Preble Shawnee’s Board of Education met Thursday, April 17, to discuss topics including the recent gas leak, a tennis court replacement project, and more.
Preble Shawnee will be receiving an anonymous donation of approximately $400,000 for a “tennis court replacement project” to begin the final week of May, and continuing into the summer.
Regarding the natural gas leak, which occurred Wednesday, April 16, Superintendent Dr. David Ulrich said, “Everything went about as perfect as it possibly could have happened yesterday. Our kids were great, our teachers were great, parents were great, bus drivers were great, every aspect went like clock-work, I’m just so proud of everybody involved.”
Public participation included Jay Law speaking in regard to what he feels is a lack of technology for disabled students in the District. “We’ve never really embraced technology for these special needs kids,” said Law.
Law stated two of his children within the district are disabled, and disabled students need to be “put to a higher standard,” said Law. Jennifer Taulbee, the Director of Special Education said Law’s requests were “not falling on deaf ears” and measures will be taken to ensure adequate technology for special needs students, such as requesting grant money from the Butler Rural Grant.
Denise Robertson spoke in regard to the Common CORE method of teaching, which is a controversial method which has been debated across the nation amongst schools.
“It bypasses the parents, state and local school boards and will fundamentally transform our education, dictating what every child will learn … I didn’t sign on for the Federal Government to [teach my kids],” said Robertson.
Robertson said she did not “sign on” to have the government control her child’s education, and the program is “unconstitutional.”
Robertson said her main concerns stem from the mathematics standards implemented by the Common CORE which “teaches very little arithmetic, but asking the kids to describe how they got their answer, instead of teaching them the best way to get the correct answer,” said Robertson.
Ulrich said Preble Shawnee is “not bound by a Race to the Top initiative, or anything like that. We are not a Race to the Top District,” however, the CORE program has been approved by the State of Ohio.
“I want to prepare our students as best as we possibly can to perform well on tests,” said Ulrich. Ulrich also stated if a child does not take the third grade assessment (PARCC: Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers), it is in the law to retain that child another year until he or she is able to take the test. Board member Barbara Strickland, said “society changes” and students need to be up to date with the standards.
The Common CORE standard of teaching strives “to ensure all students are ready for success after high school, the Common Core State Standards establish clear, consistent guidelines for what every student should know and be able to do in math and English language arts from kindergarten through 12th grade. The standards were drafted by experts and teachers from across the country and are designed to ensure students are prepared for today’s entry-level careers, freshman-level college courses, and workforce training programs. The Common Core focuses on developing the critical-thinking, problem-solving, and analytical skills students will need to be successful,” according to the program’s website.
“Math is like art, we have to think,” said Strickland. Strickland said she has been teaching math in similar methods to that of the Common CORE for many years.
Camden Elementary School Principal, Heather Campbell said during the gas leak, all students and faculty were cleared out of the building within 45 seconds. Campbell announced Field Days for the Elementary School will be held May 19 and 20. Some 130 students are currently signed up for Literacy Club.
Kyle Morton, principal of the West Elkton Intermediate School stated security cameras have been installed, and students are currently preparing for the OAA test.
Dianna Whitis, Junior and Senior High School Principal, said the school recently held a blood drive, at which 70 students donated 64 units of blood.Whitis also stated the High School’s attendance rate is 95.1 percent.
Taulbee spoke in regard to the Special Education Department saying, “We want to reach every child that needs assistance.” The department will be utilizing the ASK playground in Eaton, which is specially designed to accommodate every need of any child with any form of special need.
Board member Candace Turpin stated her concerns regarding “sexting” in the schools in that “sexting is alive and well” and she would like the administration to discover ways to resolve the issue. Turpin said she would like to understand what teachers can and cannot do in terms of “sexting” authority.
Summer projects will include the tennis court replacement project, the high school gym bleacher project, and replacing doors at the high school.
The next board meeting will be held Thursday, May 15 at 7 p.m.