Bird’s eye view: Fairfield’s 3 new schools

Published: Monday, June 19, 2017 @ 6:06 PM

            The new Central Elementary is being built directly behind the old Central School on Route 4. CONTRIBUTED
The new Central Elementary is being built directly behind the old Central School on Route 4. CONTRIBUTED

Fairfield City Schools officials have released a series of photos from high above its historic building projects.

The photos of the $80 million building projects, which will see two new elementaries — Central and Compass — and a new Fairfield Freshman school open Sept. 5 in the 10,000-student Butler County district, are recent aerial pictures.

WATCH: Iconic Fairfield Central Elementary demolished

The new Central Elementary will stand behind the old Central School on Route 4, which is scheduled to be demolished along with the adjacent Fairfield Freshman School starting this week.

The new Freshman School is being built adjacent to the Fairfield High School and across Holden Boulevard from that school will be the new Compass Elementary.

STORY & VIDEO: Take the first tour of the new Fairfield Freshman School

Fairfield school officials said all three school projects are on budget and on scheduled to meet the first day of classes target date of Sept. 5.

'Titanic' re-release sails to the big screen for film's 20th anniversary

Published: Thursday, November 16, 2017 @ 7:03 AM

10 Things You Never Knew about the Film “Titanic”

Near, far, wherever you are in the U.S., you can watch the tearjerker “Titanic” on the big screen again or for the very first time.

>> Read more trending news 

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the movie starring Kate Winslet, Leonardo DiCaprio and a floating piece of door that we still maintain really could have saved DiCaprio’s character, Jack, “Titanic” will re-release at all AMC Theatres starting Dec. 1

At some theaters, fans will even get the chance to watch the epic story of the doomed ocean liner in 3D.

“Titanic” will only be in theaters for a week. Tickets are now on sale at

Billie Lourd shares photo of mom Carrie Fisher, honoring ‘Star Wars, her last movie

Published: Friday, December 15, 2017 @ 6:08 PM

Honoree Carrie Fisher attends the US-Ireland Aliiance's Oscar Wilde Awards event on February 19, 2015 in Santa Monica, California. 
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty
Honoree Carrie Fisher attends the US-Ireland Aliiance's Oscar Wilde Awards event on February 19, 2015 in Santa Monica, California. (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty)

Billie Lourd is remembering her late mother, Carrie Fisher, in a touching Instagram post.

>> Read more trending news 

The touching photo Lourd shared Friday shows the pair clinging to each other on the red carpet of a recent movie premiere.

The mother and daughter starred in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” back in 2015, and now Fisher’s last movie, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” premiered in theaters on Friday. Lourd said she will forever cherish those memories.

“I’m a big believer of things happening for a reason and I think I ended up on that movie for a reason,” Lourd said in an interview with Ellen DeGeneres after losing her mother. “It was really incredible for us to get to have that experience together.”

Lourd lost both her mother and grandmother, Debbie Reynolds, within one day of each other last year.

Fisher died after going into cardiac arrest aboard a flight from London to Los Angeles. She died four days later.

ℹ️ ♏️ℹ️💲💲 ✌🏼🅾️⛎

A post shared by Billie Lourd (@praisethelourd) on

>> Related: Mark Hamill admits he and Carrie Fisher once ‘made out like teenagers’

Lourd has posted several tributes to her mother over the past year.

On Fisher’s birthday, she posted a photo of the two of them wearing matching night gowns when Lourde was a child.

In May, also shared another photo of her and her mother riding what appeared to be a train.

>> Related: Carrie Fisher once sent producer a cow tongue after friend was allegedly assaulted

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Middletown Schools’ Christmas For All shows what holiday ‘is all about’

Published: Friday, December 15, 2017 @ 5:34 PM

Middletown's Christmas For All shows Christmas spirit

John Hart from Team Fastrax, a Middletown skydiving team, summed up the craziness inside the Middletown Eagles Lodge on Friday morning the best: “This is what Christmas is all about.”

It was hard to hear Hart over the Christmas music, excited children running toward Santa Claus, students rolling on the dance floor and the occasional barking dog.

In other words: Christmas For All was a success.

MORE: Middletown neighborhood’s hundreds of luminarias a sight to see

Eight buildings in the Middletown City Schools District sent 160 students with special needs to the annual event, said Cathy McCausland, intervention specialist at Middletown Middle School.

She said the event depends on substantial donations from Middletown area business and numerous volunteers. The district purchased T-shirts for the students, but everything else — from the gifts to the food — was donated, she said.

“This group really does embody the Christmas spirit with laughter and celebration,” McCausland said.

Santa Claus, played by Middletown police officer Chris Alfrey, gave each of the students a bag from MidPointe Library System that contained a T-shirt and other gifts.

Ballerina, 13, makes history in Cincinnati ‘Nutcracker’ performance

Team Fastrax gave the students winter hats and allowed them to try on some of the skydiving helmets.

“It’s a real privilege for the team to come out and be with the kids and give them Christmas cheer,” Hart said. “Middletown is a great community and we’re proud to be part of it.”

