Education

BGMS teacher resigns amid allegations, police investigation ongoing

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Bowling Green Middle School teacher under investigation for possible criminal conduct has resigned. After an executive session this evening, the board of education accepted the resignation of Dylan Stark, an art teacher hired by the district in 2017. Stark’s resignation came after the completion of the school district’s internal investigation into his conduct. The investigation by the Bowling Green Police Division is ongoing, according to Deputy Chief Justin White. After the school board’s vote, Superintendent Francis Scruci explained district officials had been given information from another teacher who had received information from students about Stark. The district followed up on those allegations, and on Oct. 19 Scruci turned the information over to Bowling Green Police Division. At the same time, the district continued its internal investigation. Neither Scruci nor Board President Jill Carr were specific about Stark’s conduct that led to his resignation. However, Scruci said the investigation showed “behaviors that we wouldn’t accept in our district.” Stark, who also coached football, turned in his resignation on Monday. Scruci sent out an email to parents and staff last week asking the community to not spread rumors and to wait for the results of the investigation into Stark, who had been placed on paid leave. “Every individual has rights,” Scruci said. “Rumors are dangerous. We wanted to make sure we protected everyone involved.” Most of the allegations proved to be unfounded, but some were found to be true, Scruci said this evening. Carr said the school board backed the district’s response to the accusations. “The board supports the investigation the district engaged in,” she said. A substitute teacher has been filling in for Stark’s classes. The district will now start the process to hire a replacement, Carr said. Meanwhile, the police will continue looking into the possible misconduct. “It’s still under investigation,” White said this evening.


Citizens honored for making a difference in Wood County

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County honored its best on Sunday – a farmer who shows his love for the land by putting agronomics ahead of economics, a teacher who pushes his students to achieve goals they never believed possible, and a volunteer who helps connect people with ancestors they never knew existed. The Wood County Commissioners continued the annual tradition of handing out the Spirit of Wood County Awards on Sunday afternoon in the courthouse atrium. The following people were recognized: Mark Drewes for Agricultural Leadership. Robert Pollex for Liberty Through Law/Human Freedom. Charles Cox for Education for Civic Responsibility. Richard Adams for Religion and Liberty. Tom Oberhouse for Industrial/Economic Development. Millie Broka for the Lyle R. Fletcher Good Citizenship Award. Michael Sibbersen for the Lyle R. Fletcher Good Citizenship Award. Ann Harris Householder for the Lyle R. Fletcher Good Citizenship Award. David Chilson for a Special Spirit of Wood County Award. Drewes, a grain farmer from the Custar area, is a recognized steward of the land who always has a tractor seat to share with people who want to learn about farming the land. “My dad preaches the term agronomics over economics,” said Drewes daughter, Darcy Krassow. Drewes is part of a multi-generational family farm partnership that has farmed in the Black Swamp area since the 1880s. Drewes’ farm model and mission encompass important conservation principles. And he shares his knowledge with others, having been a member of many national and state agricultural associations that work to find solutions to problems. He has been a strong advocate for farm issues and for the people who dedicate themselves to making their living off the land. Drewes has an open door policy at his farm – welcoming anyone to ask questions and discuss farming. He has hosted many crop tours, FFA tours, and bus tours of his farmland. When agriculture needed research on reducing the impact on the environment, Drewes offered up his farm as a research laboratory. He is unafraid of results and willing to lead by example in implementing new practices and technology to better his farm and the environment, according to the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association. Pollex, of Perrysburg, served as a Wood County probate/juvenile judge from 1984 to 1998, then as a common pleas judge until retiring in 2016. “He had an impact on generations of juveniles in Wood County,”…


