The board accepted two grants and several donations at Wednesday’s Bright Local Board of Education meeting that will greatly benefit students, superintendent Mike Bick told The Times-Gazette.
One grant, the Coronavirus Relief Connectivity grant, provides the district with $5,000 to purchase internet hotspots for Bright Local families with limited or no access to the internet and whose students are enrolled in the district’s virtual option.
As of Friday, Bick said the district is in the process of reaching out to families who indicated they had limited to no access to internet services on a previous survey.
The district will loan the hotspots to Bright Local families for the school year, which will enable students to complete their work from home.
According to Bick, the district already has hotspots available on campus, which students can connect to from the parking lots.
Earlier this year, the district also purchased Chromebooks and iPads for each student.
Another grant, the Neediest Kids of All Grant, provides the district with $500 toward its “Wildcat Closet,” which provides students in need across the district with items like shoes, clothing and hygiene products.
The board also accepted a donation of $1,923, which enabled the district to purchase six 10-foot by 20-foot outdoor canopies, which the district had already purchased and assembled by Friday. The canopies allow Bright Local Elementary students to hold class outside and work on “outdoor labs,” Bick said.
“The teachers are excited; the kids are excited,” Bick said. “They get to take their lessons outside and drop that mask for just a little bit.”
The board also accepted the following donations: $706 for art supplies for Mrs. Kibler’s art class, $250 for classroom books for Mrs. Schwartz’s class, $1,801 for a concert bass drum stand for elementary music class, and multiple file cabinets, valued $10,000, which the Cincinnati division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation donated.
In other news from the Bright Local Board of Education meeting:
* The board held a reception for Bright Local retirees Martha Bratton, who worked as a cook; Nancy Lucas, who worked as an educational aide; and Tim Hart, who worked as a custodian.
* During the principals’ reports, Whiteoak Junior High and High School Principal Jason Iles and Bright Elementary Principal Ty Stephens commended coordinators for working with parents to ensure the success the district’s virtual option.
* Special education coordinator Lisa Beresford commended her staff for going “above and beyond” to meet the needs of the district’s IEP students, Bick said.
* Bick presented on Bright Local’s school report card, which he said does not include the scores districts are used to.
Each year, the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) provides each school district in the state with “report cards” that grade schools based on student data such as test scores and graduation rates as well as other standards.
“The school report cards really don’t contain a lot of the student data because of last year’s tests being canceled due to COVID,” Bick said. “There aren’t a lot of student growth indicators on the grade card.”
The next Bright Local Board of Education meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14 at Whiteoak High School.
Reach McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570.