Education

Memorial Day speaker drops bomb about Boys State … but turns out his coordinates were likely wrong

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   A retired U.S. Air Force colonel dropped a bomb on the Bowling Green Memorial Day Program Monday, but it appears the torpedo may have been a dud. During his keynote speaking comments, Col. Scott Manning expressed his sadness that Buckeye Boys State was moving from Bowling Green State University to Miami University after this year’s program. As a high school student, Manning had attended Boys State and decided to return to BGSU for his college education and ROTC. So the loss of the program was a personal loss to him. That bombshell sent some shockwaves through the dignitaries and the crowd at the Memorial Day service. “I’m absolutely astonished if that’s true,” Bowling Green Mayor Dick Edwards said. Edwards attended Boys State when it was stationed at Camp Perry, convinced the program to move to BGSU in 1978 when he was in the university president’s office, and was later named to the Buckeye Boys State Hall of Fame. The Buckeye Boys State program has been in limbo for a few years, with the primary sticking point being money. BGSU wants more to house the program, Boys State wants the university to consider the value of having 1,300 male high school juniors come to campus for a week of mock government activities each June. “You get the best and the brightest from the state,” Edwards said. The program is not intended to be a money making venture, he said, but it does work as a recruitment tool for BGSU. Until Manning’s announcement, it was believed negotiations for a new five-year conference agreement were…


Overgrown courtyard becomes oasis in middle of BGHS

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The courtyard at Bowling Green High School is being transformed into a peaceful oasis in the middle of the classrooms and chaotic lives of students. There in the courtyard is the soothing sound of a waterfall, where koi fish glide back and forth, beautiful flowers and smooth stonework. But it hasn’t always been this way. A couple years ago, biology teacher Josh Iler looked at the courtyard and realized it could be so much more. “The bushes were overgrown, covering the windows,” Iler said. One bush was blocking the door into the courtyard, making it difficult for students and staff to use the area. “They would not come out here,” Iler said of the students. But on Thursday, the courtyard was full of students sitting at the patio tables, taking a breather before their last couple classes of the year. “Now you’ve got to get out here early to get a seat,” Iler said. A couple years ago, Iler decided to use the courtyard as a classroom tool, and turn it into the oasis at the same time. He asked North Branch Nursery to come up with a landscape design for the space. “Get me started and I’ll let the kids figure out the rest,” he said. From there it grew … and grew. The work started on the edges of the courtyard, with the old overgrown bushes being pulled out and replaced with neatly sculpted flower beds. Then recently, the work moved into the center, where the school’s victory bell used to sit before it was moved out to the football…


Some high school students take a pass on free lunch

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Teenagers from poor families in Bowling Green are apparently not taking advantage of the free and reduced priced lunches they are eligible for. School Superintendent Francis Scruci said at a forum for residents of Wards 1 and 2, that while about 30 percent of students in the district are eligible for free and reduced lunches, the number that actually apply at the high school “drops dramatically.” The numbers start to go down in middle school and the decline continues as students get older. Those students, Scruci said, don’t want to be identified as poor. That they don’t get the food they may need because of that is “sad.” The district has done everything it could to make sure those students cannot be identified at the lunch line. Yet a suspicion persists “that everyone’s looking at them and everyone knows.” The percentage of students receiving free and reduced lunches varies by elementary school with about 40 percent of Crim students eligible, 30 percent Kenwood and 20 percent at Conneaut. For some students, the breakfast and lunches they eat at school are the main meals they get, Scruci said. He said that many times people who rely on public assistance programs will move to Bowling Green because of the proximity of social service agencies. Scruci was at the meeting to discuss the building prospects for the district’s facilities plan. The district has: two aging elementary schools, and one, Crim, that was recently renovated; a high school that needs extensive work; and a new middle school. District officials plan to take up to 18 months to work…


BG high and middle schools put on lockdown while police search for suspect (updated)

Around 12:30 p.m. today, the Bowling Green Police Department asked Bowling Green High and Middle Schools to go into lockdown mode due to the police tracking a suspect wanted on several felony warrants. The lockdown was lifted before 1 p.m., and police have arrested the suspect. According to an email sent out by BG Superintendent Francis Scruci, the suspect is a white man in his 50s, wearing a gray sweatshirt and blue jeans.  He was being tracked by a K-9 unit and does not appear to have entered the school property but as a precautionary measure the district was asked to lock down the buildings.  A witness had reportedly seen the man on Middle School grounds. Police later picked up the man, Wayne English, 49, of 1052 Revere Drive, Bowling Green, without incident in the 15000 block of Bowling Green Road West. English had a felony warrant for breaking and entering into a home in his neighborhood, according to BG Police Lt. Dan Mancuso. He also had two other warrants from two other counties, according to Police Major Justin White. English was taken to the county justice center.    


