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Go to Southwest Ohio education news.


Columbus City Schools Will Remain In Remote Learning Until January 15

WOSU |

The district began a weeks-long process to bringing students back into the classroom with a blend of in-person and virtual learning on Monday. CCS is reversing course due to the recent spike in coronavirus cases in Franklin County, Columbus City Schools Dr. Talisa Dixon said in a letter on the district’s website.

“The large number of factors impacting our planning and decision-making change on an almost daily basis,” Dixon said. “As we learned last week, the most critical of those factors — our local health data on COVID-19 — is trending in the wrong direction.”

The district plans on allowing small, specific student groups who require in-person instruction to take part in hybrid learning beginning November 2, Dixon said.

Kettering board votes to return students to schools amid COVID-19

/ Dayton-Metro, re-opening schools

Dayton Daily News |

The Kettering City School District Board of Education voted 4-0 Tuesday night to accept a hybrid approach in transitioning to face-to-face education for the first time since March.

“The reason for the hybrid (model) is to make sure all of the protocols are followed,” Superintendent Scott Inskeep told the board. Board President Jim Ambrose agreed, saying “let’s follow all of the directives.”

The district’s plan includes three options, which would have students starting in-person learning, starting Nov. 9 on different schedules amid COVID-19. “It is important for students to transition back to face-to-face learning on a hybrid schedule,” the plan states.

Bucyrus schools consider dropping ‘Redmen’ name for athletic teams amid racism concerns

/ Central Ohio, social-justice, sports

The Columbus Dispatch |

Bucyrus City Schools use the name “Redmen” for their athletic teams, and a logo that depicts a Native American in stereotypical way. School board members were challenged to reconsider their use of the during a meeting last week.

Lycia Maddocks of the National Congress of American Indians joined the virtual meeting Thursday evening from her home in the Washington, D.C., area. She’s the group’s vice president of external affairs.

Bucyrus City Schools enrolls a little over 1200 students and is located between Upper Sandusky and Mansfield.

Maumee High School history class given conservative media PragerU videos for extra credit

/ curriculum, NW Ohio

WTOL |

An extra credit assignment option has raised concern for one Maumee High School student and her mom. HuffPost reports that a 10th-grade history teacher made available PragerU videos, along with a series of questions as extra credit options. Prager University is, according to a video in the “About Us” section of their website, “a conservative media company that happens to be a non-profit.” 

The WTOL article includes links to the HuffPost article, PragerU, and includes the districts response.

The Cost of Reopening Schools Safely – Euclid City Schools

/ coronavirus, finance-funding, NE Ohio

Spectrum News 1 |

From portable fogging systems to thermal imaging cameras, Euclid City School District in Northeast Ohio has seemingly thought of it all in terms of protecting its students and staff from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The additional technology and cleaning equipment plus the over 1,100 gallon drums of hand sanitizer ordered, 10,000 customized Euclid Schools face masks for students, and additional 40,000 disposable masks, and more…the price does not come cheap.

“Altogether we’ve spent about $790,000 on all the layers of protection that we put in place within the district,” said Patrick Higley, executive director of business operations at Euclid City School District.

DeWine Says In-Person K-12 At Stake With COVID-19 Increases

/ coronavirus, re-opening schools

Statehouse News Bureau |

DeWine says the increasing cases and hospitalizations for COVID-19 through community spread can be a main indicator for in-person classes for children. There are no plans for a statewide shutdown of in-person education, which happened in March. However, he says the local districts base their future plans on the spread of the virus in each county. 

(more…)

Following strike, Ohio school districts’ new contract includes COVID-19 specific language

Ohio Capital Journal |

The Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools’ one-year contract, obtained from the district through a public records request, includes a 2.5% wage increase, but also an entire appendix explaining learning models amid COVID-19, creating a “COVID-19 Concern Committee,” and laying out health and safety provisions for the 2020-21 contract year.

(more…)

Parent sues Hudson as schools resume in-person classes amid COVID-19 surge

Akron Beacon Journal |

The Hudson lawsuit filed by Jennifer Grega on Friday asks Summit County Judge Susan Baker Ross to block a decision made Oct. 12 by the local school board. Following that decision and after consulting with the county health commissioner Thursday about an increase in coronavirus cases, Superintendent Phil Herman moved to implement the new rules Monday, accelerating the district’s staggered reopening plan by requiring hundreds of younger students to report to class.

