COLUMBIANA - About a quarter of the parents of Crestview students in grades kindergarten through third received a letter indicating their student was in danger of not meeting the third-grade guarantee.
Elementary Principal Marian Dangerfield reported to the Crestview Board of Education Wednesday the district would be having a meeting Thursday evening for parents concerned about the third-grade guarantee or unfamiliar with it. The newly passed regulation for Ohio schools requires students to pass a reading test at the end of their third-grade year or the student will be held back.
Dangerfield said 291 letters went home letting parents know their students are on track to pass the guarantee at this time. However, any student who tested as below average or even on the bubble, got one of the 84 letters stating they are not on track. Dangerfield said about 5 percent of students are truly below average.
Students in grades kindergarten through second grade have plenty of time to catch up. However, the biggest concerns are for the 26 students in the third grade, whose parents received letters.
Dangerfield said parents have already started contacting her with concerns about their students' progress.
Both Dangerfield and Special Education Director Dan Hill spoke about the intervention programs the district already has in place to assist students in danger of falling behind. Parents have also been asked to become involved this year, spending 20 minutes each day practicing their child's reading.
Hill also suggested the school could be more supportive of preschool programs. Currently the district has 32 slots for preschool with 16 of the slots going to youngsters already identified as having disabilities. He believes the district could fill another classroom if it had the space.
At an earlier meeting it had been noted students entering kindergarten come with a wide-range of background experience when it comes to reading, including those who have never been read to, those who just learned their ABCs and those already beginning to read short words.
In other matters:
-The board voted to decline its turn for Ohio Schools Facility Commission dollars, a matching program to help schools build additional space. The board voted to defer participation until another year.
-Middle school Principal Jeff Richardson reported to the board a survey among Crestview Middle School students shows the average student is between 10 to 13 years old, yet 63 percent of them have Facebook accounts, even though Facebook does not allow those under the age of 13 to sign up. Additionally, 70 percent of the students have cell phones.
Still, students say most of the bullying which takes place at Crestview is not cyber bullying or physical confrontations. Most is simply students saying mean things to each other.
When asked by a board member to explain the definition of bullying, Richardson said one student has a perceived unfair advantage over another, not simply two equally powerful students arguing.
Richardson said he would like to find a way to get students to talk to someone at school about bullying issues. Currently, most of the students tell a friend first or a sibling. Parents are third. Teachers, the first adults at school they would contact, are only fifth on the list.
-The board approved a contract with Tim Hephner Lawn Care for snow removal at the school properties. The contract is $100 more than last year, which was explained as a result of the increases in fuel cost.
-The board granted supplemental contracts to Sheena Montgomer as the teacher mentor through the Race to the Top Advanced Placement Virtual Grant, the program which allows the district to have AP Biology, and for Randi Yazvak for 20 extended days to complete the training for Project Lead the Way.
-The board approved joining the Stark County Schools purchasing program, which allows districts to participate in cooperative purchasing and other programs.