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Published: Tuesday, March 13, 2018 @ 3:33 PM
Updated: Tuesday, March 13, 2018 @ 7:13 PM
DAYTON — Valerie Elementary, the Innovative Learning Center and Dayton Public Schools headquarters building would all close this fall, if Dayton’s school board adopts the recommendations presented Tuesday by Acting Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli.
Those first steps were part of a three-year plan that included the possibility of more closings in the future, at both the elementary school and high school levels.
Lolli also recommended consolidating the district’s seventh and eighth-graders, who are currently spread across seven different schools, into four buildings. Stivers would remain a school for seventh- through 12th-graders, but all other seventh- and eighth-graders would attend the three middle schools – Wogaman, Wright Brothers and E.J. Brown.
Asked Tuesday night whether the school board would be ready to vote on the detailed plan by the March 20 meeting, as originally planned, Harris said that is not a sure thing.
“We feel good about the recommendations. A lot of work went into it and the analysis is good,” Harris said. “It may not be (next week). The important thing is that we are processing that information and continuing to listen to our community.”
Lolli said after meeting with parents from all nine of the lowest-enrolled schools, she understands the pride and connection many residents have with their schools. But she also said hard decisions would be made.
“There’s a very uneven education offered right now to our seventh and eighth-graders,” Lolli said, mentioning that some are in schools with kindergartners and others with high school seniors. “We need to focus in on seventh- and eighth-grade education, and the supports they need.”
Lolli’s recommendation suggests adding an assistant principal and a counselor or social worker to each of the three middle schools. Each of those schools would offer algebra, Spanish, STEM opportunities and after-school clubs.
** Lolli recommended that Valerie – a 50-year-old school with maintenance problems – be closed and demolished, with those students moving to the nearby Meadowdale Elementary school, which would get an extra assistant principal. She said about 100 Meadowdale students would have to move to a school closer to their home.
** She recommended closing the district’s large, under-used headquarters building on Ludlow Street, citing more than $2 million in needed heating and air conditioning work, among other needs. Lolli said the district’s administrative staff could fit in an office building the district owns across the street, referred to as “Ludlow 2.”
** Lolli recommended closing the Innovative Learning Center at Jackson Center on Abbey Avenue and working with the city to repurpose that site. The ILC houses some of the district’s alternative education and in-lieu-of-suspension programs, which Lolli said would fit in the Ludlow 2 building.
** The superintendent said the school district should begin a review of its high school offerings, both in academics and geography, with the possibility of turning Meadowdale and/or Dunbar into a specialty school, such as for gifted students.
But she also mentioned the possibility that a high school could be closed by fall 2020. She mentioned Dunbar, Thurgood Marshall, Belmont and Meadowdale as possibilities. Ponitz, the career tech school, and Stivers, the arts school, were not mentioned.
** Lolli said after meeting with parents of two under-enrolled schools — Dayton Boys Prep and World of Wonder — those school and parent communities will be given a chance to recruit and build up enrollment numbers. But the possibility of closure in a future year would remain if enrollment didn’t grow.
Lolli said DPS officials tried to gather as much information as possible before making a decision, mentioning task force meetings, school board meetings, two open community sessions and meetings with parents of all of the lowest-enrolled schools. She said the district also considered report card and school discipline data, among other markers.
But the first public commenters at Tuesday’s meeting were not impressed. David Greer said Lolli’s presentation – detail-heavy in small print with no handout – was hard to follow. Hashim Jabar questioned why the district was putting the burden of school closures on West Dayton students who he said need the most help. David Esrati said the district has to give parents stability rather than making annual changes. And Mary Sue Gmeiner urged the district to focus on improvement so families will come back to DPS, rather than closing schools.
Harris said the district is aiming for the best long-term structure for its students, and he hopes DPS doesn’t lose students or staff in the short-term turmoil of changes.
Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 3:32 AM
Updated: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 8:55 PM
— Mainly clear skies are in the forecast this evening with temperatures slowly falling through the 30s, Storm Center 7 Chief Meteorologist Eric Elwell said.
Friday: Skies will be mostly sunny with temperatures rebounding into the middle 40s.
Saturday: Skies will be cloudy with snow likely, especially south. The snow may be heavy with accumulation likely depending on the storm track. Highs will hold in the upper 30s.
Sunday: Skies will clear with temperatures climbing back into the lower 40s.
Monday: Clouds will be on the increase. Temperatures will rebound to near 50 degrees.
Tuesday: Milder temperatures arrive but so will the threat for showers. Highs will top out in the middle 50s.
Published: Friday, March 23, 2018 @ 1:50 AM
A group of Florida junior high school students lost their final flag football game of the season Thursday, but they won an equal opportunity fight for boys and girls.
Forget powder puff. Armoni Peppers knows how to play with the boys.
"She's awesome. I love her," coach Bobby Burke said. "She's aggressive. She can catch."
Peppers tried out for Brevard County’s Odyssey Charter School's junior high flag football team and made it.
"It makes me feel good, and also, it gives me muscle mass and stuff," the seventh-grader said.
But after several games, the Space Coast Christian Athletic Association told her that girls can't play on the team.
"At first, I was, like, kind of sad," she said.
"She was very upset. She was crying," Kimberly Peppers-Coney said. "I said, 'We're going to work on this.'"
The 12-year-old walked up to her final game Thursday in uniform, but the league's athletic director told her that she couldn't go on the field.
The athletic director declined an on-camera interview, but said that two years ago, the association voted to make football a boys-only sport and volleyball a girls-only sport.
"If they established that, I was never told that," Burke said. "The actual A.D. of our school didn't know that."
The league's athletic director said the rule keeps girls from being grabbed in their genitals or losing their pants by accident.
"That should be my decision," Peppers-Coney said. "I keep her fully dressed. She wears another outfit underneath her uniform."
The uniforms that the Pepper family wore Thursday carried a clear message -- and it worked, because the opposing team's coach gave the OK and the league let Armoni play.
"I think with the presence of having us here and the media they have allowed her to play today," Peppers-Coney said.
Next season is up in the air for now, but Armoni's dreams go far beyond the field.
"Flag pulling is easy," she said. "But, like, tackling -- I could do that easier."
Peppers plays like a girl -- one without limits.
Published: Friday, March 23, 2018 @ 12:32 AM
Updated: Friday, March 23, 2018 @ 2:22 AM
TROTWOOD — UPDATE @ 2:25 a.m: Officials continue to investigate after a person was shot in the mouth in Trotwood early Friday morning.
OTHER LOCAL NEWS: Two suspected metal thieves caught red-handed at Hewitt Soap Factory
Initial reports indicate the shooting occurred in the 4700 block of Knollcroft Road just after midnight.
The suspect was not on scene when authorities arrived, but officials are describing the suspect vehicle as a black Lincoln SUV.
The victim was transported to Miami Valley Hospital on unknown conditions.
Crews are responding to the 4700 block of Knollcroft Road in Trotwood on a reported shooting that occurred early Friday morning.
The incident was dispatched around 12:20 a.m., per initial reports.
We will continue to update this story with more details.
Published: Friday, March 02, 2018 @ 2:52 AM
Updated: Friday, March 23, 2018 @ 1:22 AM
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