(more…)

Ohio COVID-19 Spike Blocks Cleveland’s Hybrid Hopes For ‘Academically Vulnerable’ Students

/ NE Ohio, re-opening schools

The 74 Million |

Cleveland on Friday joined a wave of urban school districts like Atlanta, Boston, Denver and Louisville, delaying or halting plans to bring students back to school, often in phases and often with neediest students first, because of a fall surge in COVID-19 cases.

Though district CEO Eric Gordon considered bringing early grades back first and leaving older students online, he focused in recent weeks on kids with special needs. He said Friday he had hoped for a phased re-opening next month for students with disabilities, English Language Learners who need extra support, seniors who are off-track for graduation and Career Technical Education students who need on-site training to earn career certifications.

Philanthropy Ohio and ODE Announce Grants from The Collaborative Fund for Educating Remotely and Transforming Schools

/ grants

ODE |

Philanthropy Ohio and the Ohio Department of Education are pleased to announce grants awarded to 28 projects, totaling just over $3.1 million and benefitting approximately 788,331 students across Ohio, through the Collaborative Fund for Educating Remotely and Transforming Schools (the Collaborative Fund). This public-private partnership aims to help schools and districts improve remote education practices and outcomes and to use remote education as a catalyst for re-imagining and re-engineering the delivery of high-quality caring , teaching and learning opportunities for Ohio’s underserved students.

Full press release available from the Ohio Department of Education.

Gahanna-Jefferson teachers’ union, board reach agreement, end strike

/ Central Ohio, HR

WCMH and The Columbus Dispatch |

“Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools Board of Education and the Gahanna-Jefferson Teachers Association have finalized an agreement that will bring our teachers back to the classroom for our students,” the district wrote in a release announcing the agreement.

According to the GJEA spokeswoman Betsy Baker, 98.3 percent of the union membership voted to approve the agreement. The agreement is for one year and will expire June 30, 2021.

The National Education Association, the country’s largest teachers union and the national affiliate of the Gahanna-Jefferson union, was unaware of any other K-12 strikes currently underway among its members Friday, spokesman Richard Allen Smith said.

The only other school district among NEA affiliates to go on strike so far during COVID-19 was St. Paul Public Schools in Minnesota. Teachers there went on strike for three days in March over a contract dispute, but reached a tentative agreement with the school district on March 13, during the start of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, according to the Star Tribune.

Mother/attorney drops lawsuit regarding mask mandate for East Muskingum students

/ coronavirus, legal

Zanesville Times Recorder |

The Zanesville attorney who filed a lawsuit against the East Muskingum Local School District, Zanesville-Muskingum County Health Department and Ohio Department of Health over the state’s mask mandate has dropped the case. 

Since filing the lawsuit, parent Jeanette Moll said she removed both children from the district due to their health and safety being at risk. Moll said that was part of the reason she dismissed the lawsuit. 

“The personal effects and harm that my children were incurring going to school with masks on, both related to asthma, and my son had abrasions on his face and there was a risk of scarring and some other issues going on with that,” Moll said. 

In her complaint, Moll argued that the actions taken by the state and local agencies are unconstitutional.

Columbus City Schools Begins Optional Student Orientation For In-Person Classes

/ Central Ohio, Ohio8, re-opening schools

WOSU |

Students in all grades have been entirely remote since the beginning of the school year. Under a plan released in September, the district originally proposed starting in-person instruction on Monday, but as the county experiences a resurgence of COVID-19 cases, the district will instead lead off with two weeks of optional virtual or in-person orientation sessions. 

All Strongsville Students Returning To School

/ NE Ohio, re-opening schools

Patch |

Despite an upgraded COVID-19 threat in Cuyahoga County, the Strongsville Schools are returning all students to classes starting today. At an emergency board meeting held Friday evening, the board decided to move forward with reopening plans. All students will soon be back in classrooms. As of Saturday morning, four Strongsville students have tested positive for COVID-19: two students at the middle school and two students at the high school.

Dublin student says kindness, not politics, is focus of her T-shirts for charity

/ Central Ohio, equity, student-voice

The Columbus Dispatch |

Lucy McGary wants all students to feel how she did when she read the words on her school principal’s T-shirt. It was more than just a piece of clothing, the rainbow letters stamped onto the black fabric.

