Old school gets new tenants
By Jane Beathard
Lights are on at the former Plain City Elementary School on West Main Street as the building becomes home to Daily Needs Assistance, Inc., a local community service organization.
On Monday, members of the Jonathan Alder Local Schools Board of Education approved a 12-month lease agreement between the school district and Daily Needs Assistance. Alder schools will receive $1,000 in monthly rent for the building.
Superintendent Gary Chapman said activity around the building is picking up and workers with Daily Needs are refurbishing some rooms. Chapman showed pictures of the construction progress.
He also displayed pictures of roof repairs underway at Monroe Elementary School in Plumwood. Those repairs, required by previous faulty construction, are slated for completion by Dec. 21.
Principal Leah Ann Childers said the new roof warmed the building.
“The change in climate control is very good,” Childers said.
Also on Monday, school board members approved the state’s Third Grade Reading Guarantee as a district policy with Steve Votaw casting the only dissenting vote. Votaw said he preferred to wait until the Ohio Department of Education provides more direction on implementing the guarantee.
Ohio’s new Third Grade Reading Guarantee, legislated in June, that says students who enter the third grade in 2013-2014 or after must score at a certain level on Ohio’s third grade reading achievement assessment to be advanced to the fourth grade.
Alder’s assistant director of curriculum and learning Shawn Heimlich said the new law requires early annual testing for K-3 students to determine their reading ability. The district must immediately provide lagging students with intensive reading instruction and develop plans for improving their skills.
Parents must be notified and the district must monitor each child’s progress. Students who fail to read at third grade levels by the end of that school year will be retained. Retained students must receive 90 minutes of intense reading instruction daily from a reading-certified teacher.
Heimlich said procedures for implementing the new policy will likely change next year. However, the district may need to hire additional teachers or require additional certification for current teachers.