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Published: Tuesday, February 27, 2018 @ 10:19 PM
HAMILTON — Public lobbying by Butler County’s top law official saw more residents come out Tuesday evening to let a local school board know their stances on arming school teachers.
About a dozen speakers told the Hamilton Board of Education their opinions, most in support of the school security idea pushed by Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones in the wake of the Parkland, Fla. school shootings this month.
Hamilton schools resident Jim Graham told the board he backed Jones’ proposal, saying “I hold you responsible for the safety of my grandchildren at this point.”
“I saw at the recent shooting in Florida where armed folks in the school could have had an impact and lessened the devastation that occurred there,” Graham said.
“I’m an advocate for paid, armed personnel in our (school) buildings … I am an advocate of having teachers that would be willing to assume some of those roles to do that as well. We probably have teachers in our schools that would be willing to do that,” he said.
But city resident Kimberly Whitehead cautioned the board not to have a “knee jerk” reaction to the Parkland shooting by arming some Hamilton teachers.
The idea of armed teachers “scares me to damn death,” said Whitehead, who added that teachers already have enough responsibility.
“There are teachers who work for Hamilton city schools who are totally inept at the job they are paid to do. So why would I think they would be qualified to carry a gun?” she said. “Arming our teachers with guns is the worst idea that can ever happen.”
Monday marked the first day of free handgun training offered by Jones for Butler County school employees, including teachers. Hundreds have signed up, the sheriff said.
Jones has publicly urged residents to demand local school boards allow some teachers and non-teaching staffers who volunteer access to guns while working.
Active on social media, the sheriff in the last week has used the public forum to urge Butler County residents to attend local school board meetings to pressure members into passing resolutions allowing interested and trained school workers to be armed.
Some Ohio school systems already have armed school staffers who qualified for carrying concealed weapon (CCW) training and certification in their buildings.
“Be there let your voice be heard,” Jones said on Twitter Tuesday prior to the board meeting. “They work for you. Let teachers have ccw in school now.”
City hamilton school board meeting tonight 533 Dayton st. https://t.co/AgTyez6BDY. Be there let your voice be heard. You are there boss. They work for you. Let teachers have ccw n school now— Richard K. Jones (@butlersheriff) February 27, 2018
The Hamilton board took no action on the issue but said all security options – beyond the dozens of electronic, procedural, infrastructure and personnel safety measures, including armed city school resources officers already in use – will be considered by the board.
In other board action, members took no votes nor made any comments regarding their Feb. 6 order to place Hamilton Schools Superintendent Tony Orr on paid leave.
Published: Friday, June 15, 2018 @ 8:35 AM
CENTERVILLE — Centerville City Schools has named Tammy Drerup as the districts new director of student services. Drerup will begin her new post beginning Aug. 1.
Drerup comes into the new position after serving as the director of Special Education for Sidney City Schools since 2013. She said she is looking forward to joining the school district.
“I am honored to be the next Director of Student Services for Centerville City Schools,” Drerup said. “After interviewing with a variety of staff members from across the district, I am confident I am joining a team which shares my values and puts students first. I am grateful for my time in Sidney City Schools, as they have helped me develop my skills in advocating for all children. I am excited to begin the 2018-19 school year as a Centerville Elk.”
Drerup has 25 years of experience in education, including roles as an intervention specialist, curriculum specialist, early intervention coordinator and Director of Special Education.
In her new position, Drerup will oversee a variety of programs for Centerville Schools, including special education, Section 504 plans, programming for English Language Learners, school health, home instruction, gifted acceleration, and school attendance and truancy.
The position was posted in April, and a committee reviewed more than 40 resumes before interviewing seven internal and external applicants prior to making its selection according to school officials.
Drerup’s contract is expected to be approved by the Centerville Board of Education during its June 18 work session.
She will replace Laura Collier, who has accepted another position within the district after serving as director of Student Services for three years.