As a young Black woman, reading the phrases “Women’s rights are human rights” and “Black Lives Matter” was, to 17-year-old McGary, a gesture of love and support, especially as she returned to school following a summer of civil unrest and racial tensions that left her feeling hurt.

But many in the Dublin community disagreed.

When McGary learned that the T-shirts worn by three educators at Dublin Scioto High School on Sept. 10 had caused controversy, and that they could no longer wear them, the senior didn’t want those good feelings to disappear. So she designed similar shirts of her own.

Some Athens City School students begin return to buildings through hybrid learning model

/ re-opening schools, SE Ohio

Athens News |

The Athens City School District Board of Education met via Zoom on Oct. 15 to discuss the schools’ phased reopening and other items. Groups of students — students who did not opt to learn remotely for the school year — have begun attending classes in their buildings for in-person instruction a few days per week. The days of the week that the students will not be attending in-person instruction, they will be learning virtually.

Cleveland schools CEO recommends district stay remote through winter break after Cuyahoga returns to ‘red’ status

Cleveland.com |

Cleveland schools officials will recommend students continue learning remotely, pending board approval, the district’s CEO said Friday afternoon. Eric Gordon said the news of Cuyahoga County’s return to “red” status, or Level 3 of coronavirus risk (Level 4 is the highest), guided the choice. This would indefinitely delay a plan Gordon had intended to roll out to begin moving the district back to in-person instruction, starting with the “most academically vulnerable students.

TPS investigates possible data breach

/ NW Ohio, tech

Toledo Blade |

A website called DataBreaches.net published on Friday a report alleging that Toledo Public Schools suffered a massive data breach that resulted in the online publication of sensitive information, included student’s addresses, dates of births, test scores, and Social Security numbers.

The report by DataBreaches.net says hackers posted sensitive information online that was obtained in conjunction with a ransomware attack that shut down virtual education in Toledo Public Schools during the first day of online classes on Sept. 8.

Ohio Museums Link Up To Create Statewide Holocaust Education Campaign

/ social-justice, social-studies

WVXU |

Cincinnati’s Holocaust and Humanity Center and Cleveland’s Maltz Museum will work together to ensure future generations are aware and will remember the Holocaust.

A recent study revealed 22% of millennials have never heard of the Holocaust. HHC CEO Sarah Weiss said more work needs to be done to make sure it’s not just a footnote.

“There’s stories, there’s museums, there’s books,” Weiss said. “I think there’s also at times an oversimplification that happens with it or this assumption that people know what it is when it’s said and actually people don’t.”

The museums cite a rise of antisemitism across the country as reason for the campaign. 

The museums will offer educational programming and workshops to reach thousands of Ohioans. Programs will be offered digitally, as well as in-person. They expect to offer more programming and create more partnerships throughout communities in the future.

The campaign comes as a state Senate bill has been introduced to create the Holocaust and Genocide Memorial and Education Commission.

Fairborn busing issue disagreement resolved ahead of state meeting

/ Dayton-Metro, HR, transportation

WKEF/WRGT |

Fairborn had asked the state on Tuesday to determine whether Monday’s absences constituted an unauthorized strike when 22 bus drivers called off work early that morning.

The matter prompted an emergency meeting with the State Employment Relations Board, but before the matter could be discussed, the union –Dayton Public Service Union Local 101 — and the district came to an agreement Thursday morning.

Students at Ohio charter schools show greater academic gains, report finds

/ EdChoice

The Columbus Dispatch |

A new report found many Ohio students attending charter schools had larger gains on achievement tests, better attendance and fewer disciplinary incidents compared to their peers enrolled in traditional public schools.

Black, low achieving, and urban students at the tax-funded, privately operated, and tuition-free schools benefitted most, according to the analysis by Ohio State political science professor Stephane Lavertu, “The Impact of Ohio Charter Schools on Student Outcomes, 2016-2019.”

The report was commissioned by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, an advocate for charter schools, which supporters say provide added educational opportunities for disadvantaged students.

Despite many learning virtually, Ohio Emergency Management focused on preparing schools for threats

/ school safety

WCPO |

Active shooters, severe weather and hazardous materials are just some of the threats Ohio EMA training and exercise supervisor David Nunley prepares for every day.

A new, virtual training toolkit is helping keep everyone on guard. The training kits can be customized school to school. The Ohio EMA wants to make it simple and easy for school districts to come up with the best emergency response plans for them.