BG Schools’ financial forecast a rollercoaster

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green School District Treasurer Rhonda Melchi showed the school board Tuesday the five-year financial forecast for the district, then showed them an image that best summed up the situation – a rollercoaster. Melchi described some of the changes that have occurred since October. Tangible personal property tax was expected to disappear, but the district was supplemented for two years of that revenue. State foundation funding increased from a 0.28 percent to a 0.31 percent share. While that may seem insignificant, Melchi said it adds up to quite a bit. Of the $5,900 per pupil funding level at Bowling Green, the state will pay $1,829. Property tax collection has increased by $120,000 and the school district income tax is up $129,000. Some savings are being experienced in health insurance costs. But looking ahead, the district is adding two curriculum coordinators, six regular classroom teachers, two special education teachers, one behavioral specialist and one speech specialist. All those figures add up to revenue and expenditure lines that crisscross on their ways up and down on the financial forecast chart. Based on the current snapshot on finances, the district will have a positive balance until 2019, Melchi said.  Then, the district will have to search for more revenue. Also at the meeting, the school board learned about a new literacy task force led by Ann McCarty, executive director of teaching and learning for the district. She introduced several teachers who have been working on their own time throughout the year on a program to improve reading programs. All the teachers wore red T-shirts, McCarty…


Prizes awarded to BGHS senior show artists

Submitted by BGHS Art Department Monday the awards for the Senior Art Show now on display at Four Corners Center in downtown BG were announced. In announcing the awards, art teacher Nicole Myers said: “To be in Senior Studio, students need to have great work ethic, great creativity, be independently motivated and take art all four years. “Student artists complete teacher driven prompts while trying new materials and solving problems that may arise. Each student is responsible for exhibiting their best work from the four years in the Senior Studio Show.” The show is in its 19th year and includes the work 26 seniors, the most ever in Senior Studio history. Participating in the show were: Savannah Artiaga, Hannah Brose, Brittney Bushman, Ashley Cochrane, Rebecca Elsasser, Conner Erdody, Kurt Greiger, Angie Hoffsis, Lydia Kalmar, Maeve Kennedy, Alexandra Knoell, Michael Koldan, Miranda Lentz, Keller Martin, Sydney Mason, Zach McCurdy, Alex Noble, Drew Peterson, Lilly Rakas, Tony Reisberg, Adam Schroeder, Katy Slaughterbeck, Micah Smith, Morgan Smith, Allison Swanka and Rowan Wicks. Awards for a total of $1,000 were sponsored by businesses, organizations and individuals. Award winners were: • PTO Purchase Award, Miranda Lentz, “Another Brick in the Wall,” a pen and ink drawing. • 2-D purchase award courtesy of Black Swamp Arts Festival, Micah Smith for “Cinnamon Teal,” colored pencil drawing. Matt Reger selected this piece for its incredible detail and overall display. Reger selected a second piece as well, Sydney Mason’s “Aquarelle,” acrylic painting. He was drawn to the bright colors and said it is just fun to look at. Copies of Sydney and Micah’s pieces will be displayed on the…


Summit brings women in philanthropy into focus

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Learning how to manage money and learning the value of sharing that wealth with others go helping hand in helping hand. For the past 15 years, Auburn University’s Women’s Philanthropy Board has entwined those lessons in programs geared toward elementary school students through adults. Bringing those values together is essential, said Sidney James Nakhjavan, the executive director for the Cary Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies at Auburn. She was the keynote speaker at the Women in Philanthropy Summit Saturday at Bowling Green State University. The summit was convened by the presidents of BGSU, Otterbein University and the University of Findlay. “When you talk in terms of money management, you talk in terms of one thing,” Nakhjavan told those in attendance. “When you talk in terms of philanthropy and building a legacy, you certainly are talking about one thing. When you blend it then you get this powerful force that really effects change within people. …  It becomes this burning passion.” While teaching money management may seem fairly dispassionate, said Nakhjavan every semester she gets “criers.” One male student became apoplectic in a session talking about money management. He was angry because he didn’t realize how much debt he was taking on. He didn’t know what an IRA or a 401K was. He’s not alone. One young woman told Nakhjavan that when she saw 401K on the syllabus, she thought she was going to have to run a race. Another thought United Way was an airline. “They end up being grateful to learn this stuff and empowered to build their legacy,”…


