Local school district focus of confab

A SPECIAL joint effort between Harrison Hills City and Buckeye Local school districts will be the focus of a statewide educator’s conference this fall, according to district leaders.

Harrison Hills School Superintendent Dr. George Ash, Buckeye Local School Superintendent Mark Miller and director of operations Ed Kovacik will participate in the 2011 Ohio School Board Association’s Capital Conference at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. About 10,000 people are expected to register for the conference on Nov. 13-16, and local officials will present their Shared Services initiative during a panel discussion on Nov. 15. Also taking part will be school board members Deborah Kenny and Melvin Allen of Harrison Hills and Naoma Kolkedy and Alice Owens of Buckeye Local.

Ash said the two districts were asked by OSBA representatives to discuss the plan. “We will discuss how it has worked for us and how it could help other districts. It has been very beneficial for both Harrison Hills and Buckeye Local schools, and it is the first endeavor of its kind for the state.”

Ash said the goal was to reduce expenditures for both districts and to utilize Kovacik’s expertise to oversee operations in transportation and food services. Harrison Hills managed to turn a previously estimated $18 million deficit into positive cashflow through 2015.

Buckeye Local, which is currently facing its own fiscal woes, had a post opening and the shared services plan allowed Kovacik to fill the void.

Kovacik, an educator for the past 36 years who most recently served as Harrison Hills’ director of transportation and food service, began tackling both duties on Feb. 14 of this year. His job description entails supervising the management of school district operations, assisting with budget development and long-range financial planning in areas of direct responsibility, approving payroll, managing the district’s insurance programs, serving as transportation and food service supervisor, advising the superintendent on all questions related to transportation and food service and performing operations-related or any other duties assigned by the superintendent.

He is familiar with all aspects of district operations since has served as a licensed bus driver and on-board instructor for drivers, plus as principal and district transportation and food service director for Harrison Hills. Kovacik oversees more than 30 employees in each district and manages 47 bus routes within nearly 500 square miles, plus he operates 17 cafeterias for an estimated 4,000 students.

Miller said Kovacik’s involvement has made the venture successful because it boasts three key components: good people, communication and flexibility.

He also added that Kovacik was ranked No. 1 in the state [for the Harrison Hills transportation system per a recent state audit].

“We’re showing the state that two school districts are taking the lead with shared services and it’s very successful,” Miller said.

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CONGRATULATIONS ARE in order for Chance Strane as the 18-year-old recently attained the status of Eagle Scout.

Strane, the son of Michael Strane and Patty Nice, was honored during a special ceremony hosted by Cadiz Boy Scout Troop 269 in Wallace Lodge at Sally Buffalo Park.

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A BENEFIT auction will be held next Saturday for the Scio Amish Schoot.

The event will be held at the farm of Mahlon Yoder located on S. R. 332 beginning at 10 a.m. and will include a variety of new and used items.

Items will include benches, Ash 2 1/2 door china hutch, checker board table, hickory rocker, singer sewing machine, homemade rugs, clothes pin dryers, child’s play wagon, vinyl folding picnic table, lawn rake, garden hoe, 50-garden hose, shovels, 2 wheel barrels, buggy battery, socket set, open end wrench set, steel evener, lawn mower, cordless drills, digital inverter {200 watt}, push broom, clock, pet toys, washers board game, corn hole game, Schrade pocket knives, new bio single driving harness, 1 set draft harness, 100 lbs of feed, 30 bales of hay 1st cut, farm sled, miniature pony, tie ropes and halters, firewood, 1 load of limestone 6-8 ton.. and more items not listed!

Auctioneer David Miller will be heading the auction.

A lunch stand, bake sale and Chinese auction will also be held.

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A SOFTBALL tournament will be held July 23 and 24 at the Jewett Park ball fields to raise money for the Jewett Softball Organization.

The Girls Fast Pitch Softball Tournament is for teams comprised of girls 12 and under. To enter a team, call Dan or Tammy Dray at 740-946-7941. There is an entry fee of $100 per team.

Games will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

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THE HARRISON Hills City School district will boast an effective rating on its report card through the Ohio Department of Education.

Superintendent Dr. George Ash said the final report card will not be announced by the state until August, but preliminary results show the district received its second effective rating in a row. He cited hard work on behalf of faculty, staff and students, particularly at a time when the district has undergone of series of changes.

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THE JEWETT Wildcat Community Center will host another Wildcat Night on July 15 from 6-10 p.m.

Movies, basketball, batting cages, black light lazer tag, crafts and fooseball will all be offered with something for all ages.

Admission is $3 for members and $4 for non-members with additional fees for batting cages and lazer tag.A concession stand will be available. Children nine years of age and younger must be accompanied by an adult.

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“Jammin for Joplin,” an activity to support the residents of Joplin, Missouri, a community devastated by a spring tornado, will be hosted by the Scio American Legion on July 30 from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m.

Featuring Jim Yoss and The Ben Davenport Band, the donation only show will have all monies going to assist military veterans and their families in that area.

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FIVE EDUCATORS in the Harrison Hills City School District now carry a new designation after completing the Ohio Master Teacher Program.

School board members recognized the inaugural members during the June 29 regular meeting in Cadiz. Superintendent Dr. George Ash lauded Georgina Kim Morgan, Jennifer Ryder, Charlotte Sayre, Lisa McAfee and Julia Carman for their endless dedication to preparing tomorrow’s leaders today.

“It is with great pleasure that the Harrison Hills Board of Education recognizes these terrific individuals for being known as master teachers. They have devoted countless hours to help their students make the most of themselves,” said Dr. Ash. “We congratulate them on their hard work during their tenure and for achieving the title of master teacher.”

Adrienne Cook, chairperson of the district master teacher program, explained that all five participants had one month to prepare a portfolio containing evidence of their work from over the past five years. The submissions had to met criteria set forth by the Ohio Department of Education in 2007. They are derived from Ohio Senate Bill 2, which defines a master teacher as one who “demonstrates excellence inside and outside the classroom through consistent leadership and focused collaboration to maximize student learning.” A master teacher must demonstrate exemplary scores in four of five areas using criteria described in The Ohio Standards for the Teaching Profession, such as consistent leadership, focused collaboration, distinguished teaching with focus on students and the environment, distinguished teaching with focus on content, instruction and assessment and continued professional growth.

Eligible educators must hold a valid permanent certificate or a professional license or certificate; have taught for at least seven years; work a minimum of 120 days during the current school year; and work under a teaching contract or be employed as a teacher. In addition, teachers and other instructional personnel working outside of the traditional classroom are eligible to apply.

“This is the first time we’ve implemented the program in the district,” Cook said, adding that the grading was also based on ODE regulations. “There are criteria teachers have to meet according to the state. They put a portfolio together with answers and evidence to meet those criteria. Two readers read each portfolio, and if they agreed the portfolio was exemplary the teachers received the master teacher title.”

All five submissions made the grade and the “master teacher” title carries some extra clout for its bearers, including certification, a one-time stipend from the district and earned status that could result in becoming a lead teacher. Once they receive the master teacher designation, they retain it for a period of five years.