Oakwood schools introduce virtual reality in science classes

Published: Thursday, November 16, 2017 @ 12:51 PM

Oakwood students and virtual reality class

Teachers at Oakwood City Schools are taking a new approach to learning that allows them to reach the corners of the earth from the comfort of a classroom. 

The seventh and eighth grade science classes at Oakwood Junior High School recently started using Virtual Reality goggles as part of their curriculum. The goggle, which work with Google Expeditions, allows teachers to create lessons taking their students anywhere in the world. 

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Prior to introducing the new virtual reality sets to her students, teacher Rachel Keyes tested it on her own children. 

"I made them put the goggles on and got to see their reactions and I was like, ‘oh yeah, this is going to work,’” she said. 

When Keyes tested the devices on her students Thursday morning, they were just as excited.

“The students, as they're getting to look around at the sky and getting that full 360 panoramic kind of experience, it's huge," Keyes said. “It's different than a book. It's something you can interact with. You can feel it there. You can feel yourself being in that place."

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Th virtual classroom experience was made possible by a grant from The Oakwood Schools Foundation. It was initially introduced to teachers during a staff meeting.

"Across the board in science, we always try to make things more interactive," Keyes said. 

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Troy narrows superintendent’s candidates list, sets interviews

Published: Sunday, March 18, 2018 @ 11:00 AM


The Troy City Schools Board of Education will begin this week interviewing eight candidates, three already with the district, for the superintendent’s job.

Board President Doug Trostle said the board planned to interview four candidates each night Monday and Tuesday in executive sessions. After those interviews, the board will narrow candidates to its top three for final interviews the week of April 9.

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“We intend to finalize our selection and introduce our new superintendent by the end of April,” Trostle said.

Superintendent Eric Herman announced earlier this year he would retire at the end of July.

K12 Consultants was hired by the board to coordinate the superintendent search. The firm will be paid $17,900.

The firm compiled a search profile following February meetings with various groups including teachers/support staff, parents and the community. The profile identified the top characteristics named for a superintendent as strong interpersonal and public relations skills, effective at creating and implementing a district vision and ability and willingness to deal fairly with faculty, staff, students and parents.

The deadline for applications was March 9. Trostle said 16 applications were received.

The board met in an executive sessions Monday, March 12, with K12 Consultants to review the candidates and narrow the list.

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The semi-finalists are:

- Shawn Blazer, assistant superintendent, Northeastern Local Schools, Springfield

- David Dilbone, principal, Troy Junior High School

- Scott Hunt, superintendent, Cardinal Local Schools, Middlefield, Ohio in Geauga County

- Jeremy Miller, assistant superintendent, Troy City Schools

- Michael Moore, director of curriculum, Troy City Schools

- Scott Nelson, former superintendent, Sylvania City Schools, near Toledo

- Jeff Patrick, superintendent Franklin Monroe Schools, Darke County

- Chris Piper, superintendent, Triad Local Schools, North Lewisburg

Information on the superintendent search, including the profile, is available on the district website at www.troy.k12.oh.us

Contact this contributing writer at nancykburr@aol.com

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Northeastern to close, consolidate schools if bond fails

Published: Friday, March 16, 2018 @ 9:44 AM
Updated: Friday, March 16, 2018 @ 6:06 PM

            Rolling Hills Elementary School. Bill Lackey/Staff
Rolling Hills Elementary School. Bill Lackey/Staff

The Northeastern Local School Board of Education approved a contingency plan to consolidate the district’s two high schools and close Rolling Hills Elementary School should voters in May again reject a $79 million bond issue for new schools.

The district is asking voters for a bond issue to build two new pre-k through 12th grade schools in the district, one on the Kenton Ridge High School side and the other on the Northeastern High School side. The state has offered to pay about $40 million for the schools, making the total cost of the project about $119 million.

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Having a backup plan is necessary, Northeastern Local Schools Superintendent John Kronour said.

“The district faces a number of upcoming facilities expenses to address problems in the aging school buildings, such as leaking roofs, poor air quality, heating and air conditioning regulation, plumbing problems, and other issues,” he said.

The contingency plan calls for closing Rolling Hills Elementary, using South Vienna and Northridge as preschool through fifth-grade elementary buildings, converting Kenton Ridge into a middle school for all sixth- through eighth-grade students and making Northeastern High School the only high school in the district.

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“By eliminating one building, the district will reduce necessary repairs in the future and be able to concentrate limited funds available for facilities upgrades toward the remaining four buildings,” Kronour said.

The Springfield News-Sun will update this article when more information is available.