BGHS accommodates transgender students

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   When word came down from the Obama administration today that transgender students should be able to use bathrooms consistent with their gender identities, it did not send Bowling Green High School into a panic. Principal Jeff Dever said the high school already has taken steps to make transgender students feel safe and welcome – by having a restroom identified for transgender students and by calling students by their chosen names and pronouns. A directive is being sent to school districts throughout the nation today saying that public schools must allow transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their chosen gender identity. The directive comes with no new legal requirements, but clarifies expectations of school districts that receive federal funding. It is not clear yet if Bowling Green’s separate restroom meets those qualifications, but Dever said it seems to be meeting transgender students’ needs. “What I have heard from students is their greatest angst comes from using the restroom,” he said this morning. “I understand that completely.” For the students, the separate restroom seems to be a sufficient solution. “I haven’t had any complaints,” Dever said. Though the issue of transgender students has long existed at the high school, Dever said it has changed with the visibility of Caitlyn Jenner. “It’s more of an issue here at school now,” he said. “It’s come to the forefront.” That may bring about locker room changes soon. Devers said the school has not designated a transgender locker room yet because none of the current handful of transgender students are on athletic teams. However,…


Kindergarten registration for BG schools on June 7

Kindergarten registration for Bowling Green City Schools will be June 7, from 8:20 a.m. to 4 p.m., in the Central Administrative Offices, 137 Clough St. All-day, everyday kindergarten is offered by the district for children 5 years old on or before Aug. 1, 2016. Parents are asked to call for an appointment at 419-352-3576, ext. 4021. Children should be brought to the registration since they will go through a 10-minute screening. Anyone wanting to expedite the registration process may download the forms from the front page of the school district’s website, complete them in advance and bring them to registration. Parents should bring the following documents to the Central Administration Office: Your child’s birth certificate. Your child’s updated immunization records. Your child’s Social Security card. Custody papers (if applicable). Proof of residence (such as current utility bill, rent receipt, etc.) Parent photo ID (such as driver’s license, student ID, etc.) Even if you are missing a couple of the above documents, you can still start the registration process. Questions can be directed to 419-352-3576, ext. 4021, or check out the district’s web page: http://www.bgcs.k12.oh.us.


Bill Clifford named to BG school board

By  JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bill Clifford has been named to the Bowling Green Board of Education. The board voted unanimously this morning to name Clifford to the seat vacated by Ed Whipple. Clifford, a retired Wood Lane superintendent, said this morning that his first goal is just to listen and learn. “I need to listen, even though I have all this experience as a superintendent, I really need to listen and sit back,” he said. Clifford’s top priority for the school district is academic achievement. In order to achieve that, he wants to focus on school facilities, retention of quality staff, and creating opportunities for special needs students. “I firmly believe we need to provide the best possible environment for teachers to teach and for students to learn,” he wrote in his board application. “Second, retaining quality personnel is essential to a quality education. Balancing that need with the realization of our current tax structure will be challenging and well worth brainstorming options that provide for both. “Finally, we need to be acutely aware of the preparation necessary for the successful integration of students with special needs into their community upon graduation.” Clifford was selected among four applicants, the others being Joanna Craig, Barbara Moses and Bryan Wiles. Moses, a retired BGSU professor, ran for a seat on the school board last fall. The initial vote count showed her winning by 10 votes. However, after the provisional ballots were counted, Moses lost the seat to Ginny Stewart by nine votes. Clifford will fill the remainder of Whipple’s term, which ends December 2017. The board expressed appreciation…


BG art students win carving, painting honors

Four Bowling Green High School art students won awards at the state and national levels for their wildlife carving and painting entries. Senior Tony Reisberg won 2nd place, and sophomore Dana Kleman won 3rd place in their age groups in the Youth Silhouette Division at the 46th Annual Ward World Competition held in Ocean City Maryland, April 22– 26. Their entries were a wood carved and painted Laughing Gull mounted shorebird-style on a base. Over 300 entries were submitted in the silhouette category and judged according to competition rules at the show. At the state level, sophomore, Lucie Moore won 3rd place for her drawing of an American Widgeon in the Ohio Junior Duck Stamp Competition, hosted in Strongsville, Ohio, by the Ohio Decoy Collectors and Carvers Association, a non-profit, volunteer organization. The contest is organized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of the national Junior Duck Stamp Program. The Duck Stamp competition is a dynamic art and science-based curriculum that teaches wetland and waterfowl conservation to students in kindergarten through high school. The First Place entry at the state level is then eligible to compete at the National Level. Artwork of the winning entry is produced on a pictorial stamp by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of the Junior Duck Stamp Program educational curriculum. Ms. Kleman also won 1st Place for her carved and painted Mini Blue-Winged Teal, and 2015 graduate, Tim Kleman, won 3rd Place Best of Show for his Golden Plover entry in the ODCCA Novice, Rest of the Marsh competition. “I have been really fortunate to work with the members…


