opts;” and two dropped out. Eleven of the graduates did so via the alternative pathways because they didn’t have the 18 EOC points needed for graduation. Andrews said it is very unlikely that the alternative pathways will be available this year. So far, for the Class of 2019, 140 students out of the 168 seniors this year have already met the minimum graduation requirements.
Andrews’ last item was the bond levy update. District voters are being asked on the November 6 ballot to approve a $39.8 million bond levy that will be collected at an estimated 5.10 mills over the next 28 years. Most of the levy, $35 million, will be used to build a new K-5, single story school on the Lakewood campus. The balance, $4.8 million, will fund critical repairs at the middle and high schools.
Andrews said the Lancer Pride Levy Committee had their kick-off meeting on July 30 with 37 community members and 12 staff members signing in. Jessica Corum volunteered to serve as the committee chair and Taylor Kalmar is the treasurer. Six committees – Yes Voter, Communications, Community Outreach, Finance, Hebron Yesterday & Today and Election Day – have been formed. The Hebron committee will research options for reusing Hebron Elementary and will present a recommendation to the board on how to honor its 100+ year history. Anyone interested in helping the Lancer Pride Levy Committee should send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Board President Tara Houdeshell said board members decided to make several changes to their meeting procedures following a July work session. The first opportunity for public comment, which comes after the approval of the meeting agenda, will be limited to items on the agenda. The second opportunity, which is scheduled just before adjournment or an executive session, can be on any school district issue. Commentators will be limited to three minutes each during each public participation period. Houdeshell will time each presentation and provide a gentle warning to wrap it up quickly after three minutes.
Board members have also altered their set-up for their meetings. Their tables are now more aligned in a v-shape, making it easier to see each other. Board members want to have more discussion at their meetings and have added “discussion” to the “board member comments” agenda item. Two topics were listed Wednesday night under this expanded agenda item.
The first was “strategic planning.” “It is a high priority for the board,” Houdeshell said. “When do we start and what stakeholders should be involved?”
Board member Bill Pollard, who has brought considerable business management experience to the board, said, “Sooner rather than later.” He believes the most successful organizations have a well-developed strategic plan. After a few minutes of discussion, board members agreed to move ahead on the development of the district’s strategic plan with the assistance of Ohio School Board Association specialists.
Board members also approved the following coaching supplemental contracts and volunteer coaches:
- Kara Caton-Searls as high school head volleyball coach;
- Rob Englert as high school boys head golf coach;
- Jeromy Searls as high school assistant volleyball coach;
- Josh Keyse as 8th grade football coach;
- Andrew Bobalik as middle school golf coach;
- Elana Preston as middle school boys cross country coach;
- Jennifer Petig as volunteer high school boys assistant soccer coach; and
- Andrew Bowman as volunteer high school boys assistant cross country coach.
Board members approved 34 certified substitutes and gave them their first pay raise since 2015. Substitutes will now earn $97 per day, up from $90 in 2015. Those substitutes and all adults will be paying a bit more for breakfast and lunch this year – $1.30 for breakfast and $3.60 for lunch.
Board members approved the sale of three buses and one van. The buses are a 1984 Chevrolet bus most recently used as the band equipment bus; a 1998 International chassis with a Thomas Bus body; a 2003 Blue Bird bus; and a 2004 Ford 8-passenger van. They approved the purchase of two 2018 Ford 10-passenger vans from Couglin Ford at $27,600 each. That price matches the State of Ohio Cooperative Purchasing Program price.
In her report, Director of District Services Patti Pickering said the new electric service is nearly complete at the bus garage. Concrete is being poured this week. The new handicap lift bus has been inspected by OSHP and is ready for service. Bus letters to parents were scheduled to be mailed Thursday (August 9). Bus drivers will be available to answer questions at the Open Houses.
For food service, she said the August and September menus are posted on-line. New this year, a Nutrition Nuggets newsletter will be sent home with K-5 students to provide family nutrition education.
The technology team has prepped 330 Chromebooks and six new mobile labs for the middle and intermediate schools. More than 100 classroom projectors have been inspected and received preventive maintenance.
The board’s next regular meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 12. It is being moved to the gym at Hebron Elementary to provide an opportunity for tours before the meeting.