By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
After losing its first attempt to pass a bond issue for school buildings earlier this fall, the Bowling Green Board of Education ended the year on a positive – even award-winning – note.
During Tuesday evening’s meeting, the school board recognized recent three district successes. The district and middle school received “momentum awards” from the state. The Bowling Green Preschool program at Crim Elementary earned the top five-star rating from the Ohio Department of Education. And the district drastically improved its third grade reading scores.
“It’s a lot of good news tonight,” Superintendent Francis Scruci said.
“It’s a great way to end the year,” said School Board President Ellen Scholl.
It was just earlier in the afternoon that the district got word that its most recent “third grade reading guarantee” passage rate had jumped up to 72 percent this fall, compared to 48 percent the year before.
“We have done an amazing job,” Scruci said, giving credit to the curriculum and teaching staffs.
Scruci acknowledged the district’s disappointing grades on the state report cards in the past. But he also repeated his complaint that “it’s a flawed system.”
However, the district is still making strides, he said, announcing the straight “A” scores for graduation rates and growth measures – which earned the district and the middle school “momentum awards” from the Ohio Department of Education.
“We are certainly on an upward swing,” Scruci said. “Hats off to our teachers and our curriculum department.”
Middle School Principal Eric Radabaugh said the scores show the district is meeting the needs of all of its students. “We aren’t letting kids slip through the cracks,” he said.
Then came Melanie Garbig’s turn to talk about the district’s preschool program, which was recently given the state’s top five-star rating. The rating was based on factors such as the number of staff per child, the staff qualifications and the lesson plans.
“We have this great team,” said Garbig, executive director of pupil services.
Tuesday’s meeting was also a time to bid farewell to two people who have served the school district for years.
District Treasurer Rhonda Melchi was thanked for her service for 22 years. Scruci recognized Melchi’s success at saving money for the district, her work on the middle school construction project, and her 22 years of perfect audits.
“You’ve meant a lot to this district,” Scruci said.
Ellen Scholl, who conducted her last meeting as board president, was recognized for her 12 years as a board member. During that time, she served as president three years, as vice president for three years, served on the school foundation, was legislative liaison and worked to better facilities.
“She epitomizes what it means to be a board member,” Scruci said.
At the end of the board meeting, Scholl thanked the district and those present.
“Thank you for allowing me to serve you all this time,” she said.
After the meeting, Scruci said it will be hard to replace the experience that Scholl brought to the board.
“I think she’s a model board member. She’s the ultimate in a true professional,” he said. “She has served this district well.”
Also at the school board meeting, a presentation was given on the extra-curricular programs at Kenwood Elementary. Principal Kathleen Daney, fourth grade teacher Molly Brown, and music teacher Courtney Boswell talked about programs held outside of the classrooms, before or after school hours.
- Al-Mar weekly bowling, which includes 36 students from Kenwood and 120 students district-wide. “Kids love it, they line up in the hall,” Daney said.
- Girls on the Run, which is a twice weekly running program for girls in third through fifth grade. The program culminates in a 5K event. The running not only benefits the students physically, but it also boosts their confidence, Brown said. “It’s really neat to develop these relationships with kids outside the classroom,” she said.
- Calm Coloring program, which allows the kids who get to school early to sit in the library and quietly color.
- STEAM Club, which allows fourth and fifth graders to make items like robots, catapults, cars and gingerbread houses that could withstand arctic force winds, Boswell said. The program has been supported by grants and donations by local businesses and individuals.
- Five Girl Scout troops and one Boy Scout troop meet at the school.
- Newspaper club, which meets weekly and allows students to interview, write and print stories on Microsoft Word.
- Chess Club led by Jim Van Vorhis, which includes nine students from Kenwood and 36 district-wide.
- Little Free Library, which opened up in front of the school for people to get books from 24/7.
- Kenwood choir named the Treble Rebels, which has performed the National Anthem at a BGSU women’s basketball game, a Walleye’s hockey game, and has plans to sing at a BGSU hockey game, a MudHens game, and the state basketball tournament at OSU.
In other business at the school board meeting:
- Paul Walker was elected president pro-tem for the organizational board meeting on Jan. 9 at 5 p.m.
- Ryland Black was recognized for earning All District honors as captain of the varsity soccer team.
- The board accepted several donations from the community, including several for the Kenwood STEAM Club. Sunset Bistro donated $580 to the 1 Book BG program. “She is a true community partner,” Scruci said of Prudy Brott, who owns Sunset Bistro.