The Wauseon school board moved forward Monday on a project to build new Board of Education offices for the district.
Board members passed a resolution approving the bid process for general contracting services. The $1.374 million building will be located along the south side of an East Oak Street access road leading to the elementary and middle schools. The building will closely match the design of the schools, which were financed in part through the Ohio School Facilities Commission.
Jerry Overmeir, an architect with Beilharz Consulting in Defiance, told the board plans for the building are finished and specifications are being produced. Overmeir said the final bid estimate was raised slightly due to Toledo Edison costs.
The deadline for bids is Dec. 22.
A statement released by the school district says the building’s site was selected because a parking area is already available there. It says the building will receive its electrical supply from extra resources built into the elementary school.
Construction will begin in 2018, with an anticipated opening before the 2018-19 school year begins.
Gifted Education Program coordinator Michelle Leatherman gave a lengthy overview of updates and revisions to the program put into effect July 1. She said the new operating standards “give us more flexibility as to how we can address our gifted population.”
Under the new regulations by the Ohio Department of Education, schools are required to identify students in areas of superior cognition, specific academic ability in reading and math, and creative thinking ability. The state does not pursue identification in science and social studies.
To identify gifted students, those in grades two and five undergo testing through CogAT, or superior cognition; the IOWA test which covers reading and math; and GATES, which tests creative thinking ability.
Leatherman told the school board it’s important to recognize that teachers must have 30 hours of high-quality professional development in gifted education in both the first and second year.
She said meeting the new requirements of the state is important because they have become a graded measure on the state report card.
Leatherman said some parents of gifted children have balked at requirements they feel make the students stand out or deprive them of some regular activities. But she added that they are permitted to turn down gifted services.
“We’re to a point where it’s not necessarily about drawing attention to those kids in a way that would negatively affect them…or make them feel different,” she said. “It’s just about challenging them and enriching them in ways they can do that within a classroom and not feel like they’re just being given extra work. It’s just about looking at where they are and saying they can go here instead, and doing it in ways that can fit in a regular classroom setting.”
Leatherman volunteered to oversee the gifted program in-house after the gifted coordinator from the Northwest Ohio Educational Service Center was cut during budget reductions in 2013. The move saves the school district $13,000 annually.
In other business, the board: accepted donations from the Wauseon VFW Post #7424 and the Wauseon Athletic Boosters totaling $1,845, to go toward school lunch programs and toward the purchase a display board for the natatorium; passed motions to approve modifications and supplemental modifications to the Fiscal Year 2018 Permanent Appropriations and Certificate of Estimated Resources; and approved a motion to accept a “then and now” certificate for the amount of $3,075 for a “Save A Life Tour” from MKR Services Inc.
Board members also approved motions to: approve an overnight trip to Dublin, Ohio, for high school FFA members to attend the 212/360 Leadership Conference Jan. 13-14; accept the resignations of Deborah Nafziger and Carol Wilson for the purpose of retirement; a parental leave for Andrea Stevens effective through the end of the school year; and a one-year limited certificated athletic contract to Mike Webster as a junior high school track coach for the 2017-18 school year.
In building reports:
• Primary School Principal Blake Young said the National Fire Safety Council presented a magic show to students focusing on fire safety and the steps to follow in case of an actual fire.
He said 87 students are in the Christmas Choir – so many, that the choir will be split so it can perform at both Fulton Manor and Heartland of Wauseon.
Second graders finished gifted testing, and reports are due soon.
Upcoming events include a Dec. 2 Craft Show and a Holiday Coin Drive Dec. 11-15.
• Third grade students at the Elementary School have completed AIR testing required for the Third Grading Reading Guarantee, with results expected Dec. 18. Students who achieve a score of 672 or higher will meet the promotion score; students with a 700 or higher meet the proficient category.
An Administration Tabletop Theoretical Safety Drill with Wauseon Police Chief Keith Torbet and Fulton County EMA Director Kelvin Freeman reviewed proper protocol in the case of a bomb threat.
Upcoming events include a choir concert Dec. 7.
• Middle School students were treated to a presentation by the Rifle Drill Team from Bowling Green State University during the school’s Veteran’s Day program. “It was really inspiring,” Principal Joe Friess said.
Student Council will assist with Fulton County’s Christmas Cheer program.
And eighth grade students will visit Fulton County Career Center next week following a visit to the school by a representative.
• High School students can attend intervention sessions to prepare for testing each day from 3-4 p.m. Testing is scheduled the week of Dec. 4
On Nov. 21, students attended a “Save A Life Tour” assembly to raise awareness about the consequences of poor choices and decisions while driving. They were invited to use simulators that mimicked distracted and impaired driving.
The Student Council will participate in the Fulton County Christmas Cheer program.
The school board entered into executive session to discuss personnel. No action was taken.
Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.