The toolkits are designed to bring together administrators, teachers and staff with the different emergency responders in the area, but he said schools could include older students if they decide the content is age appropriate.

See all Ohio EMA Tabletop Exercise Toolkits

2 school districts change plans after Greene County moves to “red” level

/ coronavirus, re-opening schools

Dayton Daily News |

Beavercreek and Cedar Cliff schools, the largest and smallest public school districts in Greene County, will change their in-person models starting next week, after the state’s public health advisory system Thursday moved Greene County to the more serious “red” level.

Starting Monday, Beavercreek schools will switch from five days a week in-person to a hybrid model where students are divided into two groups. Cedar Cliff students will also be divided into two groups — a morning group and an afternoon group — with students still attending school five days per week, but for a half day.

Youngstown State Strike Comes to an End with Little to No Details

/ Higher Ed

Spectrum News 1 |

In an email sent to Spectrum News 1, the university wrote:

“The faculty strike at Youngstown State University is over. The union and university administration reached an understanding for the general framework on a three-year contract and will work out details for a tentative agreement. Classes will be held as usual starting Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020.”

The details surrounding the agreement haven’t been given. Earlier this week, faculty and staff took the picket lines with students voicing their support over social media. 

Ohio reports 589 new student cases in K-12 schools, 292 for staff, as state breaks records for daily cases

/ coronavirus

Cleveland.com |

This weekly update, which includes cases from last week through Sunday, is up from 347 new cases for students and 183 for staff a week earlier. Ohio, which began its school reporting system the week of Sept. 7, has now reported a total of 1,764 student cases and 975 for staff.

This map below incorporates multiple information sources to build an understanding of the General Education Models that Ohio districts are using for the start of School Year 2020-2021 as of October 15th, 2020. Districts have not confirmed the accuracy of these data in all cases, and districts remain the best source of up-to-date information on their respective reopening plans.

  (Map updated Oct. 15, 2020)

Poetry Out Loud Goes Virtual in 2021

/ literacy

Ohio Arts Council |

Ohio’s Poetry Out Loud (POL) program is set to host virtual events for its 2021 regional semifinals and state finals competitions.

For 16 years, POL has connected high school students to poetry from a diverse array of poets from around the world and across the centuries. Created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, POL is administered in partnership with the state arts agencies of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. 

POL encourages students to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary heritage and contemporary life.

Flexibility for educator licensure renewal

ODE |

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ohio Department of Education is providing deadline flexibility for educator licensure renewal. All licenses previously set to expire on July 1 now have been extended to Dec. 1, 2020. This extension allows additional time for educators to complete their renewal requirements. 

Akron school board promises inclusive, transparent search for next superintendent

/ leadership

Akron Beacon Journal |

The process to select David James’ successor kicked off somewhat unofficially Monday night, as the school board heard from two search firms who are vying to assist in the process. Both firms, the Ohio School Boards Association and K-12 Business Consulting Inc., each promised inclusive searches yielding diverse candidates. The board is expected to select a search firm at its Oct. 26 meeting.

‘Now we have to be strong for them’: Students join Gahanna-Jefferson teachers in strike

/ HR, student-voice

The Columbus Dispatch |

Dozens of students with homemade signs extended the picket line outside Gahanna Lincoln High School on Wednesday morning, standing alongside their teachers on their second day on strike. 

“People are telling me they can’t eat, they can’t sleep. They feel like their futures are on the line, all because a few adults can’t sit at the table and agree,” said Jason Raymond, president of the high school’s student council. Raymond, a 17-year-old senior, said he encourages all students to share their voices, regardless of how they feel about the strike. Students who gathered Wednesday organized the effort on social media.

To him, supporting his teachers is what feels right. “I’ve seen teachers cry today. They’re the ones who are usually strong for us. Now we have to be strong for them,” Raymond said. “I want the school board to look at the teachers and understand that no one would be doing this — giving up their pay, their health insurance — if they didn’t think it was important.”

New Data Show Ohio Charter Schools Have Seen 8% Jump in Student Enrollment During Pandemic, Fueled By 38% Surge in Students Seeking Online Programs

The 74 Million |

Nearly 8,000 more students are attending Ohio e-schools this fall compared to last academic year, a 38 percent increase, according to new data released Wednesday by the Ohio Department of Education.

