Some local schools close, others make plans for Monday’s solar eclipse 

Published: Wednesday, August 16, 2017 @ 8:28 PM
Updated: Friday, August 18, 2017 @ 7:55 PM

UPDATE @6:40 a.m. (Aug. 21)

Catholic Central is closed today due to the eclipse.

UPDATE @6:23 a.m. (Aug. 21)

Northridge Local Schools is delaying its first day of the year until Tuesday.

The district’s first day of school was scheduled for today, but due to the eclipse, was delayed a day, according to the district’s website.

>> Solar eclipse 2017 happening today: How to watch and what to know

UPDATE @ 7:55 p.m. (Aug. 18)

Southeastern Local Schools in South Charleston announced Friday night that it would close Monday out of concern for student safety.

The Great American Eclipse will happen during dismissal times, district officials said on its Twitter feed.

The district is among several across the region that have opted to close.

UPDATE @ 2:30 p.m. (Aug. 18)

Springboro Community Schools notified parents Friday of its plans regarding Monday’s solar eclipse.

Several grades normal release time will occur during the peak of the solar eclipse at 2:27 p.m. Due to that, the district has decided to count absences or early dismissals related to the solar eclipse as excused for students at any building.

Those that choose to attend school will be dismissed to their buses or cars at their normal time during the eclipse peak, but will be instructed by teachers to not look directly at the sun without approved American Astrological Society (AAS) standard eclipse glasses:

  • To walk in a straight line outside
  • Look directly ahead or at the ground
  • Any student not following the guidelines will be escorted back in to the school

Some students in the district will get the opportunity to view the solar eclipse outdoors.

Students in 5th grade at Dennis Elementary will be issued AAS standard eclipse glasses to view the event because according to the district,  the solar eclipse aligns with the grade’s science curriculum. Other 5th grade students at Five Points Elementary will have to view a live stream of the eclipse due to a glasses order not being fulfilled. 

Students at Springboro Junior High School who return a signed permission slip and supply their own eclipse glasses will also be allowed to view the eclipse outdoors because the eclipse aligns with 7th grade Science standards.

All other grades will be be kept indoors after 1 p.m. and be allowed to watch a live stream of the eclipse in their classrooms.

For more details on Springboro Schools eclipse plans, click here.

UPDATE @ 5:29 p.m. (Aug. 17)

Practice for Bellbrook High School sports teams will be limited to indoor activities from 1 to 4 p.m. Monday due to the eclipse.

Xenia Community Schools will be closed Monday, Aug. 21.

EARLIER REPORT

Many school districts across the region are planning to turn Monday’s Great American Eclipse into a great learning opportunity.

Beavercreek City Schools is among about 20 districts to return to class today.

“Kids are excited, the staff is excited,” Superintendent Paul Otten said.

In addition to regular planning for the upcoming academic year, the district had to consider the Great American Eclipse. The district bought eclipse glasses earlier this summer.

“Every student and staff member in the district will be getting solar glasses,” which Otten said will be handed out Monday to the district’s staff and more than 7,800 students.

Teachers are enthusiastic about an interactive science lesson, the superintendent said.

“They saw it immediately as a learning experience for our kids, and instead of just trying to talk about it in the classroom, we wanted to give them an opportunity to get out and experience it firsthand,” Otten said.

Lena Ellis’ daughter started kindergarten today. “She’s so ready,” said Ellis, who admitted she is as well. “Mommy gets her break.”

She applauds the district for making sure science lessons on the eclipse will be safe.

“I think it’s wonderful they’ll keep their eyes protected,” Ellis said.

However, students must have parental permission to participate in outdoor eclipse activities. Letters will be sent home by the end of the week.

More eclipse-related news is on the News Center 7 website’s  #SkyWitness7 page.

News Center 7 will livestream special eclipse coverage Monday on Facebook and www.whio.com. A special broadcast also will be on AM 1290 and 95.7 WHIO.

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Former Warren County school board member now district’s assistant superintendent

Published: Friday, May 25, 2018 @ 9:00 AM

Robyn Donisi
Robyn Donisi

A Franklin school board member who stepped down in January was hired as the district’s new assistant superintendent.

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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.

MORE: ‘See something, say something’ working for Warren County school

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.

She and her family reside in Franklin.

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Centerville mom claims autistic son held in a ‘detention room’ size of a closet

Published: Wednesday, May 23, 2018 @ 5:43 PM

Centerville mom troubled with way school disciplined son

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.

MORE: Miamisburg officers cleared in April officer-involved shooting

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.

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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.”

The investigation is ongoing, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

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Hamilton Schools to undergo security changes this summer

Published: Wednesday, May 23, 2018 @ 10:11 AM

Kings Schools are 1 of a few area districts using an anti-shooter device to keep students safer in classrooms.

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.

MORE: Middletown High School closes on last day due to threat

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.

MORE: ‘What are you waiting for?’, sheriff asks school boards

“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.

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“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.

The 2017-2018 school year ended for Hamilton students last week.

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Threat cancels Middletown High School’s last day of classes

Published: Tuesday, May 22, 2018 @ 5:00 PM
Updated: Wednesday, May 23, 2018 @ 4:00 AM

Middletown High School modernized.

A threat of deadly violence will close Middletown High School today, prematurely ending the school year.

A student tip about a possibly deadly threat appeared serious enough to cancel classes for the high school on what was to be the last day of the school year, Middletown School officials told this news outlet Tuesday.

MORE: Sheriff to school boards on security: What are you waiting for?

Superintendent Marlon Styles Jr. declined to reveal the nature of the threat but said Middletown Police, which provides officers in the city school district, was immediately notified and is now investigating the threat to determine who is responsible.

“The threat is specific enough that we believe the safest option for our students and staff is to close the high school (Wednesday),” Styles said.

The threat does not change tonight’s scheduled Middletown High School graduation ceremony at Barnitz Stadium, he said, adding that extra police protection will be in place for ceremony.

MORE: Middletown graduation moves after parents shut out of last year’s ceremony

All other Middletown schools will hold final day classes and activities today as planned.

“Our School Resource Police Officers (SRO) and staff reviewed videotapes and interviewed students and staff. The Butler County School Safety Director and Emergency Management Agency (EMA) are using their resources to scan social media. At Middletown City Schools, we take all threats seriously and we will press charges,” Styles said.

“We have been shown a sign of violence and we will act to keep our schools safe for all students and staff. We are encouraging parents to talk with their sons and daughters and report anything they might know (about the threat) to the Middletown Police Dispatch at 513-425-7700. That call will be kept confidential. As always, the safety and security of our students and staff is our number one priority,” he said.

“While we are saddened this is happening on the eve of our graduation celebration, we must keep our Middie family safe. We will have an increased police presence at graduation. Our focus tonight is celebrating our seniors and their successes,” Styles said.

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