Published: Saturday, June 09, 2018 @ 4:25 PM
MIDDLETOWN — There were Middletown Middie memories for sale on Saturday during a public auction in the historic and soon-to-be-demolished old high school.
A pair of auctioneers went from classroom to classroom, moving almost as fast they rattled off cut-rate bargain prices for anything left in the former Middletown High School, which is the oldest school building in Butler County.
Want a book cart on wheels? It was yours for $5 — and maybe even $3 if dented.
How about a plastic replica of the human heart from the old science lab?
Or a thick, wooden classroom door? Or a chalkboard? Sheets of plexiglass used in ceramics class? Yours for 75 cents each.
Dozens of potential buyers — and among them the simply curious — wandered around the old school for the last time as Middletown school officials prepare to clear out and gut the building in preparation for its demolition.
Used in recent years as a middle school, the old Middletown High School first opened to students in 1923, while Warren G. Harding was president of the United States.
The massive, nearly city block-long school was once Middletown High School and the storied home for the city’s sports legends – including NBA Hall Of Famer Jerry Lucas - and tens of thousands of graduates.
One of them was Suzanne Tadych. Her children then attended the school when it was converted to a middle school.
“We are having fun today finding our old lockers and going to our old homerooms,” said the Middletown resident.
She came with friends who were looking to buy school items, but Tadych said “we really wanted to reminisce and explore.”
“It’s part of our history and our family. It holds a lot of memories and it’s something you can connect to the generation before that went to high school here so it’s kind of a connection we all have,” she said.
Published: Saturday, June 02, 2018 @ 10:44 AM
— As officials gathered last week to break ground on the Fairborn Primary School, school board President Andrew Wilson was asked what will be different in the new building.
“Just about everything,” he said.
The new school will replace a 60-year-old, outdated building, officials said. The new two-story, 132,000-square-foot building will be constructed next to the playground at the current PreK-2 school. It will cost between $26 and $27 million and accommodate 1,214 students and 110 employees. The design incorporates colors and suggestions from staff.
Students will remain in the existing primary school until fall 2020, when they will move to the new school. Intermediate students will then move from the school on Dellwood Drive to the former primary school while a new intermediate school is built. In summer 2022, the city plans to demolish the old primary school, and intermediate students will return to a new school on Dellwood Drive that fall.
Moving intermediate students into the current PreK-2 school will prevent the district from needing to create a temporary space for those students and save money, they said.
The 2.95-mil bond levy funding construction for the new primary and intermediate school buildings passed by nearly 60 percent in November.
At a Friday morning groundbreaking ceremony at the current primary school, a few hundred staff members, teachers and parents celebrated the new building. Fairborn Mayor Paul Keller said in his speech that the building is “a huge step forward” for the city.
Keller said the current building doesn’t have the correct power distribution to handle modern equipment and computers. When it rains, water runs across the floor. Staff have been taping fans to electrical components to keep them from overheating.
The old building has a sprawling layout. Wilson said there are probably a half-mile of corridors inside it. That poses challenges when staff move students around the buildings for events such as tutoring.
“Right now it probably takes five minutes to go and get the student and then five minutes to walk him back,” he said.
The new building will be more compact. It will also have centralized air conditioning, while the old building only has window units.
Rooms in the new building will be paired together with removeable dividers. The gymnasium meets the requirements to serve as a tornado shelter.
“I think it’s awesome,” said Cheryl Wylie, who works as a special education aid to kindergarten students.
Wylie is most excited for the separate bathroom that will be attached to the room where the aids work with students. Current bathroom layouts would make it difficult for aids to assist students in wheelchairs who wear diapers, she said.
No students who use wheelchairs currently attend the school, but Wylie said it’s good for the school to be prepared in the future.
Keller brought up the Fairborn slogan, “a city in motion,” and said the new buildings are part of several new improvements for the city, including economic development and new housing.
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.