LEWISBURG — Tri-County North Local School District board members and administrators discussed a recent bill in the Ohio House of Representatives and graduation during their meeting on Monday, March 15.
K-4 principal Joe Finkbine once again addressed the board about interventions for students feared to be falling behind in math and language arts following extended periods of remote learning due to COVID-19.
“We knew the kids weren’t going to be exactly where we thought they’d be because of being out due to COVID,” Finkbine said. “In years past they were steadily performing about five or six points above the norm, but when we came back this fall we had dropped back to about where the norm was.”
More recent data shows improvement, according to Finkbine, with 65 percent of third-graders projected to score “proficient” on state-mandated language arts tests scheduled to take place in April and 79 percent projected to be proficient in math. 74 and 92 percent of fourth-graders are expected to score proficient in language arts and math, respectively.
“We’re not quite back to where we were before we went on COVID leave in the spring, but we’re close,” Finkbine said. “Our teachers and staff have really done a nice job closing those gaps that we have had.”
High School Principal’s Report
9-12 Principal Kristen Mills updated the board on Ohio House Bill 67, which would allow students to spend two extra weeks on state-mandated English, math, science and social studies exams.
Students would also be permitted to submit end-of-year course grades instead of test scores to fulfill high school graduation requirements, according to Mills, and a school’s state ranking would not be affected by poor performance on the tests.
“If that were to pass, then we would be allowed to do grade substitutions for this year all the way through the graduating class of 2024,” Mills said. “The sense of what they’re saying is, ‘We’re going to hold students harmless; it’s not their fault that we’re in a global pandemic.’”
Mills also announced that this year’s junior and senior Prom would take place outdoors at Beechwood Golf Course in Arcanum.
Superintendent Bill Derringer announced that the Class of 2021 graduation ceremony would follow the same format as last year.
‘I’m not saying it’s going to be that way forever, but this year we’ll be back outdoors doing it on the practice field,” Derringer said.
Also like last year, this year’s ceremony will include a parade of cars driving through Lewisburg, according to Derringer.
“I think that was a big hit,” Derringer said of the previous year’s event. “We received a lot of positive comments about how that played out.”
Derringer announced that 70 percent of Tri-County North employees had received COVID-19 vaccinations on Friday, Feb. 26. National Trail, Twin Valley South, and Preble County Educational Service Center staff were also scheduled to receive the vaccine that day.
“Just like the trend across the county, our numbers are going down as well,” Derringer said of reported COVID-19 cases in the district.
The district will do another early release on Friday, March 26 so that staff members can receive their second vaccine shot, according to Derringer.
Derringer closed his report by expressing gratitude to the district’s faculty and staff.
“I want to thank the teaching staff and all of our employees for the continued jobs that they’re doing to keep our kids in school and keep them as safe as possible,” Derringer said. “We all know how important that is.”
Tri-County North Board of Education meetings take place the third Monday of each month at 7:30 p.m. in the High School Lecture Room.
Reach Anthony Baker at 937-683-4057 or on Facebook @mproperenglish