New Bremen BOE discuss graduation, distant learning

By Sandy Rose Schwieterman - For the Sidney Daily News

NEW BREMEN- At their meeting Wednesday night, April 15, the New Bremen Board of Education approved two resolutions — one which temporarily moved their meetings to online status and another in support of a temporary distance learning program. Both resolutions are due to the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The BOE approved a resolution to hold their meetings online beginning that night and possibly continuing in this way until Dec. 1, 2020. The meetings will use the software Zoom and the link is posted on the home page of the New Bremen Schools. This move is in response to the Ohio governor’s “stay-at-home” policy. The Ohio House Bill 197, signed by Gov. Mike DeWine on March 27 allows the move to on-line meetings.

The BOE also approved a resolution to provide for making up school hours during the stay-at-home mandate, which has closed schools until at least May 1.

The new resolution directs each classroom teacher to develop a sufficient number of lessons for each course taught in the 2019-20 school year to cover the time the schools are closed. Each teacher will post lessons on the schools website. The students who do not have a computer at home can use a “blizzard bag” containing needed materials. The Board also said it was possible to lend out Chromebooks if families do not have sufficient technology at home. If for some reason the work is not finished, the student will be allowed a two week time period from the date of school reopening to complete lessons.

In other news, the board heard from Junior/Senior Principal Marcus Overman that 53 students are slated to graduate this year, although the type of graduation ceremony is still uncertain.

The current plan is to hold ceremonies on May 10 with Baccalaureate planned at 1:30 p.m. at the James F Dicke Auditorium and the commencement exercises at the New Bremen High School gym at 2:30 p.m.

An alternate plan, should the stay-at-home mandate be extended, could postpone the graduation ceremony until June 7 or be held as a virtual graduaion ceremony.

Overman said planning for the virtual graduation ceremony will begin soon, with each senior coming in individually to be videoed walking across the stage in full regalia. Also recorded will be all the speeches and music planned for the graduation. Each senior would receive a copy of the video.

The principal also announced that Hannah Kramer was the Auglaize County winner of the Franklin B. Walter Scholarship Award, established by the Ohio Superintendent’s Educational Service Center Association to promote student achievement and recognize outstanding students. A senior from each county within the state of Ohio receives the award annually.

Overman said while the senior prom that was to be held in May 2020 has been cancelled, the Washington DC trip is still scheduled for Oct. 4, with payments due Friday, April 17.

He said he and the staff had scheduled over 80% of the grade nine to 12 students, with the seventh and eighth grade scheduling already done in February.

Superintendent Jason Schrader told the board that because of the COVID restrictions, the June 13 auction of old elementary furniture and equipment might have to be held online but pictures could be taken of what was for sale. He mentioned the auction could be postponed until later but delaying the sale may interfere with the demolition of the old elementary building. The district hopes to use the auction proceeds to purchase a new school bus.

In an update on the new elementary building, Schrader the project is still on schedule to be handed over to the school district on Aug. 18.

Elementary Principal Diane Kramer said that in the last month teachers have been continuing to implement distant learning and have worked through how to grade during this time as well. They are utilizing Zoom and Google Hangout meetings, sending recorded videos via YouTube, utilizing Face Time, emailing, calling, and texting students.

She added they had been able to work on scheduling, finalize class lists, and work on summer school plans.

Kramer also said the teachers and custodial staff have been working on packing up the old elementary building for the end of the year.

Finally, she said they will be interviewing virtually for an elementary library/computer aide position and the K-12 intervention specialist position, with recommendations made at the May BOE meeting.

By Sandy Rose Schwieterman

For the Sidney Daily News

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.