NwOESC Governing Board discusses policy changes

Staff report

The Northwest Ohio Educational Service Center Governing Board in Archbold held an organizational and regular meeting on March 23.

The meeting began with a moment of silence in remembrance of Sharon Badenhop, NwOESC payroll specialist, who passed away Feb. 24.

Brian Baker, Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) liaison, reported that Governor Mike DeWine signed House Bill 67, which made the following changes for the 2020-21 school year:

• Exempts schools from being required to administer an American History end-of-course exam

• Provides flexibility of state assessments by lengthening testing windows

• Extends use of final course grades in lieu of end-of-course exams for juniors and seniors

• Offers local flexibility to grant a high school diploma to students on track to graduate if, after consultation with teachers and counselors, the principal determines a student successfully completed the high school curriculum or an individualized education program

• Permits a student to qualify for a high school diploma by both successfully completing the curriculum requirements and earning the OhioMeansJobs Readiness Seal

• Requires the Ohio Department of Education to seek a federal waiver from accountability requirements

Baker also reported that student athletes participating in spring sports will not be required to quarantine if they have an incidental exposure to COVID-19 in a classroom unless symptoms develop. He said state ESCs will receive COVID-19 rapid tests that can be distributed to K-12 schools.

Christine Smallman, PhD, OSBA student achievement liaison, reported on Zanesville High School’s Life Plan program which offers students experience in a variety of career paths. She also discussed the introduction at Wayne Trace Elementary School in Maumee, of Lu technology, an interactive projector allowing students to learn and play simultaneously.

Smallman reported that many students didn’t take the SAT due to pandemic-related facility closures.

Homer Hendricks, NwOESC CFO/treasurer, spoke on the status of district service agreements for the 2021-22 school year, and discussed changes for non-public school service agreements in response to guidance from ODE.

Jill Gilliland, director of special education, said a group of Bowling Green State University student teachers obtained substitute teacher licenses through a new temporary licensing rule at ODE, making them able to serve as substitutes for their mentor NwOESC teacher if needed.

She also told board members a mobile dentist, through Ohio Dental Outreach, was at the IEC recently and provided free services to students that included a cleaning, x-rays, fluoride, and sealants.

Josh Clark, director of curriculum, instruction, and professional development, reported that an Aspiring Administrator’s evening will be held virtually in May. Facilitated by Clark and Andy Hunter, the workshop will allow prospective administrators the chance to ask questions about the job and lifestyle to a panel of current northwest Ohio administrators.

Clark also reported on the first in-person quiz tournament of the current school year, held March 11.

Chad Rex, director of technology and operations, highlighted the video and website work being done with the 2021 Franklin B. Walter event. He also gave an update on the energy project’s movement into the outside work and the solar array that will be located on the west side of the main office building.

NwOESC Superintendent Kerri Weir told board members Beth Hench has been selected to become superintendent of Ayersville Local Schools, effective Aug. 1.

She said Ohio’s ESCs have been asked to assist with the distribution of COVID-19 rapid test kits to schools and school districts in their respective regions. The process will be similar to deploying masks where regional drop sites were used for the initial disbursement. NwOESC will be allotted approximately 3,000 test kits for its service area, to be used to determine if school staff, students, or others are infected with COVID-19. Those taking the test utilize an App and TeleDoc support to guide them through the process and determine results within 15 minutes.

Weir also shared a summary of the pandemic’s impact on NwOESC and an update on COVID-19 Dose 2 vaccinations.

The board entered into executive session to consider the appointment, employment, dismissal, discipline, promotion, demotion, or compensation of a public employee, or official. No action was taken.

The next NwOESC Governing Board meeting will be held April 27, 6:30 p.m., at 205 Nolan Pkwy., in Archbold.

Staff report