Group of Ohio schools closer to $30M grant

WATERFORD – A group of Appalachian Ohio schools has moved one step closer to receiving a $30 million grant to support more personalized instruction in school districts including Wolf Creek, Warren and Noble Local.

“The Ohio Appalachian Collaborative has become one of the 31 finalists for this Race to the Top D grant,” Waterford Elementary Principal Doug Baldwin told members of the Wolf Creek Local Board of Education during Monday’s board meeting in the Waterford High School band room.

The OAC is a group of about two dozen school districts working together on the federal Race to the Top and other initiatives. The grant would be divided among participating districts for the development of personalized learning networks, which are intended to offer more differentiated instruction for students in sixth through 12th grades and help prepare them for careers.

Baldwin said the OAC’s is the only Ohio proposal still in contention. Five to 10 applications will be selected for funding, and the outcome should be known within three weeks, he said.

In other business:

* A Waterford resident said he was concerned about discipline at the elementary school because a great-grandchild of his had been bullied, resulting in the family choosing to home school their children.

Board President Hugh Arnold said specifics could not be discussed in an open meeting due to confidentiality issues, but invited the man to speak with Baldwin. Baldwin said the incident in question happened during the last week of the 2012-13 school year, but school officials were not notified of it. Families of the children involved apparently addressed the matter, and Baldwin said he didn’t learn of it until a few weeks before the start of the current school year.

“I wish I’d heard about it before I did because I would have addressed it,” Baldwin said.

The principal said school officials address every bullying issue that comes to them and do their best to monitor students’ behavior.

* The Waterford FFA’s parliamentary procedure team opened the meeting with a demonstration, carrying out an FFA meeting with an agenda presented to them on the spot.

“They had no idea what they were walking into,” FFA adviser Matt Hartline said.

Students explained the duties of the officer positions they held and conducted a meeting in which various matters were debated, including the tongue-in-cheek idea of paying for a school board member to go to the FFA national convention.

“I think that this would be a waste of money and time … because I don’t think they would have much fun with a group of teenagers,” FFA member Clayton Campbell said during the demonstration.