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Published: Monday, January 29, 2018 @ 10:18 AM
DEERFIELD TWP. — The leader of Kings Schools recently announced a plan to battle bigotry in the wake of basketball jersey incident that included racist names and drew a national outcry of criticism.
Kings Superintendent Tim Ackermann said in a statement the members of the embattled Warren County school system “need to work on changing mindsets.”
The largely white school district now has a “Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan” that will include “four pillars with goals and timelines to achieve the goals. The pillars include recruiting, awareness, community, and engagement,” wrote Ackermann.
“The new plan will encompass every student and staff member in the district. We know we have work to do. It won’t happen overnight. We will need to work on changing mindsets. Mistakes will be made but we will grow and learn together. Our goal is to bring the community together and to not divide,” he said.
There were no further details provided on the plan as to its schedule or content of its programs.
Included in Ackermann’s statement were quotes from Kings High School Principal Doug Leist, who said, “we have to own that there is a problem with unreported cases of sexism, bigotry, racism, bullying, religious divide, and division between social classes. It is here, it is everywhere. It is in Kings but it is not Kings.”
Ackermann said, “Leist is committed to making a change in the culture and mindset at Kings High School.”
“We will realize that actions speak louder than words, and we will become champions of tolerance,” said Leist.
The announcement comes two weeks after some Kings male students were shown wearing basketball jerseys with racist names.
For multiple games, the teens – Kings High School students playing in a youth league not affiliated with the school district but using local school gyms – wore jerseys seen by dozens if not hundreds of parents, fans, friends and others.
They all saw a player whose jersey name on the back was “Knee Grow” play next to a teammate identified by his uniform as “Coon.”
And they played on a squad they – along with their adult coaches – dubbed “Wet Dream Team.”
But it took those multiple games before anyone spoke up about the thinly veiled racist terms.
The aftermath of those revelations also forced the resignation of Kings Board of Education Vice President Kerry McKiernan, who in an emotional confession announced his intention to resign a few days after the jerseys came to light.
A father of one of the boys on the team, McKiernan said he failed in his responsibilities by not objecting to the jerseys when they were first unveiled.
Ackermann’s statement concluded with, “we will continue to update the community regularly on the progress we are making with our Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan.”
“The Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, which was formed over a year and a half ago has created a draft Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan that will eventually be presented to the Kings School Board for approval,” wrote the superintendent.
Kings officials told this news organization that 24 applicants have applied to fill the school board’s vacant seat.
Published: Saturday, May 26, 2018 @ 9:38 AM
MASON — The Mason City Schools Board of Education this week unanimously approved hiring Robert “Bobby” Dodd as Mason High School principal beginning Aug. 1.
Dodd will replace Dave Hyatt, who is retiring at the end of the school year and moving to Vermont.
“We love Mr. Dodd’s commitment to connection, his experience, and exciting vision — especially his mantra of working collaboratively to find ways to say ‘yes’ to students in order to honor their ideas, hopes, and dreams,” said Jonathan Cooper, Mason’s deputy superintendent who will become superintendent on July 1.
“He is a student-centered instructional leader who is excited to co-create the next iteration of MHS.”
Dodd has served as the principal of Gahanna Lincoln High School since 2014 and was the principal of New Lexington High School for three years prior to that.
RELATED: Mason principal stepping down
Dodd developed digital academies, college summer camps, a fabrication laboratory that includes a graphics design lab which manufactures and produces products for sale around the world, Early College High School and personalized learning environments, Mason said in a news release announcing his hiring.
Dodd has received awards for his contributions as a connected educator including the 2016 NASSP National Digital Principal of the Year award.
“As difficult as it is to leave Gahanna Lincoln, I am excited to be a part of the Mason City Schools team. I can’t wait to start building relationships and help our students, staff and community do amazing things. Mason High School is one of the finest schools in the state and I hope to work with all of our stakeholders to continue the tradition of excellence,” Dodd said in the release.
Dodd received a bachelor’s degree in history from John Carroll University in 1995, a law degree from St. Thomas University in Miami Lakes, Fla., in 1999, a bachelor’s degree in information technology from DeVry University in 2000 and a Master of Arts in educational leadership from the University of Cincinnati in 2009.