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This former beloved amusement park is becoming one of the most unique facilities in the area

Published: Saturday, March 17, 2018 @ 9:00 AM

            The Butler Tech adult education campus will move to a new location along Ohio 4 in the former Couch’s Campers building in Monroe later this year. The new campus will be call the Butler Tech LeSourdsville Campus. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
The Butler Tech adult education campus will move to a new location along Ohio 4 in the former Couch’s Campers building in Monroe later this year. The new campus will be call the Butler Tech LeSourdsville Campus. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Soon, adults will be learning new work careers at a beloved former amusement park where generations played.

Work has begun on creating a $3 million Butler Tech adult education campus on 36 acres on what used to be part of the famed LeSourdsville Lake Amusement Park in Monroe.

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The park opened in 1922 and was located along Ohio Route 4 just south of the State Route 63 interchange. Until it closed in 1999, it was last century’s version of a Kings Island, drawing generations of families over the decades.

And the bright lights that once shone in the adjacent park are now being replaced by the sparks of welding torches as workers prepare almost two dozen classrooms inside a 27,000 square-foot former recreational vehicle dealership adjacent to LeSourdsville’s former entrance.

Another 13,000-square-foot, high-bay building of the RV dealership will also be converted into a learning area for manufacturing careers.

“The name of the campus is Butler Tech’s LeSourdsville campus to honor the history,” said Scott Palmer, executive director of adult education for the county-wide career school system.

“I’ve heard a lot of excitement about this project and a lot of curiosity … that will really help us fill our classes,” said Palmer.

Construction is scheduled to be done in July with adult career training classes starting August, he said.

The new LeSourdsville Campus will be the home to Butler Tech’s Adult Education office, including student services and financial aid, healthcare and manufacturing programs.

Classes in the two buildings will include welding, advanced manufacturing, heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration and industrial maintenance. Also offered on campus will be ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages), adult literacy classes and GED preparation.

Also, healthcare programs will include medical assisting, medical billing and coding, phlebotomy, practical nursing and nurse aide training.

Butler Tech purchased the 36 acres in February 2017, and the city of Monroe plans to convert the long-abandoned LeSourdsville – which in the last years of its operation was renamed “Americana” Amusement Park - into a nature park of 50-plus acres to be named the Monroe Bicentennial Commons.

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City plans for the former amusement park property include an extension of the Great Miami River Recreation Trail bike path, which covers about half of the distance within the city limits.

Jennifer Seifert, adult education marketing coordinator for Butler Tech, said the new campus allows “us to serve more adult students and educate them in career fields that are in demand in the area.”

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Judge could rule Friday in Dayton school task force open meetings case

Published: Thursday, March 15, 2018 @ 6:29 PM

            Dayton Public Schools Acting Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Lolli is sworn in Thursday during a hearing in the courtroom of Montgomery County Judge Richard Skelton. STAFF/MARK GOKAVI
Dayton Public Schools Acting Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Lolli is sworn in Thursday during a hearing in the courtroom of Montgomery County Judge Richard Skelton. STAFF/MARK GOKAVI

A Montgomery County Common Pleas Court judge heard testimony and arguments as part of the lawsuit brought by a Dayton resident who alleges that a joint city and Dayton Public Schools task force studying school facilities violated Ohio’s Open Meetings Act.

The suit was filed by David Esrati, who filed it without an attorney. Esrati contends he was not allowed to attend a February bus tour of Dayton schools during which task force members went into schools until district attorneys advised them to cancel remaining stops.

DPS attorney Brian Wildermuth argued that the task force was not a public body and, therefore, not subject to the Open Meetings Act.

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Judge Richard Skelton said Thursday he would consider what he heard and review videos submitted by Esrati, adding that he would “determine where I think we’re headed and how before I do anything else.”

Skelton said he may reach a decision Friday and asked Wildermuth if a planned Tuesday meeting for the Dayton Board of Education could be pushed back. Wildermuth said he didn’t have the authority to do that and objected to Thursday’s hearing taking place.

Skelton rejected Wildermuth’s motion to dismiss the case with prejudice.

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Esrati questioned Dayton Public Schools Acting Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli and also was cross-examined by Wildermuth during the nearly 2½-hour, wide-ranging hearing.

Esrati asked why he was not allowed to go into schools while certain media outlets were — without cameras, purportedly to protect student identities, he said. Lolli said she didn’t consider Esrati a media member.

Esrati disagreed with that assessment. He said that regardless, “The open records law grants access to everybody. They missed that part.”

Esrati submitted for evidence emails he requested from Dayton Public Schools about the task force’s formation and videos of the day he tried to go on the bus tour plus news stories.

Wildermuth and Dayton city attorney John Musto reserved the right to object to some of Esrati’s submissions. Wildermuth also submitted items for evidence with no objection.

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Skelton repeatedly told Esrati he was giving leeway because the plaintiff wasn’t an attorney. Skelton sustained several defense objections for questions that were deemed not relevant.

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