Leading the way is Ohio Virtual Academy, where enrollment jumped nearly 5,700 students from about 11,800 last year to 17,500 this fall. That 48 percent spike in enrollment makes Ohio Virtual Academy, run by for-profit K12 Inc., one of the largest charter schools in the nation and the largest in Ohio history.

Ohio Connections Academy, the state’s second-largest online charter school, added about 1,200 students, boosting enrollment from 4,200 last year to 5,400. The school is run by the for-profit Pearson company.

But statewide charter enrollment of about 113,000 is still well below its peak of nearly 121,000 in 2013-14, right before a state crackdown on poor-performing charters and their authorizers.

Teachers, schools at odds over contracts, safety measurers

/ coronavirus, HR, re-opening schools

The Center Square – Ohio |

From second half of article – Pickerington teacher concerns over plans for no contact tracing.

Pickerington teachers say the district plans to use a specific medical grade mask to eliminate the need for contact tracing for teachers and staff. That, the union said in a Tuesday news release, goes against CDC guidelines.

“The risk of exposure in all of our schools is substantial, especially since it will be impossible to maintain any of the 3-6 foot social distancing requirements when all students are back in the classrooms together,” Pickerington Education Association President Heather Tinsley said. “We insist on transparency and prompt communication from the board regarding the guidance they are using and the data they are considering that makes them believe PLSD is in a position to fully reopen our school buildings.”

Pickerington schools currently operate under a hybrid return-to-class model.

Ohio school board appeals territory transfer case involving Plain Local

/ legal, legislation

The Repository – Canton |

Attorneys for the state Board of Education have appealed U.S. District Court Judge Michael H. Watson’s decision that declared the school territory transfer law – Ohio Revised Code 3311.242 – unconstitutional. The appeal will be heard in the 6th District Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.

Plain Local had sued the 19 state education board members and state Superintendent Paola DeMaria in their official capacities as part of its lawsuit to stop the Hills and Dales transfer because the transfer law puts the state superintendent in charge of its administration and enforcement.

Akron families surveyed split 60-40 on hybrid vs. remote end of semester

Cleveland.com |

As part of a school reopening discussion on Monday, leaders shared the results of a survey of more than 15,000 that showed parents split 60% to 40% in favor of a hybrid model. The district originally intended to start the school year in a hybrid model, but voted in July to return fully remotely.

The survey showed that a higher percentage of families with students in lower grades preferred the hybrid model than in higher grades, with 71% of respondents with kindergarten students, 67% for 1st grade and 61% for 2nd grade.

Gahanna-Jefferson teachers say strike is for students, district disagrees

/ coronavirus, HR, remote learning

The Columbus Dispatch |

A particular flashpoint is an expectation that teachers will place cameras in their classrooms, so students who are learning remotely from home can watch instruction in real-time. Teachers should be specifically dedicated to groups of students learning remotely, the union contends.

The district, meanwhile, says the union’s characterization of the situation is exaggerated. Teachers would not be livestreaming all day, but only for specific lessons, or for small group meetings, according to a statement released Tuesday afternoon. And groups of online learners would be just three to six students, as opposed to a full class.

Betsy Baker, the union’s spokeswoman, said its negotiating team has considered some proposals incorporating live-streaming, so the subject isn’t a deal-breaker.

But that doesn’t mean teachers aren’t concerned, especially those who have already experienced troubling disruptions on student webcams during lessons, including profanity and nudity, from their family members. They’re also worried about protecting the privacy of students in class.

The district hopes to hire enough substitutes to staff its online classes, a combination of internal hires and substitutes registered with the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio. 

Fairborn students back in person after bus drivers call off work

/ HR, transportation

Dayton Daily News |

Fairborn City Schools students were back in person on Tuesday after about a third of the district’s bus drivers were absent on Monday and a hearing has been called to determine if what those drivers did was an unauthorized strike.

Stacey Benson-Taylor, regional director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 8, which is the parent organization of the union that represents bus drivers, said bus drivers may have called off for coronavirus-related reasons, but this was “absolutely not” an authorized work stoppage or a coordinated effort on the employees part. The Dayton Public Service Union is the union that represents the Fairborn bus drivers.

Fairborn called a hearing with the AFSCME and the Ohio State Employment Relations Board to determine whether the employees’ actions constituted as an unauthorized strike. That meeting will be held online at 10 a.m. on Thursday.

Fairborn schools have had more issues with COVID-19 than most schools in the Miami Valley.