The Swanton Board of Education voted Wednesday to support Ohio Senate Bill 216, which would decrease the number of mandates on local school districts.
Sen. Matt Huffman, R-Lima, 12th District, introduced the Ohio Public School Deregulation Act on Oct. 10 as superintendents from across the state were in attendance in Columbus. If approved, the bill will reduce 100 of the mandates which includes education topics and standards including teacher licensure and aide permits, Ohio teacher evaluation systems, state testing and student assessment, student management and safety, state testing and preschool operating standards.
“All too often what sounds like a good idea in Columbus translates instead to burdensome paperwork and tedious tasks that distract teachers and superintendents from their primary role in our schools — educating students,” said Huffman.
The resolution will be sent to the Senate Education Committee to show that Swanton Schools are in support of the bill.
“There’s a lot of things in this bill to like if you’re in education,” said Swanton Superintendent Chris Lake. “We’ve been asking for a long time to have some of the state mandates taken off of us.”
Lake added that he does not expect the bill to pass in its current form but that there are a lot of things in it that would get districts out of the administrative part of what they do and back more towards teaching kids.
Also at the meeting, the implementation of a district-wide lunch charge policy was discussed. But, the policy died on the floor after no board member made a motion to vote on it.
It would have spelled out when students would receive an alternative lunch, as opposed to the lunch other students receive. An alternative lunch often features a peanut butter sandwich and fruit.
Board members expressed concern about the impact the policy could have on students.
Board member Shannon Crow said it seemed like the policy put the burden of payment on the student.
“What we’re proposing is essentially what they’re defining as lunch shaming,” said board member Kris Oberheim.
• Lake gave an update on the building project. He said work on the Fisher Gymnasium is progressing nicely and the floors will likely be redone this month.
He also said power should be restored to booster building soon and that some final items need to be finished at the all the buildings.
• Personnel items were approved, including Glen Dominique as full-time grounds and maintenance supervisor, Sheila Elekonich as playground/lunch aide, and Dawn Santchi as nurse aide. Mimmo Lytle was approved as a student teacher, Russell Bacon as seventh grade boys basketball coach, and Xavier Taylor as assistant high school wrestling coach.
• Swanton Elementary School Principal Kristi Molter reported the school has started a trio of programs to help instill leadership qualities in older students. The Big Buddy programs pairs kindergarten and first grade classes with third and fourth grade classes for activities such as reading and math practice.
Fourth grade students help lead other students out for dismissal in the PAW Patrol program. Music teacher Julianna Frost is working with third and fourth grade students to teach them how to properly handle the flag as they take it down and put it up.
Molter also reported that an after school program, made possible by a United Way grant, will begin in December. It will be two hours, two days per week.
• Swanton Middle School Principal Matt Smith reported that the ALPHA after-school program is off to a great start. Students have been to a corn maze, doing Breakout EDU, and enhancing their academics. The program kicked off with a party at Swanton Sports Center.
Mix-It-UP at Lunch Day was held Oct. 31 at the school with a theme of Kindness Starts With ONE!
Every student was given a number one with a different decoration and had to sit in different seats than normal for lunch. The students were given sentence strips that were starters for conversation to learn new things about each other. The students ate lunch and had valuable discussion about one another.
The students at each table were also given a brick that was left over from the building project at the old middle school and they had to pick a character trait that described their group. They will be making a brick garden out front of the middle school with the character bricks in the spring. The students learned a lot about each other and had a fun lunch, Smith said.
• Swanton High School Principal Jason Longbrake reported that sophomores attended Explore Penta Day on Nov. 1. Students were introduced to programs that they had shown interest in and were given a tour of the facilities.
Reach Drew Stambaugh at 419-335-2010 or on Twitter @Swan_Enterprise