NEW PARIS — National Trail Local School District Board of Education members and administrators were updated on 2021 graduation plans during their regular monthly meeting Tuesday, April 27.
High School principal Mike Eyler updated the board on plans for Class of 2021 graduation, which will once again take place outdoors on Friday, May 28, but with greater opportunity for family members and other loved ones to attend.
“Because they lifted the cap on outdoor attendance, we’re opening up the bleachers and around the fencing area too,” Eyler said, referencing recent changes to guidelines from the State of Ohio about large outdoor gatherings in the wake of COVID-19.
Board member Cindy Lee asked about students who are “on the bubble” in terms of completing academic requirements needed to graduate. Some school districts have reported students falling behind academically due to remote learning and long school closures precipitated by the pandemic.
“We have a few. Not a significant amount,” Eyler said, indicating that staff was working with students who were having a hard time catching up. “We have a couple of students who have really impressed us with the progress they’re making.”
Seniors have a deadline sometime during the summer by which to complete graduation requirements to be considered a member of the Class of 2021, according to Eyler.
“If they don’t get it done essentially by the beginning of the next school year, they don’t count as a graduate,” Eyler said.
Eyler stressed that while teachers and staff are doing the best they can, they don’t have the same type of authority over adult graduates as they do with younger students.
“We’re riding them pretty hard,” Eyler said. “But when kids are over 18, our level of enforcement changes.”
In other business
Principal Jen Couch announced that the Middle School was “about halfway through state testing” as of last Tuesday. Testing is expected to be completed May 14, according to Couch.
“That means that testing will have impacted our daily instruction for six straight weeks,” Couch said.
Couch stressed that two-hour delays due to high school testing have also impacted the middle school, as faculty members are shared between the two buildings.
Eyler also spoke briefly about state testing, reporting that testing had impacted 18 instructional hours at the high school.
Eyler informed the board that the high school is in the process of hiring a new 9-12 guidance counselor, which he stressed is a more complicated undertaking than it might appear.
“There’s so much that goes into being a guidance counselor at a high school, from career readiness, to college readiness, to mentoring and things like that,” Eyler said.
Interviews for the position began on Monday and were planned to be completed on Wednesday, according to Eyler, who said that several teachers and other staff had participated in the search.
“We’re looking for someone who can help focus on that college/career transition, and we’re also looking for somebody who can help do that mentorship piece,” Eyler said. “They’ve got big shoes to fill.”
National Trail Board of Education meetings take place the fourth Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. in the High School Media Center.
Reach Anthony Baker at 937-683-4057 or on Facebook @mproperenglish