West Carrollton superintendent search resumes tonight

Published: Monday, March 20, 2017 @ 12:49 PM


            The West Carrollton City Schools Board of Education is interviewing several candidates with area ties for the superintendent’s job being vacated this summer by Rusty Clifford. NICK BLIZZARD
The West Carrollton City Schools Board of Education is interviewing several candidates with area ties for the superintendent’s job being vacated this summer by Rusty Clifford. NICK BLIZZARD

The West Carrollton City Schools superintendent’s job is scheduled to be discussed tonight.

The board of education is scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. in executive session to discuss the post for which 10 people have been identified as candidates. Board President Roberta Phillips has said the district wants to make a decision by early May on a successor for longtime Superintendent Rusty Clifford, whose resignation is effective July 31.

RELATED: Sixteen administrators applied for post

It’s not clear if tonight’s session will involve candidate interviews or discussion. It is the fifth special meeting called this month involving superintendent candidates. The board also met Saturday regarding the job after holding executive sessions on March 8, 11 and 13.

Sixteen Ohio school administrators applied for the job and the board opted to interview 10, including a handful with area ties.

MORE: Fairborn hires Lebanon superintendent

Those selected for interviews with the district for the job held since 1999 by Clifford include:

-Amy Baldridge, Greene County Educational Service Center director of educational programs;

-Kimberly Hall, Walter Shade Early Childhood Center principal in West Carrollton;

-Shelley Hilderbrand, Huber Heights City Schools assistant superintendent;

-Matthew McCorkle, former Washington Court House Schools superintendent;

-Jeff Patrick, Franklin-Monroe Local Schools superintendent.

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The other five include: Thomas Bailey, assistant superintendent of Three Rivers Local Schools in Cleves near Cincinnati; Martha Hasselbusch, superintendent of South Central in Greenwich; Robert Humble, superintendent of Fairbanks Local Schools in Milford Center; Michael McCoy, superintendent of Oak Hill Union Local Schools in Jackson County; and Andrea Townsend, superintendent of New Bremen Local Schools in Auglaize County.

Tonight’s session is scheduled to be at the board of education office, 430 E. Pease Ave.

Butler Tech moves ahead with rapid expansion plan

Published: Friday, July 21, 2017 @ 5:55 PM

Butler Tech, one of Ohio's largest career school systems, is getting bigger.

The big changes at one of Ohio’s largest career school systems keep coming.

Though it’s less than two years old, Butler Tech’s leading edge Bioscience Center in West Chester Township is already expanding its classroom space for the upcoming 2017-2018 school year.

And school officials are moving on additional plans to add to the two-story building and adjacent class buildings to the high-profile campus overlooking Interstate 75, said school officials.

RELATED: Butler Tech expands by buying part of old Americana Amusement Park

A new wing is planned by 2019 for the $16 million center, which opened in 2015, but Butler Tech officials say they are also planning additional school buildings to the 23-acre campus, which sits atop a hill just west of the I-75 and Cincinnati-Dayton Road interchange.

David Plotts, executive director of business operations for Butler Tech, stands of the roof of the Bioscience Center, from where on most days you can see the tops of downtown Cincinnati’s buildings 20 miles south, and within his gaze also envisions the school’s future.

“One of our strategic goals is to reach the greatest number of students in our community,” said Plotts. “It allows us to better serve our students and our community.”

RELATED: Historic 1st: Butler Tech to enroll sophomores

The changes at the Bioscience Center campus – which include converting conference rooms into two new classrooms and additional classroom space at partner West Chester Medical Center - are the latest for the career school that serves nine Butler County school systems and Northwest Schools in northern Hamilton County.

The school system, which serves more than 27,000 high school – juniors and seniors - and adult students who study there on a full or part-time basis annually, is half-way through one of the busiest years in its 42-year history.

Earlier this year the Journal-News was the first to report Butler Tech’s $2.75-million purchase of a part of the old Americana Amusement Park property in Monroe to serve as an adult education campus.

Soon after Butler Tech announced for the first time in its history it will allow high school sophomores to enroll for the coming school year, adding about 80 to its classes.