Task force members weigh in on school building issues

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Task force members for Bowling Green school facilities were armed with stickers and clickers Wednesday evening. To get an idea of task force members’ perceptions and desires for the school buildings, the facilitators asked them to vote on current problems and future possibilities. Facilitator Dan Obrynba said the perceptions of the task force and community vary greatly. “Your definitions of ‘need’ could be as many as the people sitting here,” Obrynba said. One big issue dividing the district is support for neighborhood versus consolidated elementaries. Task force members said even the definition for “neighborhood schools” is a topic of debate. For some it is defined by location – for others it is defined by smaller size. The task force facilitators talked about the need for members to see the buildings they are helping to determine the fate of – to see the current conditions of the structures. Driving by the schools does not give a true picture of the buildings. “There should be a genuine curiosity to see the buildings, if you’ve not,” Obrynba said. “We should move these meetings around building to building.” Using stickers, approximately 55 task force members identified what they saw as the top needs for the school buildings. The results showed: New HVAC: 45 More space: 41 Technology: 25 Safety/security: 22 Flexible teaching space: 12 Healthy environment: 8 Keeping small schools: 7 Parking improvements: 0 Following are the results for the task members’ votes on the top issues facing the school district as it works on its buildings: Renovations vs. rebuilding: 37 Neighborhood vs. consolidated schools: 36 Educational issues: 31 Cost: 27 Communication: 19 Voter turnout: 7 Demographics: 2 Community awareness: 1 Task force members were also given “clickers” to anonymously rank the condition of the school buildings and their opinions on how the district should proceed. Following are the results of those questions. How do you define the condition of Bowling Green High School? Excellent, 2%; Very good, 10%; Good, 25%; Fair, 41%; Poor, 22 % Condition of Bowling Green Middle School? Excellent, 47%; Very good, 40%; Good, 11%; Fair, 2%; Poor, 0% Condition of Conneaut Elementary? Excellent, 2%; Very good, 15%; Good, 13%; Fair, 17%; Poor, 53% Condition of Crim Elementary? Excellent, 4%; Very good, 27%; Good, 46%; Fair, 21%; Poor, 2% Condition of Kenwood Elementary? Excellent, 2%, Very good, 8%; Good, 15%; Fair, 17%;…


BG school bus cameras catch people passing illegally

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   School buses in Bowling Green are now equipped with their own type of red-light cameras. So far this school year, at least 19 vehicles have illegally passed Bowling Green City School buses stopped for picking up or dropping off children. So the district is investing in cameras mounted on the bus exteriors to catch drivers illegally passing stopped buses. Wednesday morning, Bowling Green City Schools Transportation Director Toby Snow stood outside Kenwood Elementary as the buses conducted annual emergency evacuation drills during National Bus Safety Week. But Snow is aware that one of the biggest threats comes from other vehicles sharing the road with school buses. About three years ago, the district put external cameras on three buses that were experiencing the most problems with red light runners. But then the number of vehicles running past stopped buses jumped this year, Snow said. He reported 18 to the school board earlier this month. That number has since grown to 19. “I just decided it’s a good thing to see from all of them,” Snow said of buying additional cameras. So far, 11 buses are equipped with the cameras – which cost about $750 each. Seven more cameras are on order. The district has a total of 20 school buses that carry about 1,300 students to and from school each day. The law requires drivers to stop for school buses when the red lights are on and the stop sign is extended on the side of the bus. Vehicles are required to stop at least 10 feet away from the bus. The bus drivers put yellow lights on first to warn drivers that a bus stop is approaching. If the bus is on a four-lane road, just the vehicles headed the same direction as the bus are required to stop. Bus drivers are asked to identify the vehicle, license plate and give a description of the driver for vehicles passing them illegally. But that is asking too much for drivers who are also watching a busload of children, Snow said. “It’s almost impossible,” he said. So the cameras help do the job. They are mounted at an angle so they catch license plates of passing vehicles. “We’ve had them catching them as fast as 50 mph,” Snow said. And they are able to capture license plates in daylight or darkness. “The driver can…


