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Hands-on learning on horizon for Big Reds

T-L Photo/KAILEY CARPINO Superintendent and Bellaire High School Principal Derrick McAfee, right, congratulates high school student-athlete Mayson Sochor.

BELLAIRE — Superintendent and Bellaire High School Principal Derrick McAfee said a team of teachers from the district visited Noble Local Schools recently and returned with new ideas.

He said the teachers visited Shenandoah Elementary and Shenandoah High School and observed the district’s science, technology, engineering and math programming and work-study programs at the high school, along with the fully functional farm on campus that is cared for by the students.

“We were really interested in seeing what does it look like when you have kids engaged in different ways in a school. So you know, instead of desks in rows and doing the same traditional things — and there’s an element of that, don’t get me wrong. It’s not all people just sitting in groups and singing songs, but when you’re able to get your hands dirty and get really involved in project-based learning, that’s what you want to see. We were very impressed. I’d like to thank our friends at Noble Local for their hospitality. They fed us and everything. It was a great day,” McAfee said.

“The reason we go out and expose ourselves to these different things is to keep the fire lit. Things are good in Bellaire schools right now. It would be easy to sit back and say how we got this, let’s put it on cruise control. Our people aren’t like that. We owe it to our community, to our parents and to our kids to make sure we’re always looking for ways to do this better. … We’re always going to learn, and we’re always going to push ourselves. … I’m really proud of the work that all of our staff, our teachers, our students and our families have done, and it’s a great day to be a Big Red,” he said.

In other news, elementary Principal Ben Doyle gave the school board an update on “The Creation Space,” a production team made up of student volunteers.

“We’re sitting on a ton of video that needs edited by our students, so stay tuned. They’re working hard and they get excited, and they are doing it on their own. The other day, they wanted to film a bus video going over the bus rules. The kids scheduled the bus driver to come out. All I did was hand them the iPad. They went out with the driver and filmed it. So we have that raw footage, and now they have to edit it,” he said.

Doyle also said that second-grade teacher Aubrey Patrone recently had her students write persuasive essays addressed to him.

“I read them all and they got my stamp of approval, but overwhelmingly, they said that they wanted mirrors back into the restrooms. So what happened was, we painted all the walls in the restrooms. They look nice, but the mirrors didn’t go back on. I forgot about it. So they reminded me with great persuasive essays. The next day, the mirrors were back up, and they were excited. They were thrilled about the mirrors, and it just goes to show you how important our students’ voices are, no matter what age they are, that they have a voice that we’re going to listen to,” Doyle said.

The school district also recognized high school student-athlete Mayson Sochor.

“We have a state champion with us tonight,” board member Jim Thoburn said.

Sochor recently won the 2023 Ohio High School Athletic Association State Track and Field Championships division three 110-meter high hurdles at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium at Ohio State University in Columbus.

McAfee congratulated Sochor and presented him with a plaque.

Thoburn said Sochor previously broke his leg at a basketball game and needed surgery. He said that Sochor was participating in sports again just four weeks later.

Meanwhile, all members of the board voted to transfer $2,500 from the Middle School Principal Fund to the Middle School D.C. Trip Fund at middle school Principal Jennifer Berdine’s recommendation. The eighth-graders will be traveling to Washington, D.C., in April.

The school board also approved Leslie Morris to fill the position of substitute secretary and aide pending background check and certification.

The school board plans to hold its next meeting at 5 p.m. March 11 in the high school cafeteria.

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