Added one of the region’s first drone piloting summer camps and school-year classes to take advantage of the exploding job market in that career area.

STORY & VIDEO: Sky is the limit for youth drone camp at Butler Tech

The career school continues to add to its growing roster of corporate partners, which now number 152.

And it’s scrambling to add a new parking lot at the Bioscience campus to handle the center’s 30 percent enrollment jump.

Butler Tech Superintendent Jon Graft said the sweeping changes are by rapid by design and needed for the local economy.

“Local businesses are desperate to find these students. Manufacturers are struggling to fill great-paying jobs with advancement opportunities. In some cases, they’re even offering to pay for their college as an incentive,” said Graft. “There are more tracks out there than college “or” career, so Butler Tech is a great solution to preparing for both.”

Graft has been in office for 18 months and in that time Butler Tech has taken a more aggressive and public approach to its corporate recruitment and marketing efforts.

“Students and parents want a menu of options. They want it immediately. They want it relevant to their world. They want it to be user-friendly and capable of providing them with their desired outcome,” said Graft.

RELATED: Butler Tech has to turn away students for coming school year

“Butler Tech positions itself very well to meet that need. That’s why we’re trying things like Drone Camp and looking for a business partner for our Bioscience Campus. It’s why we purchased land in Monroe to give our adult students a better experience,” he said.

“Local businesses are desperate to find these students. Manufacturers are struggling to fill great-paying jobs with advancement opportunities. In some cases, they’re even offering to pay for their college as an incentive. There are more tracks out there than college or career, so Butler Tech is a great solution to preparing for both,” said Graft.

Carlisle schools once explored selling aquifer water to fund district

Published: Wednesday, July 19, 2017 @ 11:40 AM


            Carlisle Schools in Warren County explored the idea of bottling and selling Great Miami Aquifer water drawn from below the school system. The district is currently offering bonds to build a new K-12 school but in 2012 the district asked state officials if they could sell water from three wells on their campuses for a profit. State officials, however, said that was not allowed for non-profit organizations such as schools.
Carlisle Schools in Warren County explored the idea of bottling and selling Great Miami Aquifer water drawn from below the school system. The district is currently offering bonds to build a new K-12 school but in 2012 the district asked state officials if they could sell water from three wells on their campuses for a profit. State officials, however, said that was not allowed for non-profit organizations such as schools.

Years before Carlisle Schools tried the current strategy of selling bonds to residents to raise money for schools, they considered selling bottled water.

RELATED: Carlisle Schools host investment public meeting

And not just any bottled water, but the fresh, healthy fluids of the Great Miami Aquifer below the Warren County school system’s surface.

RELATED: 5 things to know about the Great Miami Aquifer

School district officials hosted a bond investment seminar Monday for community members interested in investing or purchasing bonds that will be sold for the district’s upcoming new building construction project.

The school system has three, 75-feet deep wells tapping into the giant underground water source that stretches from West Central Ohio down to the Ohio River.

The aquifer’s water, which is pumped to the surface and used by businesses, farms and is even bottled and sold by the city of Hamilton, is estimated to supply about 360,000 residents in Butler and Warren counties and northern Hamilton County.

RELATED: Hamilton’s award-winning bottled water draws fans

The meeting Monday at Carlisle High School was hosted by Superintendent Larry Hook.

In May, district voters approved a 6.2-mill, $20 million bond issue to build a new single K-12 building that will include the demolition of the four buildings that are on the school campus.

But in 2012 district officials asked the Ohio Attorney General’s office if they could legally bottle the aquifer’s award-winning water and sell it for a profit to help offset school district operating and facility costs.

Dan Bassler, treasurer for Carlisle Schools, recently told the Journal-News the bottled water profit idea quickly evaporated.

State law does not allow non-profits such as schools, to profit from selling water, he said.

“Because of that we have not moved forward in any way or shape or form of bottling the water or selling it,” said Bassler.

Central State earns prestigious national award

Published: Sunday, July 16, 2017 @ 3:29 PM

Central State University was named the HBCU of the Year, a prestigious national honor that acknowledges the university’s grown and elevated public impact at the state, national and international level.