BG Schools 5-year budget a balancing act for district

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green City Schools’ new treasurer is not “ultra-conservative.” But even with a brighter outlook, the school district’s budget projection paints a troubling picture for the next five years. Treasurer Cathy Schuller presented her five-year forecast to the board of education last week. Schuller described her approach to budget forecasts as conservative – but less so than the previous treasurer’s. “I like it to be more of an actual planning tool,” she said. The last forecast had projected Fiscal Year 2018 to end with a $1.3 million deficit. It will actually end $1.24 million in the positive. There isn’t a comfortable cushion – but it’s not in the red, Schuller said. “We don’t have much of a margin,” she said. The five-year budget she presented to the board last week also doesn’t have a lot of rays of sunshine. The district has seen little growth in revenue in 2018. New construction in the district is weak. And the funding from tangible personal property tax has been phased out by the state. The district does still benefit from the state reimbursement of Homestead and rollback on all levies in place. Income tax revenue saw slight increases, but forecasts call for it to level out. Casino revenue is stagnant. Interest rates are increasing slowly, but since the district has less money to invest, it likely won’t benefit. Meanwhile, expenses are going the opposite direction. “Expense keep going up,” Schuller said. “As the years go on, the expenses start to exceed the revenue.” The actual revenues for Fiscal Year 2018 are $32.3 million. The actual expenses are $31 million. The forecasted revenues for 2019 are $32.8 million, compared to expenses of $32.75 million. After that, the projected expenses overwhelm the estimated revenue.   This is where the school district gets its revenue: General property tax. Two levies expire in 2019. School district income tax. Renewed in 2017, the 0.5 percent levy expires in 2022. State Foundation Basic Allowance, based on state funding formula. Unknown future with new governor to be elected. Restricted state grants-in-aid. Unknown future. Other revenue such as interest, open enrollment credit, property rental, student fees. Increased expenditures reduce funds to invest. Some funding previously used by the district has been terminated by the state: Property tax allocation from Homestead/Rollback reimbursements. Revenue ended in 2017. Tangible personal property tax. No longer exists. The five-year budget…


BG Schools task force looks at who’s picking up tax tab

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Bowling Green School District financial task force found out Wednesday who is footing the tax bill to support the district. The bulk, 54 percent, comes from property taxes. The next biggest chunk comes from the state, at 33 percent, followed by income taxes at 10 percent. David Conley, facilitator of the financial task force, said the “vast majority” of school districts in Ohio only have local property taxes. He estimated that out of the state’s 600 school districts, only about 40 have income taxes. However, several rural districts in this area do have some income tax revenue – including Bowling Green which passed an income tax levy renewal in 2017. The question that some task force members want answered is – are all local citizens paying their fair share of the property tax pie? Or is the agricultural community being asked to pay too large of a portion. Conley’s numbers showed the makeup of the Bowling Green City School District tax base is as follows: 58.9 percent is residential. 24.1 percent is commercial. 9.7 percent is agriculture. 5.7 percent is industrial. 1.5 percent is public utility. One task force member questioned how the agricultural community feels it is bearing the brunt of property taxes for schools – since the numbers show otherwise. Conley said that the agricultural piece of the pie is being shared by a smaller number of people. However, it was also pointed out that while agricultural values recently increased significantly, they have since come down some, and are expected to continue that decline. The valuations also sat at very low levels for years before taking the recent jump in value. Residents also asked for specifics about which residents of which political entities in the district were picking up the tax tab. So broken down by political entities, the numbers showed: Bowling Green landowners makeup 74.7 percent of the tax base. Liberty Township, 6.8 percent. Plain Township, 5.5 percent. Center Township, 5.4 percent. Milton Township, 4.2 percent. Village of Portage, 0.8 percent. Middleton Township, 0.4 percent. Village of Custar, 0.3 percent. Village of Milton Center, 0.2 percent. Jackson, Richfield and Webster townships had a combined 0.12 percent. A great deal of Wednesday’s meeting focused on a 1.7-mill permanent improvement levy originally passed by voters in 1984. The district reduced the amount to 1.2 mills in 1999 and asked voters…


