Bright Local talks upcoming basketball season


District receives student wellness money

By McKenzie Caldwell - mcaldwell@aimmediamidwest.com



Bright Local Treasurer Lana Fairchild (standing) presents the district’s five-year financial forecast at the district’s Wednesday board of education meeting.

Bright Local Treasurer Lana Fairchild (standing) presents the district’s five-year financial forecast at the district’s Wednesday board of education meeting.


McKenzie Caldwell | The Times-Gazette

Bright Local is preparing for its upcoming basketball season, Bright Athletic Director and Southern Hills Athletic Conference President Michelle Gleim reported at the school’s board of education’s Wednesday meeting.

According to Gleim, the district is finalizing how it will sell tickets to its home games. Though the district is considering selling tickets online to avoid the exchange of physical money, Gleim said that option presents its own challenges.

“The downside is the company charges a little extra money to do that,” Gleim said. “We would charge our normal ticket price — like, if a ticket’s $5 to get into a boys’ game, we still get the $5, but the company will charge above that for the extra ticket price.”

The district and Ohio High School Athletic Association is requiring everyone who attends sporting events to wear a mask.

Because of state COVID-19 guidelines for sporting events, which only allow indoor facilities to fill 15 percent of their capacity for events, the immediate families of Bright Local’s student-athletes will have priority.

Parents with students who play in both the junior varsity and varsity games will not be charged admission to both games.

Bright Local’s gym has a maximum capacity of around 786 people, according to Whiteoak Jr./Sr. High School Principal Jason Iles. Under state guidelines, approximately 117 people could be admitted to a Bright Local home game.

“We want to try to keep our kids safe and give them the opportunity to have a season,” Bright Local Superintendent Mike Bick said. “It’s not a good situation. We want to have the community involved; we would like to encourage as many to come to the games as we’re allowed, but the bottom line is that our kids still get that opportunity to play, and parents can be with them.”

Iles added that the district is installing a Hudl smart camera to its gym, which will livestream home games so community members and visitors may watch the games for free.

“Multiple neighboring districts that are in our league purchased a camera through [the NFHS network] — I wanted to steer away from that camera for multiple reasons,” Iles said. “One, it would cause our community members to have to pay to watch the games: $10.99 for a month or $59.99 for the year. I don’t think we want to get into that business.

“The second piece of that is that it’s a five-year contract, so they’re stuck with that camera for five years. I hope that Covid no longer exists in five years.”

Livestreams of home games will be available via YouTube, and the district only has a two-year contract with Hudl, Iles said.

In other news from the Bright Local Board of Education meeting:

* Bick reported that four students and two staff members were in quarantine awaiting test results. As of Wednesday, the district has not had any students or staff members test positive for COVID-19.

* Iles and Bright Elementary Principal Ty Stephens both noted a continued increase in the number of students eating breakfast and lunch at their respective schools.

Each student has been credited for meals purchased between Aug. 19 and Sept. 4 following the USDA’s announcement that it would allow schools to reimburse students for meals they purchased at the beginning of the school year, according to a statement from cafeteria supervisor Debbie Robertson, which Bick read to the board.

On Oct. 9, the USDA announced that it extended flexibilities that provide students with free breakfast and lunch through June 30, 2021.

All students, including those completing schoolwork through virtual learning platforms, benefit from the program.

Students who bring their lunches from home may also select a fruit item, a vegetable item and a milk at no cost.

Bright Local students completing their work virtually can pick up their meals on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10:30 to 10:45 a.m. at both school buildings. The district provides a total of 10 meals per student each week.

The families of any virtual students who are not yet signed up to pick up their meals should contact Debbie Robertson at 937-442-3114.

Bright Local families may also participate in the Bright Local Open Market, sponsored by the Freestore Foodbank. The market provides families with free produce.

The next market will be held at Bright Elementary on Tuesday, Nov. 3 from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

* Treasurer Lana Fairchild reported that the district received $180,000 in student wellness funding from the state.

Bick added that the student wellness funds allowed the district to meet all of the initiatives that it put forth last year, including stocking the Wildcat Closet and purchasing washers and dryers.

The district is now setting new initiatives, which include seeking an elementary teacher’s aide to provide social-emotional students with one-on-one support as necessary, Bick said.

The district is accepting applications for aides as of Wednesday.

The district is also accepting applications for a social-emotional learning coordinator, who Bick said will act as a liaison to connect families with services. Bick stressed that the person who fills this role will not serve as a social worker but will instead interact with the students in their classes and on their level.

Bick added that the district had identified five students who were in need of counseling and who may not be able to afford or otherwise access it. The district will use student wellness funds to provide these students with counseling opportunities, Bick said.

The district will also use student wellness funds to purchase new weight room equipment, as Bick said the old equipment is outdated.

According to Fairchild, the district is also using student wellness funds to pay four staff members.

* Stephens reported that the elementary school has been discussing and practicing safety.

Elementary staff are considering communication systems to alert one another if a student is missing during a drill or emergency event.

On Oct. 2, the elementary participated in a building evacuation drill that Stevens referred to as a “glorified fire drill.” During the drill, Stevens said he pulled a student at random during the drill to see how staff members would respond.

“The teacher sent her to the library; she was coming back from the library and got caught in-between [her class and the library during the drill],” Stephens said. “If it were a real-life emergency, those are the kids who would fall through the cracks. That’s why we’re really pushing this group text or app: accountability.”

* According to Iles, the district will add ACT prep opportunities for its high school students.

* At the end of the current nine-week grading period, Bick said the district will resume its volunteer program, so long as volunteers comply with the COVID-19 guidelines in place at the school.

* Iles reported that the high school is installing four “vape sensors,” which will notify Iles directly when it senses vape products, including products that contain THC.

The sensors are also capable of sensing gunshots, according to Iles.

Iles told board members that vaping is “a bigger problem than what you’d imagine,” though he added that he believes the high school eliminated a “big piece” of vaping opportunities among Whiteoak students, especially the sharing of vape products between students, when it closed bathrooms between class changes.

“I joke around with you guys that, if [vaping is] our most serious problem that we have disciplinary-wise, we are doing great,” Bick said.

The next Bright Local Board of Education meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 18 at 6 p.m. at Whiteoak High School.

Reach McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570.

Bright Local Treasurer Lana Fairchild (standing) presents the district’s five-year financial forecast at the district’s Wednesday board of education meeting.
https://www.timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2020/10/web1_bright-local.jpgBright Local Treasurer Lana Fairchild (standing) presents the district’s five-year financial forecast at the district’s Wednesday board of education meeting. McKenzie Caldwell | The Times-Gazette
District receives student wellness money

By McKenzie Caldwell

mcaldwell@aimmediamidwest.com