Entertainment was provided by the Highview Sixth Grade Center and Middletown Middle School choruses. Deb Alexander, director of the groups, said performing at Christmas For All is the “highlight” of the season.

“It’s an opportunity to them to share the gift of music with the community,” she said. “And just to spread some Christmas cheer. There is just so much Christmas spirit here at this party.”

Dayton’s new data offers same worries about 8 schools

Published: Friday, December 15, 2017 @ 5:52 PM

            Dayton Public Schools is considering closing or combining multiple schools. Dayton Boys Prep Academy (above) is one of several schools whose student occupancy rate is listed below 50 percent. CHUCK HAMLIN/ STAFF
            Chuck Hamlin
Dayton Public Schools is considering closing or combining multiple schools. Dayton Boys Prep Academy (above) is one of several schools whose student occupancy rate is listed below 50 percent. CHUCK HAMLIN/ STAFF(Chuck Hamlin)

Dayton Public Schools leaders have changed the data they used to explain possible school closures Tuesday, saying the district’s 18 elementary schools are not as empty as they first told the school board.

But even in the new data, Dayton has several significantly under-enrolled schools — eight below 50 percent occupancy, compared with 11 in the original data — and the closure review is moving forward.

Those schools that remained the emptiest in the new calculation are Wogaman (28 percent occupied), Boys Prep (29), Rosa Parks (32), EJ Brown (36), Meadowdale Elementary (37), Meadowdale High (43), World of Wonder (46) and Westwood (48).

EARLIER: Union urges DPS not to rush through closure study

DPS officials say the numbers changed because the district originally calculated a capacity of 30 students per classroom in all buildings, but has since changed that to 25 per classroom for the elementary schools, matching their budgeting process.

“I was concerned about these eight school buildings,” Associate Superintendent Shelia Burton said Friday. “I dropped (classroom size) to 25 students, and kept the (target) at 70 percent occupancy. … That criteria doesn’t change the concern that I have for those buildings.”

District leaders say no decisions have been made yet about which schools could close, or whether some buildings could be sold, combined or repurposed. Acting Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli on Tuesday called it a “guesstimate” that the district would close three buildings but said that number could be higher or lower.

RELATED: Key questions about low-enrolled Dayton schools

“There’s a lot at stake,” school board President Robert Walker said. “A lot of the community could be radically impacted. “We want to continue to be available to serve our students in the best way we can to ensure that they have a quality education available.”

School-by-school data

Tuesday was the first time the school board had been presented data on the “percentage of classroom space occupied” in each school. The numbers ranged from a low of 24 percent at Dayton Boys Prep to a high of 79 percent at Belmont High School.

This newspaper immediately requested a copy of the document under Ohio public records law, but the response we received two days later included a note from Burton that the report had been updated.

The new chart shows higher occupancy rates for all 18 of the district’s elementary schools — increases of 5 to 14 percentage points per school — while the numbers for the 10 middle schools and high schools are unchanged.

RELATED: DPS closed two schools in 2014, restructured another

Kiser and Valerie elementaries had been listed Tuesday at 69 and 68 percent occupancy, respectively, just below the district’s stated 70 percent target. But the updated chart showed them at 83 and 82 percent, the two most packed schools in Dayton.

Eight other schools, the majority in East Dayton, also showed occupancy rates at least 10 percentage points higher in the new document. No elementary school’s occupancy rate increased by less than 5 percent, and because of the changes, Wogaman Middle School, at 28 percent occupancy, moved from the third-lowest occupancy school to the emptiest of all.

Burton on Friday repeated that Tuesday’s numbers were a draft report that could have been calculated a variety of ways, and emphasized that a key piece of information stayed the same.

“The data that was shown to the board was to identify the lowest enrolled school buildings, and even when the numbers changed, (those schools) remained consistent,” Burton said.

RELATED: Superintendent’s pre-discipline hearing delayed

The change took Dayton Boys Prep from a listed capacity of 900 down to 750, and made Meadowdale Elementary’s capacity drop from 1,050 to 875.

Walker said the school board will look at “the real case for those schools” and make sure there is “a solid process in place,” so that as they analyze the data, they’ll be “working with hard numbers.”

“Like any research and analysis, you have to establish a baseline,” Walker said. “That’s what we’re looking for the administration to do for us, is to give us a baseline — a consistent baseline. And then we’ll allow the data to speak for itself.”

Busy upcoming weeks

A large crowd is likely when the school board meets Tuesday, with school closures a possibility and the discipline case of Superintendent Rhonda Corr still in limbo.

Lolli has said district leaders plan to meet with residents in January to discuss potential school closures and hope to make a recommendation to the school board before February.

Teachers union president David Romick said he would give the district the “benefit of the doubt” on the changes since Tuesday’s report to the board was presented as preliminary data. But he repeated concerns about the speed of the decision-making process and said the district should know how many students realistically fit in each building before making what he called “a huge decision.”

RELATED: Four new members elected to Dayton school board

Burton said Friday morning that the month-by-month timeline follows a blueprint from an education industry article on school closures.


The Dayton Daily News was first to explain Dayton’s school closure ideas Tuesday night, and is first to present this new data obtained via public records requests.