BG school board wants transparency with task forces

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Bowling Green Board of Education made it clear Tuesday evening that the school task force discussions must remain public and that the board not be kept in the dark on the process. “The public nature of this process is absolutely necessary,” said board president Jill Carr. For those community members afraid to express their opinions publicly, the task force consultant  volunteered to be “Ground Zero” for their comments. After the first meetings of the financial and the facilities task forces, some members expressed concern that the information shared at those meetings was public. Some objected to updates being given to the board of education. The task forces have been set up to determine the best options for district school facilities. The recommendations will be presented to the board of education. The board has vowed to keep a hands-off approach with the task force process – however, the board wants updates so members have the same information as those in the task force meetings. “It’s essential that we remain informed,” Carr said. Carr expressed her appreciation for community members on the task forces, and voiced concern about the condition of the school buildings. “They are deteriorating right before our eyes,” she said. “Time and openness are of the essence.” Carr’s comments came after consultant David Conley reported to the board on the first financial task force meeting. He has posted the meeting on Facebook for public viewing. However, the team coordinating the facilities task force was unaware of the desire by some citizens to have meetings videotaped and reported to the board. Conley said he would make them aware. Board member Bill Clifford said the board supported the task force process with an understanding that updates would be reported to the board. “That was an expectation,” Clifford said. Conley said he has been impressed with the willingness of “courageous” task force members to share their thoughts at meetings. However, those who want their comments kept confidential can relay them to Conley privately, he said. “I’m really proud how we’ve engaged the community,” Conley said. The first financial task force meeting was attended by about 55 community members. Conley has also heard from about 10 senior citizens unable to make the meetings who don’t have internet connections. So he is trying to find a way to get the information to them. The next meeting…


School task force hears report on buildings; some want meetings confidential

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As the new Bowling Green City Schools facilities task force leaders toured the school buildings recently, they came upon a sign that seemed to fit the district’s situation. “I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy. I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.” Nearly 60 community members met in the high school cafeteria last week for the first facilities task force meeting. They first addressed brick and mortar issues, and got an update on the condition of the school buildings. Then they touched on the “elephants in the room” that are affecting the future of the buildings. Two task forces are working on the school building issue – one looking at the facilities and the other at the finances. While both groups are working independently of each other, the financial task force will make its final decisions based on the goals set by the facilities task force. Once both task forces are done, recommendations will be made to the board of education of how the district should proceed. Those recommendations could range from doing nothing to the buildings, to renovating the existing buildings, to building new elementaries at their current sites, to consolidating the elementaries into one new building. The school administration and board are taking a hands-off approach to the task force process. They provide information when requested, but don’t attend meetings and don’t offer input. David Conley, who is facilitating the financial task force, provides live video via Facebook for those who can’t attend the meetings. The facilities task force did not videotape last week’s meeting. A member of the task force, Grant Chamberlain suggested that the meetings be kept “confidential” since items discussed at the meetings could be harmful to business owners. The facilities task force coordinators said they had originally planned to give school district officials updates on what was being discussed – not to get approval or input, but just to keep them up-to-date. Some members of the task force objected, and a decision will be made at the next meeting on Oct. 24, at 7 p.m., in the high school cafeteria. Leading the facilities task force are three members of Fanning Howey, a firm of architects, engineers, planners and former school administrators who specialize in school buildings. The firm has assisted more than 100 Ohio school districts, including Eastwood, North Baltimore and Northwood…


Distracted driving – simulator teaches safety behind the wheel

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   With no warning, a car strays into the neighboring lane. “Is this not Bowling Green,” said Sandy Wiechman, Wood County Safe Communities coordinator. “You really have to pay attention.” The driver manages to avoid a collision, but seconds later, a dog runs into the street. She slams on the brakes, but it’s too late. “She just killed a dog,” Wiechman said. In this instance the dog and the driver are fine, since the crash occurred on Wood County Safe Communities’ distracted driving simulator. The simulator gives drivers an idea of the distractions out on the road, without the threat of injuries. The “driver” sits behind the steering wheel, with control of the wheel, the gas pedal and the brake. But there is much the driver has no control over. “You’ve got distractions all over the place,” Wiechman said. There’s a soccer ball that rolls out on the street, fire trucks approaching, construction cones, sun glaring into the windshield, school buses stopping, dogs and cats dashing into the road, pedestrians and bicyclists. And then there are the distractions inside the vehicle. There’s an annoying passenger who keeps asking the driver to make a call or text for him. In Wood County, about 4.5 percent of car crashes are blamed on driver distraction. In 2017, drivers reported the following distractions: Cell phone, 25; texting or emailing, 5; other electronic communication device, 7; electronic devices such as navigation devices, DVD player or radio, 39; others inside the vehicle, 99; and external distractions outside the vehicle, 84. Wiechman said the distractions go far beyond texting. Some people try eating lunch, check out the neighbor’s yard, or look to see if they know the bicyclist as they pass. “I refuse to do it just on texting. There are just so many things that can happen,” she said. “You never know when a kid is going to dart out into traffic,” Wiechman said. “One time can ruin your life and someone else’s life.” Even conversation in the car can be distracting. “You just have to pay 100 percent attention,” she said. It isn’t long before the “driver” is cut off by another car, swerves to avoid that vehicle and then hits an oncoming vehicle head-on. The simulator screen then gives the driver a view of the EMS crew standing over as an air ambulance lands nearby. The driving…


