Bright Local Superintendent Mike Bick reported at Wednesday’s board of education meeting that his administrative team has adapted both proactively and creatively to the challenges this school year has presented.
The school district reported its first COVID-19 case earlier this month. As of Wednesday, Bright Local had seven positive cases involving students, Bick reported. In addition, 103 students, six staff members, and 10 bus drivers were in quarantine.
On Tuesday, the district transitioned into remote learning to ensure students’ safety.
Before the transition to remote learning, Bright Elementary Principal Ty Stephens and Whiteoak Jr./Sr. High Principal Jason Iles worked to give its students a sense of normalcy.
Stephens reported that the elementary held a modified award assembly to recognize students’ accomplishments. Stephens said only one class was in the gym at a time in order to allow for social distancing.
“The teachers and I both wanted to make sure we carried on with that,” Stephens said. “We couldn’t have everyone in the gym like it’s been done in the past, but the kids have worked hard, and we felt like they deserved that — even if it’s just a certificate or getting a free taco from Taco Bell.”
Iles reported that students created videos and posters for the district’s Veterans Day parade.
“We have amazing kids in the district,” Iles said. “There were some special messages. There were some personalized messages from those who were the family of veterans. It was very well done. I encouraged them to take those posters home and give them to the veterans in their families.”
Bick commended the principals for their work.
“I’ve been very impressed working with these guys as a team,” Bick said. “When Jason came to me [the morning the district decided to transition to remote learning], we started getting the plan together. It went boom, boom, boom. We called Ty. I’ve never worked with a good team like that before. It wasn’t just me hanging out there in the wind — these guys really have been a tremendous help to me, and they’ve been very creative in finding ways to continue with school, like the Veterans Day program, like the awards assembly. They’ve found ways to make sure the kids are provided opportunities in the midst of a bad situation.”
In other news from Wednesday’s meeting:
* The district’s trip to Washington, D.C. has been rescheduled for May 13-16, Iles told board members. He said he has been working with Martin School Travel to avoid canceling the trip, which would cause families to lose their non-refundable deposit.
“As long as they allow us to postpone it until things are better everywhere, I’m going to take advantage of that,” Iles said. “I still want the kids to have the opportunity to go. They worked hard.”
* Iles reported that high school administrators are working with students to ensure they are on track to meet graduation requirements. Administrators identified several students in grades 10-12 and created plans with these students to keep them on track.
* Bick informed board members of two Ohio House bills, HB305 and HB358, which will affect schools, if passed.
HB305 would “revamp school funding,” Bick said, by using property taxes and areas’ income levels to create a formula to better allot state funds. The bill would also increase funding for special education.
HB358, which Bick said some refer to as the “Covid bill,” would delay testing for two years. The bill is still in committee.
* Iles reported that staff was in the process of installing vape sensors in junior high and high school bathrooms. According to Iles, the sensors can also detect gunshots and monitor conditions such as air quality and light sensitivity.
* Iles reported that the district’s Hudl camera has been installed. The smart camera will track the ball during the district’s home basketball games. Community members can watch games on YouTube at no cost from home beginning Saturday. The district will post the link to the live video on its website and its social media pages.
Bick also reported that tickets to basketball games will cost $6 this year as the district is selling tickets through an online ticketing service. Student-athletes’ families will be able to buy up to two tickets for boys’ games and up to four tickets for girls’ games.
* The district is creating a timeline and cost estimate to assess what resources and preparations it would take to create a soccer program.
Bick also reminded board members that the athletic department may need financial support due to a decrease in revenue following the COVID-19 pandemic. The athletic department typically funds itself, Bick said.
Reach McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570.