SIDNEY — Both building principals in the Fairlawn Local School reported Thursday work is well underway regarding the efforts to provide academic improvements for students in need.
High School Principal Rebekka Egbert and K-8 Principal John Stekli told school board members that staff members are working with students and parents in the Response To Intervention (RTI) program to improve academically and/or behaviorally.
The RTI initiative is a multi-tier approach to the early identification and support of students with learning and behavior needs. Struggling learners are provided with interventions at increasing levels of intensity to accelerate their rate of learning.
Stekli said instructors are in the process of working six to eight weeks with students before determining if a new level of instruction is needed. Egbert said the families of high school students in the program are deeply involved in the process.
Superintendent Jeff Hobbs told the board of the Ohio School Board Association Conference next week in Columbus. Board member Bob Gold is expected to attend.
Hobbs spoke of a statewide effort to bring awareness to House Bill 487 which deals with the state standardized testing in regards to needed graduation credits.
On Tuesday, more than 200 superintendents from 70 counties plan to gather on the Ohio Statehouse steps, per published reports. Their plan is to bring attention to their efforts to have state legislators to have the law changed quickly.
Hobbs said the law could result in never-seen-before high numbers of students who would not graduate. Approximately 40 percent of Fairlawn’s current junior students would fail to obtain their high school diploma based on state guidelines.
Hobbs is the Shelby County representative with the Ohio Public School Advocacy Network, a group formed two years ago to promote local control of education standards. He said the support is strong and a large crowd is expected in Columbus.
The superintendent said a recent professional development day had educators learning of programs for special education and gifted students.
Nathan Sailor, agriculture teacher and FFA advisor, told of preliminary work beginning on a cross country course near the school. The planting of grassy areas and plans to blaze trail paths through a wooded area are underway.
Sailor explained the planting of grassy areas is a first step of many to hopefully allow the school to host cross country meet soon.
He told of making recent contact with the forestry trade department of the Upper Valley Career Center in Piqua. His hopes are to create walking paths through the 10-acre wooded area that would enhance the cross-country route.
In another matter, Sailor reported the soybean harvest yield off school-owned farmland recently was 49.81 bushels per acre.
In other board action, they:
• Approved a financial report that included a General Fund Capital Outlay of $135,000.
• Changed the starting time of graduation ceremonies. It is now set for May 21, 2017, at 1 p.m.
• Heard a report from senior Katelynn Morrison on 13 Fairlawn students attending the recent national FFA conference in Indianapolis.
• Rescheduled their next regular monthly meeting to Dec. 15 at 6:30 p.m.
• Hired eight people as substitute teachers at a rate of $80 per day. They include Emanuel Bowman, Abigail Cooksey, Tina Edwards, Jennifer Fox, Richard Gold, Kaylee Hartrum, Jane Kaufman and Kimberly Leach.
• Awarded a one-year contract to Amy Jones as a teaching aide. Employed Jean Bryie as a substitute aide on an as-needed basis.
• Approved volunteer coaches including Jackson Hobbs, boys basketball; Kevin Foy, boys junior high basketball; and Jenny Cardo, junior high cheerleaders.
• Accepted the resignation of Penny Rose as kindergarten-first grade teacher effective Dec. 31.
This writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News