Manufacturers building excitement in BG students

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Decades ago, parents warned their children to get college degrees so they could avoid the dirty, repetitive work of manufacturing. That is no longer the case. “Our grandparents said, ‘Get your degree. Don’t go into manufacturing,’” said Lisa Wojtkowiak, senior talent learning and development manager at Betco. But on Friday, Wojtkowiak and other Bowling Green manufacturers were telling students just the opposite. “We make bubbles,” she said. “It’s not the old steel mills of the 1950s.” Bowling Green Middle School students got a glimpse of modern manufacturing Friday during the annual manufacturing day. The event included representatives from Vehtek, Rosenboom, Lubrizol, Betco, Regal, GKN, Phoenix and Penta Career Center. The students got to do learn about robots, virtual reality, heart dissections, density of liquids, helicopter designs and cleaning products. “This is to show our students what modern manufacturing looks like,” said Jodi Anderson, secondary curriculum coordinator for Bowling Green City Schools. “We want to spark their interest in manufacturing as a career option.” Today’s manufacturing uses robotics not back-breaking labor. “They may have had a grandparent who had a different experience with manufacturing,” Anderson said. The annual manufacturing day at Bowling Green City Schools was introduced a couple years ago, when local plants started having trouble finding skilled workers. “Manufacturers are in need of qualified workers,” Anderson said. The event allows local manufacturers to introduce themselves to students before they’ve already chosen a career path. “I think it’s important for manufacturers to introduce themselves to younger populations,” Wojtkowiak said. “The sooner we’re in their schools, the better.” College is no longer the only path to good-paying jobs, said Carol Espen, senior human resources manager with Regal. “I hope that they recognize manufacturing is an exciting industry” for jobs in areas such as engineering and finance, Espen said. At the Regal display, students were making modifications to paper helicopter designs, then testing them to see which stayed airborne longer. At the Lubrizol display, students learned about different liquid densities, by dropping items such as eggs, ping pong balls, bolts and dice into tap water and salt water. “We’re hoping they leave with a little bit of excitement about STEM,” science, technology, engineering and math, said Lubrizol plant manager Matt Paquette. Nearby at the Rosenboom display, students were putting together hydraulic cylinders. “They are learning how raw materials are turned into finished products,” said…


State school board candidates tackle testing and guns

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   State school board candidates were quizzed Sunday about their feelings on state grade cards, teachers being armed with guns, and collaborating with people they disagree with. Six of the seven candidates running for the one open seat in the 2nd District showed up for the forum hosted by the League of Women Voters from Bowling Green and Perrysburg. They are: Jeanine P. Donaldson has been the director of the YWCA in Elyria for 30 years, was an elementary teacher, and a member of the Ohio Civil Rights Commission. Charles Froehlich currently serves on the state school board. He is a retired manufacturing executive with 44 years in manufacturing employee education. W. Roger Knight has more than 40 years of experience in teaching and school administration. Sue Larimer, who has a degree in education, serves on the Perrysburg Board of Education. Vicki Donovan Lyle, who is a member of the Sylvania Board of Education, has a small business advising people on health insurance. Annette Dudek Shine, who has degrees from Washington University, Case Western and MIT, is a university professor and researcher. The first question posed to the candidates was about state report cards. Larimer said the report cards are “terribly flawed.” Perrysburg schools scored 119 out of 120 on criteria for gifted students, but yet failed to meet the state’s indicator in that category. However, Larimer said she would not like to see the state tests discarded, since Perrysburg’s high scores help with real estate sales in the community. Lyle said previous state testing was more meaningful, but the current system treats districts unfairly. “It’s not good for attracting business to Ohio,” she said. The system gives districts unexplainable grades. “I think it’s unfair,” Lyle said. Shine agreed the system is flawed. “Clearly it’s not good for attracting business to the state of Ohio.” The testing is stacked against poor districts and results are based on statistically unreliable data, she said. Donaldson said a decade ago Ohio schools were ranked fifth in the nation, but have now slipped to 23rd. The current administration is focused on more career-based education. “It pits communities against each other,” she said about the testing. But it will take Ohio voters to stop the state testing system. Froehlich said the state testing has “evolved into a monster over the years.” “What’s going on in the schools is…


