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Published: Wednesday, March 07, 2018 @ 5:30 AM
MADISON TWP. — Last fall’s historic Madison High School football playoff run may now lead to some more history-making: The school system’s first artificial surface playing field.
Madison is one of only three districts in the county – the others being Ross and New Miami - that still play on natural grass, but school officials this week launched a fundraiser to change that.
Some of their most compelling arguments for the need for a changes might come from memories of the school’s first playoff game victory ever last November against Anna High School.
Madison won 14-10, but the wet, natural grass of Brandenburg Field was churned into a mud bath, virtually destroying the playing surface and leaving it unusable for months.
Madison officials hope to avoid that scenario for football, soccer, baseball and other boys and girls sports by purchasing an all-weather turf field now sported by almost all southwest Ohio school districts.
“Academically, we have some of the best buildings and technology in the area. However, athletically, our facilities are dated and worn. It’s time to give our students facilities that are equal to their level of effort and success,” said Madison schools Superintendent Curtis Philpot.
Beyond eliminating muddy football games that can ruin a field for the rest of the season, synthetic fields have many advantages.
The plastic grass fields are more durable, take less maintenance costs and can even become revenue generators for school districts that rent out the fields to local youth and adult sports leagues.
Non-prep sports participants — such as gym classes and marching bands — can also use the fields nearly year around. And Madison officials said elementary students, whose school is part of the kindergarten through 12th grade campus, can use the field during recess.
More than a dozen years ago, artificial turf playing fields began showing up at southwest Ohio high schools due to enhanced affordability, though they are still pricey, ranging from $500,000 to $1.5 million.
Some local schools, such as Hamilton High School, are already on their second generation of plastic turf fields, which last about a decade.
This week, Madison officials unveiled a fundraising website to generate private donations to augment the district’s cost of upgrading their field.
On the website, school officials said, “due to the wear and tear on the field and inefficient drainage, the field surface deteriorates throughout the fall season and as a result is unable to be used until the following summer.”
Some school and community booster groups have already endorsed the idea and are planning their own fundraising events to help.
Matt Morrison, Madison athletic director, said, “we want people to know that this is about more than just field turf. This project will provide a place to learn about motivation, pride, community and so much more. And not just our current students, but truly this is a field for our future.”
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.