Most local school districts will experience something new or different this academic year, according to their administrators.
Perhaps the most discussed “new” category item is the Wauseon school district’s policy forbidding students from lunching on outside vendor-prepared food. Beginning this school year, no fast foods or snack food items purchased by or for students from outside sources will be permitted in the school district’s cafeterias. The policy includes fast food or other outside foods parents may want to deliver at lunchtime to celebrate a birthday or other event.
“Our wellness policy in the district doesn’t support foods that don’t meet the state guidelines,” said Troy Armstrong, the primary school’s outgoing principal, who served as the district’s wellness administrator. “If you didn’t buy it in the cafeteria, or didn’t pack it at home, you can’t bring it.”
Armstrong said any student bringing vendor-prepared food items purchased outside of the school will not be permitted to bring them into the cafeteria. The policy does not include items in a bagged lunch prepared at home.
This is the first year the policy is being implemented, and Armstrong said the district is will strictly enforce it. He said the policy is supported by a majority of parents, many of whom had already questioned why outside vendor-prepared foods were being permitted.
“We provide a good education, and we also provide a sound, nutritional lunch,” Armstrong said.
He said vending machines available to upper-grade students sell food that meets state guidelines.
As for changes at the individual Wauseon school buildings:
The primary school has adopted a new language arts curriculum called “Journeys.” A product of the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Company, the curriculum is updated and aligns with Ohio’s Common Core standards. Armstrong said it includes support materials for the full gamut of educational needs.
At the middle school, eighth grade students will take over principal Joe Friess’ longtime practice of offering a daily inspirational message during school-wide morning announcements. Over the course of the current school year, each of the school’s 160 eighth grade students will take a turn at researching an inspirational message from a prominent figure and expanding on its meaning.
All Wauseon high school students will adopt a new language arts curriculum provided in digital format. The curriculum aligns with the students’ use of Chromebooks in the classroom.
Other school districts in Fulton County will also see changes.
Fayette Local Schools Superintendent Erik Belcher announced the district is going digital. In October, students in grades seven to 12 will be issued Chromebooks and begin following Google’s Classroom, Drive, and Docs programs online.
The students will have access to online versions of textbooks, and the ability to download lessons, complete work at home, and deliver their results online directly to their teachers. The teachers will be able to share online documents directly with students and staff.
The digital system will cut down on paper usage and management of technology, allowing instructors to focus more of their energies on the students, Belcher said. It will also free up laptops and iPads for use in lower grades.
The school district purchased 205 Chromebooks at a cost of $44,000 from its general fund. Next year, more will be purchased for use in grades four to six.
“It’s a big step,” Belcher said of the transition. “It makes things a lot more efficient, and hopefully a lot more organized for our teachers and students.”
Pettisville Local Schools are welcoming a new secondary counselor, Amanda Wyman. She replaces Jacinta Nafziger, who accepted a position with Ida Public Schools in Michigan.
Wyman earned a bachelor’s degree from Wright State University, with a major in psychology. She received a master’s degree and counselor education from the University of Toledo.
She previously directed the “Safe and Caring Schools” program at the Four County Family Center.
The district also has included Lexie Semer, a speech and language pathologist assigned to preschool to 12th grade. She is employed by the Northwest Ohio Educational Service Center, and will be at Pettisville three days per week.
Semer replaces Erin Dilorenzo, who accepted a position closer to her home.
Evergreen schools are seeing the largest staff turnover in the past seven years. Superintendent Jim Wyse said 20 new staff members have arrived, including 13 teachers and high school principal Josh Clark.
Two more propane buses have been added to the district’s fleet of three. Last school year the propane buses saved the district about $15,000 in fuel costs.
“We’re excited about the possibility of saving money, but there are so many other advantages,” Wyse said, including a quieter and more environmentally friendly ride.
And the faculty of Archbold schools has been introduced to a “Positive Energy” theme for the academic year. Superintendent Aaron Rex said all teachers will read “Energy Bus,” a book by Jon Gordon. Gordon will be the featured speaker at a presentation later this year.
David J. Coehrs can be reached at 419-335-2010.