My name is Dana Kovach. I live in St. Clairsville, Ohio. Recently I have withdrawn my children from a private school and enrolled them in Bellaire Elementary and Bellaire Middle School. I was very apprehensive and quite frankly just flat out scared to take my children from the sheltered environment of a private school atmosphere to a public school environment.
My oldest son has been on quite a journey with his health and facing issues that most pre-teens never have to deal with. He has no right eye, lost a majority of his teeth and his skull is not symmetrical which is very noticeable. I wanted more than anything for my son to experience normalcy. My major concerns were education and bullying, my oldest son does not have the same options that may be available to other students. He cannot play sports and the military is not an option, so his education needs to maximized to its absolute full potential and I don't think I could handle my son be bullied, he has been through enough. With that being said, you would think the Private school would be the way to go, but it was just too much for him to handle. Principal Derrick McAfee and the staff of Bellaire Middle School have been nothing short of amazing. When they say they have a bully free zone, they do. They have zero tolerance. Bellaire Middle School has met and exceeded every single need of my son's needs. They have put my mind at ease, and my son is happy and doing amazing.
My youngest son had only done one school year at private school; his transition was smooth and easy. I immediately saw a change in my son. He loves to go to school and is doing great. It was actually Mr. Derek Ault, the principal of Bellaire Grade School that convinced me to give the middle school a chance. Mr. Ault is not feared by his students, he is adored. He is also an amazing educator and truly cares about Bellaire Elementary.
I was going to home school my oldest because of his medical issues, but Mr. Ault sent me to speak with Mr. McAfee and it was a done deal. Never have I ever been so impressed with a school district. Just from what I have seen and experienced, I know that my decision to enroll my children in Bellaire Public Schools was definitely one of the better decisions I have ever made. Not to mention they have been rated Excellent time and time again by Ohio State standards, they truly care, and are dedicated to giving all children an amazing education experience.