Teachers pack the PAC for guidance and guffaws

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Elementary principal Gerry Brooks started doing videos for his staff out of frustration. How else could he do justice to the daily trials of teachers? For example, few people realize just how chaotic kindergarten lunchtime can be. But with Brooks’ southern twang, he matter-of-factly talks about his last stint on cafeteria duty. He dutifully opened 47 Lunchables, including inserting the straw into the explosive drink pouches. He engaged in debate on whether or not a pony would make a good house pet. He listened to one child talk about his grandma having six toes on one foot – to which Brooks’ responded, “She’s so fancy.” He retrieved children from underneath the tables. And he glanced down to see a little girl licking his hand. She had noticed something brown on his hand and wanted to help get it off. Sigh. Just another day at school… Brooks has been a principal for 12 years, currently at an elementary in Lexington, Kentucky. Prior to that, he was a classroom teacher for six years and an intervention specialist for two years. His videos resonate with teachers, since so many of his frustrations are universally shared among educators. Brooks has a following or more than 500,000 people. On Saturday, 1,500 of his fans crowded into two presentations by Brooks at the Bowling Green City Schools Performing Arts Center. The event, hosted by the Bowling Green Education Association, attracted teachers from all over Ohio and Michigan. Brooks donates the proceeds from his talks back to the host district. In this case, those funds will be used for mental health resources and programming for staff and students. His talk and video clips all have an irreverent tone – and had teachers in the audience cheering in agreement. Brooks talked about his latest “products” such as a shirt stating, “My principal is great.” Once the principal has left the room, the teachers can then untuck the bottom of the shirt which reads, “at making dumb decisions.” For fellow teachers, there’s the pencil with “You’re awesome” stenciled in one side, and “at jammin’ the copier” on the other. And for parents, there’s the pencil stating, “Yes, your child is gifted.” The other side reads, “at eating erasers and losing his jacket.” No one is safe from Brooks’ ridicule – least of all himself. Most is in good humor – even…


Kids’ interest in learning gets a lift at air show, STEM in the Park

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Saturday was a day for kids’ dreams to take flight. For the first time the STEM in the Park and the Wood County Air Show teamed up in their offerings, giving families a double dose of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, and yes, some arts and sports, activities. The result as Saturday’s Take Flight with STEM. Yolanda Robles-Wicks said in past years she’s attended the air show at the Wood County Regional Airport with her children. They see airplanes in the air, and the show gives them a chance to get inside the cockpit and see them close up. “It expands their horizons and shows there’s endless possibilities of what can be created,” she said. This year her children were again on hand, but Robles-Wicks was working. She’s  staff member at the project-based earning school iLEAD in the Holland. This is the public tuition-free charter school’s third year in Ohio, and first year at the air show.. The air fair fits right into what the academy teaches, said Monique Myers, the outreach coordinator. Students learn by doing. The academy was offering a hands-on activity at the air show. Kids got to build construction paper helicopters that had working LED lights in them. Robles-Wicks, a 2009 graduate of BGSU, said the project was selected because it was a change from the usual paper airplane. Over at the Perry Field House, activity spilled out on the lawn. More than 110 different stations were offered. Kara and Lucas Eisenhauer traveled to STEM in the Park from Fremont with their four children, ages 3 to 10. They’d spent almost three hours there and as the event was wrapping up regretted not getting there earlier. They were happy to learn that the air show was still going to be open for a while. Kara Eisenhauer said she was impressed by all the activities that were offered. Every station had something for children of different ages. “Each station seemed to engage everyone,” she said. “This is the most important way to teach kids. Give them a fun, hands-on activity.” She feels so strongly about this kind of learning that she quit her job as a teacher to stay at home to use these methods to teach her own children. Though college choices are still in the future for her family, Kara Eisenhauer said certainly BGSU would be considered “if this…