Published: Friday, May 25, 2018 @ 9:00 AM
FRANKLIN — A Franklin school board member who stepped down in January was hired as the district’s new assistant superintendent.
Robyn Donisi, a veteran educator and currently the assistant superintendent of Clinton-Massie Local Schools, was selected from a field of 50 applicants for the position, according to Superintendent Michael Sander.
Donisi will be replacing Douglas Cozad, who will become the superintendent of Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Schools on July 1.
Sander said he was “excited” to have Donisi working on his leadership team. He said Donisi will begin her new duties in Franklin on Aug. 1.
The Franklin school board awarded Donisi a two-year contract with an annual salary of $100,000.
Donisi resigned her school board seat on Jan. 22 citing increased duties at work. She was elected in 2015 to her first term on the school board.
A lifelong resident of Franklin and a 1978 graduate of Franklin High School, Donisi earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Miami University and a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Dayton.
Donisi worked in Franklin City Schools for 21 years as a math and science teacher in grades four, seven and eight; as assistant principal at Franklin Junior High School; and as principal at Hunter Elementary School before moving to Clinton-Massie Local Schools as assistant superintendent.
Published: Wednesday, May 23, 2018 @ 5:43 PM
CENTERVILLE — The mother of a Centerville student has filed a sheriff’s report claiming that her autistic son was placed in a room with no windows on Tuesday as a form of punishment for not meeting acceptable behavior standards.
The school district said the room has a window but would not talk about the specifics of the woman’s complaints.
Monique Williams, the mother of 11-year-old Michael Dixon, a special needs student at Watts Middle School said her son was locked in a “small room similar to a closet as a form of punishment” instead of being allowed to attend the “Jazz on the Lawn” event with other students in his class, according to the sheriff’s report.
The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office had a deputy go to the school to investigate the incident.
Williams alleges in the police report that a teaching aide told her that her son, who also has ADHD and asthma, “did not acquire enough points on his good behavior to attend” the event, so he had to spend time in the room.
She said she was told other students had been placed in the room for bad behavior and that her son was not injured. Her son told her that this was not the first time he had been placed in the room.
Sarah Swan, community relations specialist for the school district, said the district would not comment on the specifics of the allegation, but provided a statement on the issue.
“We cannot go into the specifics of the situation due to student confidentiality,” she said in a statement. “There is a room located in the office area at Watts Middle School that has traditionally been used when students lose privileges. The door to the room is kept open, and it also has a window.”
Published: Wednesday, May 23, 2018 @ 10:11 AM
HAMILTON — It will be one of the busiest summer breaks in years for Hamilton City Schools as new security measures and procedures are installed for next school year, said district officials during Tuesday’s school board meeting.
Hamilton Schools Superintendent Larry Knapp presented an update on a variety of school security efforts and programs all designed to enhance the safety of students and staff in the 10,000-student city school system.
School parents will receive information brochures on school emergency procedures, teachers will receive training in treating attack wounds, fire drills will be changed, and school officials are further coordinating with first responder police and fire departments.
And there will be more in-school counseling available for Hamilton students next school year.
But the most important changes are still to come, said Knapp.
These may include more armed officers in schools, bullet-proof film on school windows and classroom door barricades similar to those already in use in the Talawanda and Kings school districts.
“All 13 buildings will undergo safety assessments with trained personnel,” he said in reference to school building evaluations done by local police and fire officials along with federal and Ohio Homeland Security personnel.
These security experts “know a lot more about what we can do as a school district to make our buildings safer,” said Knapp.
The new security measures will augment the current procedures already in place, many of which are staffed by armed Hamilton Police officers who patrol in the city schools.
“The Hamilton City School district will continue to share safety and security updates with our community as we improve our protocols and programs,” said Hamilton Schools Superintendent Larry Knapp.
“We appreciate the partnership that we have developed with the Hamilton City Police Department and look forward to working with them to keep our students, and staff safe each and every day we are in session,” said Knapp.
“You are going to see more coming out of this and more personnel devoted towards this,” he said.