McClain High School saw the addition this year of technology classes and teacher Nathan Luke talked to the members of the Greenfield Exempted Village School District Board of Education on Monday about the progress of the students and the courses so far.
According to Luke, there are three different classes: introduction to technology, advanced programming, and website development.
All told, there are about 70 students taking the introduction classes, Luke said, about 35 in the website development, and 10 students in the advanced programming class.
“We’re getting into some really cool things” that have not been done at the school before, Luke said.
Luke said professional development is upcoming for teachers and a few of the advanced programming students will be doing the teaching for that.
“They’re pretty excited,” he said, adding that some are already planning to assign their teachers homework, which stirred laughter from board members.
Luke also told board members of the hope to be able to purchase Lego Robotic kits for middle schoolers to help ignite their interest. He said the kits provide simple instructions and coding to build the robot, but that the way the program works allows the students to more easily “see the fruits of their labor.”
The high schoolers in the technology classes would serve as mentors and Luke said they are “really excited” about the possibility.
McClain High School Principal Jason Potts added that the robotics avenue is one way to help kids “find their niche.” He said not all kids play sports, sing, or dance, and robotics would offer them something other than the traditional activities, while also providing technology skills to use in college and beyond.
Right now, Luke said, the website development students are in charge of the school’s website, but there’s talk of them being in charge of a South Central Ohio League site. With that would come not only the experience, but the potential for income that could help fund the robotics plans.
In other business, superintendent Joe Wills talked about the new time capsule to be installed into the cornerstone at McClain High School.
A 101-year-old time capsule that was removed in early September was 5 inches by 9 inches by 5 inches, according to Potts. The recess from which it was removed from the stone is roughly the same size. Boring out the stone to make room for a larger time capsule is being explored.
Suggestions for what is to be included in the time capsule are being taken by the administration. The date on which the new time capsule will be installed is yet to be determined.
On another matter, consent agenda items approved included the acceptance of a $26,989 donation for the Shirley Birkhimer Scholarship, the adoption of the Title 1 parent involvement policy, and the schedule for a trip to New York City at the end of May by the McClain band and Tigerettes.
Also approved was the district’s five-year forecast. The forecast, district treasurer Joe Smith said, is done each year in May and October and is a requirement of the state. The projected year-end balances for the next five years are as follows: 2016 – $8.02 million, 2017 – $ 8.14 million, 2018 – $8.31 million, 2019 – $ 8.41 million, and 2020 – $8.46 million.
Smith said the numbers are known for this fiscal year, but everything after that “is just a guess.”
The forecast is affected by “many variables,” he said, the largest one being the state budget. And as the state budget and other variables factor in, the projections are modified accordingly, he said. The forecast, he said, is “a snapshot in time of what we know right now.”
Smith also spoke of the state’s funding formula, saying the “design” has benefited school districts across Highland County in that the three main “drivers” determining funding are to be based on valuation per pupil, median income, and the ratio of agricultural values to the total of all values.
In other matters, board members recognized junior Veronica Olaker for recently being named first-team All-South Central Ohio League, and for qualifying for the district tournament.
Employment recommendations as approved by the board were as follows: Cathy Rivas, elementary art; certified substitutes — Brooke Alexander, Jane Ann Miller, William Barber, and Virginia Matesic-Little; Eleanor Snodgrass, bus driver; Nathan Cook, bus driver; Tricia Uhrig, clerical, aide/monitor, cafeteria; Brooke Alexander, aide/monitor, cafeteria; Drew Hamilton, seventh grade girls basketball; Jake Orr-Zody, winter weight room; Katrina Dettwiller, head coach girls swimming; Shane Paul, varsity wrestling; Garrett Smith, assistant swimming; Destry Snyder, middle school wrestling; and Dylan Trefz, volunteer wrestling.
The next regular meeting of the board of education is scheduled for Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. at Buckskin Elementary.
Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456, ext. 1681, or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.