STEM in Park takes flight by combining with air show

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATION For the first time, STEM in the Park and the Wood County Air Fair will combine their events to make one large, multi-site event on Sept. 29 in Bowling Green. STEM in the Park, a free family day of hands-on fun at Bowling Green State University, will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Perry Field House, with free parking available. Meanwhile, all aspects of flight will be explored at the Wood County Regional Airport, with shuttle service available to transport families to both locations. The Wood County Air Fair will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. STEM in the Park will feature interactive displays and activities created by community partners, local businesses and area universities to engage children of all ages in STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – fields. More than 175 unique, hands-on STEM activity stations will be offered. The new Flight Zone, located at the Wood County Air Fair, will feature: C47, 825 and TBM Avenger aircraft displays Helicopter rides by Intrepid Helicopters (for a fee) Hot air balloon rides (weather permitting) Free airplane rides with the EAA Young Eagle Flight Program (ages 8-17) FAA Aviation Pilot and Aircraft Maintenance seminars (hosted by the Bowling Green Flight Center) Many hands-on activities “We like to have the event stay current with fresh ideas and themes,” said Event Coordinator Jenna Pollock. “My son has been into flying drones lately and this is what sparked our new Flight Zone idea. Plus, we love to partner with other community organizations and the Wood County Air Fair is a great fit.” Other activity zones back by popular demand for the ninth annual event are the Robotics Zone, Food Science Zone, Digital Media Zone, Science of Sports Zone and the H20 Zone, which explores the science behind all of water’s amazing uses. A Roots to STEM Pre-K-2 Zone is also back this year, featuring activities that cater specifically to younger children. The STEM stage will once again feature super-sized demonstrations from the Imagination Station and the Toledo Zoo. Activity station hosts include BGSU’s Marine Lab and Herpetarium, SSOE, Verizon, Challenger Learning Center of Lake Erie West, Nature’s Nursery, and more than 80 other institutions and organizations. STEM in the Park is the brainchild of Drs. Emilio and Lena Duran, both faculty members in BGSU’s College of Education and Human…


BG schools to get state funding to improve safety

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   More than $12 million in grants have been awarded to Ohio schools to improve safety. All of Ohio’s public, chartered nonpublic, and schools operated by county boards of developmental disabilities will receive the greater of $2,500 or $5.65 per student to spend on school safety programs and training. Bowling Green City School District will receive $16,627. Other schools in the city will receive $2,500 each, including Bowling Green Christian Academy, Montessori School, St. Aloysius, and Wood Lane School. Schools will have the flexibility to use these grants for training for school resource officers, safety and security materials, and programs to identify and help students who may be struggling with their mental health. Bowling Green Superintendent Francis Scruci said that school districts in the area haven’t received official word about the grants. However, Attorney General Mike DeWine sent out a press release on Friday listing the districts and the amount they would be receiving. “If there is money for us, we will use it,” Scruci said Monday morning. “As a board, that’s what we’re committed to.” Though the board will determine how the funding is spent, Scruci predicted it would be used either on safety training for staff or on installing more 3M film over glass doors at school buildings. The covering makes it more difficult for the glass to be broken enough to allow entry to a building. “It creates an obstacle for an intruder for two and a half or three minutes,” Scruci said. “The delay allows time to get people to safety.” The grants are funded with appropriations made by the Ohio legislature as part of House Bill 318. The law requires that participating schools and county boards work with law enforcement in their jurisdictions to determine the best use of the grant funding. School district are also being encouraged to take advantage of two new school safety efforts recently launched by the Attorney General’s Office: Active Shooter Response: An Educator’s Guide: This 25-part video series was produced by the Attorney General’s Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy to aid educators in preparing for and reacting to a potentially violent school incident, such as a school shooting. The brief videos are an update to the training offered by OPOTA beginning in 2013 that provided guidance to nearly 15,000 educators on how to intervene with students who could pose a danger and…