College of Education honors Dr. G for her student-centered theater education

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Matt Webb knew of Jo Beth Gonzalez’s teaching mostly through his daughters’ experience in theater at Bowling Green High School. Katie is a high school junior who is in the improv troupe and in one acts, and the other, Liz, is a college junior who danced in the musicals. As students involved in theater they worked closely with Dr. G, who has taught theater at the school for 22 years. Neither girl, their father said, is a star, but both felt the drama teacher had a positive influence on them. His younger daughter told him that Dr. G was always preparing them for life. So when, in his role as the director of student and academic services in the Bowling Green State University College of Education and Human Development, Webb received an email asking for nominations for the college’s Educator of the Year award, he decided to submit her name. First he reached out to Gonzalez and asked for her curriculum vitae.  He learned the details, about the ground-breaking productions, the award-winning shows, two books. “I realized how stellar she is.” This week Gonzalez received the honor given to outstanding alumni and gave the keynote address to about 350 graduates of the college during their Capstone Day activities. As nominee, Gonzalez had to go through an interview process, almost like getting hired for a job. “It was a little nerve wracking,” she said in a recent interview. And she had to respond to a question, she hadn’t prepared for: What is the greatest challenge facing the nation and how does she address it in…


Two BG students charged for bringing knives to school

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Two Bowling Green students face charges after bringing knives to their schools this week. The first knife was discovered at Bowling Green Middle School on Monday, according to BG Police Major Justin White. An officer was on routine foot patrol at the school when the assistant principal notified the officer that a student was found with a fixed blade knife. School officials searched the 13-year-old boy’s locker and found another knife in his bookbag. The student reportedly told school officials he had the knives at school “for defensive purposes.” “We had no indication he made any threats,” White said. The boy was taken to the Wood County Juvenile Detention Center and charged with conveyance of a weapon in a school safety zone. The second knife was found Tuesday when the father of the alleged victim called police to report that his 10-year-old son had been threatened by another 10-year-old with a knife. The victim told police that he and another 10-year-old boy were walking home from Conneaut Elementary School and engaging in an ongoing argument. The alleged victim said the other boy threatened him by showing him the knife and saying something like, “I’m going to get you,” White said. During the investigation, police discovered that the boy with the fold-out pocket knife had the weapon at school, with a school official reporting that they saw the knife when the student left school. The boy has been charged with aggravated menacing and having a weapon in a school safety zone. He was also taken to the juvenile detention center. No one was…


Four file for empty seat on BG school board

By  JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Four people are hoping to make the grade as the new member of the Bowling Green Board of Education. Filing for the seat are: Bill Clifford, retired Wood Lane superintendent; Joanna Craig, a parent in the district; Barbara Moses, a retired BGSU professor; and Bryan Wiles, a pastor in the community. The four are seeking to fill the seat vacated by Ed Whipple, who had served on the school board since 2014, but had to resign when he accepted a position in higher education out of state. The board candidates will all be interviewed by the board of education this evening. According to Bowling Green Superintendent Francis Scruci, the board intends to announce its decision on May 12, then swear in the new board member at the board meeting on May 17. The board is required to make an appointment within 30 days of the vacancy. If the board fails to fill the vacancy within 30 days, the probate court must fill the seat. Moses ran for a seat on the school board last fall. The initial vote count showed her winning by 10 votes. However, after the provisional ballots were counted, Moses lost the seat to Ginny Stewart by nine votes. Ed Whipple’s departure means just two of the remaining four board members have much experience. Paul Walker and Ellen Scholl have served multiple terms, but Jill Carr and Ginny Stewart are new to the board this year. “There’s something to say about the experience piece,” Scruci said. At the last board of education meeting, Scruci emphasized the importance of the…


Old tunes find new listeners at concert for young & young at heart

With an audience made up largely of kids age 4 through 7, the line between moving to the music and fidgeting is pretty fine. It didn’t matter that the music was not only before their time – because everything is before their time – but before their parents’ time, and likely even before their grandparents’ time. The beat was good. A few youngsters broke out the dance steps, a few swayed in rhythm in their seats and a few fidgeted. Teachers know the difference. For its Young and Young at Heart concert Friday, the Bowling Green bands threw open the doors of the Performing Arts Center to senior citizens and pre-school, kindergarten and first graders from Kenwood, Conneaut and Crim. The older listeners mostly took up the back rows, while the front of the house was packed with kids, and their outnumbered teachers. After some preludes on marimba, the concert got underway with the high school’s jazz band, the Jazz Cats. Their short set was devoted to swing classics from the 1930s and 1940s. But what’s 70 years when one of the songs is named “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” which is deliciously funny to say. During the switch between the Jazz Cats and Symphonic Band, Band Director Bruce Corrigan demonstrated how that bugle boy blew those notes. More funny sounds, more laughs. Corrigan knew his audience. Then the Symphonic Band stepped forward with Morton Gould’s “American Salute,” a fantasy on “When Johnny Comes Marching Home,” then a bit of musical magic, a piece featuring a flute solo by Lilly Rakas, and a musical tribute to bugs that included a couple…