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The accolade was announced Friday in Washington, D.C., during the HBCU Digest Awards Ceremony. The university also received recognition for its women’s basketball coach, Sheba Harris, who was named Female Coach of the Year, the university announced on Sunday.

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The awards celebrate excellence in a number of categories, including academics, student activities and athletics. Finalists were selected from more than 175 nominations from historically black colleges and universities across the country.

READ: Local Miami Valley news

“Central State University is honored to receive this prestigious award from HBCU Digest,” said CSU President Cynthia Jackson-Hammond, who last year was named Female President of the Year by HBCU Digest.

Central State is a regionally accredited 1890 Land-Grant Institution. The university reported that it increased its international diversity by 13 percent; The fall 2016 class of 634 freshman was a 22 percent increase and the largest class in the last five years; and the university has seen an 82 percent increase in student applications for the fall 2017. Also, Jackson-Hammond traveled to Nigeria and Grenada to seek international partnerships to extend CSU’s academic programs, according to the university.

“Without question, Central State University had a banner year in showing the full capacity of HBCU operational and cultural excellence,” said Jarrett Carter Sr., founding editor of HBCU Digest.

Middletown pageant queen coaches kids on battling bullying

Published: Thursday, July 13, 2017 @ 5:21 PM

Middletown's Miss Teen Ohio International battles bullying.

Middletown’s most celebrated teen wears a Miss Teen Ohio International crown for a lot of reasons — and one of them is she hasn’t forgotten the challenges of being bullied as a youngster.

Recent Middletown High School graduate Au’Lauren Million took her tiara — and beauty contest gown and sash — to the Atrium YMCA on Thursday to give an instructional pep talk to dozens of area children about how to overcome bullying.

RELATED: Middletown homecoming queen says title is megaphone to help youngsters

It’s a labor of passion for the elegant Million — who was her high school’s Homecoming Queen last fall and later this month will compete for in the Miss Teen International Pageant in Charleston, W.Va.

Her advice was detailed and practical.

Au’Lauren Million spoke with children July 13 at a day camp at Atrium Family YMCA about the importance of being a buddy instead of a bully. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF(Staff Writer)

“Don’t be a bully. Be a buddy,” Million told the children attentively sitting on the gym floor.

“I was teased so I know what that feels like and that is another form of bullying,” she said as she addressed the different types of bullying and strategies to counteract the abuse.

She then encouraged the youngsters to give examples of bullying they have experienced and take some tries at answering how to respond to situations where they are verbally or physically threatened by peers or others. Then she asked the children what qualities make for a “buddy” and stressed how being such a friend is the ultimate antidote for bullying behavior.

MORE: Insurer sues family named in Fairfield student bullying lawsuit

The 17-year-old has traveled the country as an anti-bullying proponent, encouraging youth and making appearances outside America, having just returned from a speaking engagement in Haiti.

“I enjoy speaking to young people … because I was severely bullied in elementary and middle school so I feel like it is my duty — and my calling — to raise awareness about this epidemic that is occurring,” she said.

“One in four children are bullied every day and over 3.2 million students are bullied every day so I think it’s very important and very vital in society today that a young person like myself is raising awareness about his problem that is occurring,” she said, adding one her goals is to see all schools incorporate an anti-bullying program into their curricula.

MORE: Madison student joins efforts to improve school security

This sort of activism is nothing new to the heralded teen.

Million is a long-time school volunteer working with youngsters in Middletown City Schools. She even created the “Crown Academy,” which focuses on community service and leadership.

Her volunteer efforts during her just-completed senior year included speaking to youngsters at all of Middletown’s elementaries and middle school on a variety of subjects beyond anti-bullying, including breast cancer awareness and the district’s “Learning Is Cool” initiative.

Middletown City Schools Spokeswoman Destini Burns said Million’s extensive volunteer work reflects well on the entire school system and city.

“Even after graduating from Middletown Schools, Au’Lauren is still showing everyone what it means to be Middie,” Burns said.