The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

February 21, 2013

Buckeye Local School District looks to tweak schools’ names

Star Beacon

ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP — The names of Braden and Edgewood schools in the Buckeye Local School District could be tweaked by the board at its March meeting.

Superintendent Joseph Spiccia recommended the name changes to the board during its meeting Tuesday evening. He said the tweaks would bring the schools’ names in line with the grade levels that the buildings house and, especially at Braden, the specialized approach to education.

Braden Junior High School would become Braden Middle School if the board adopts Spiccia’s recommendation.

With the closing of North Kingsville Elementary School two years ago, the district shifted its sixth-grade population to Braden, previously grades seven and eight. However, the sixth-graders are not integrated into the “junior high program,” although an effort to do that next year is under way, Braden Principal William Billington told the group.

Spiccia told the board that renaming the building would bring it “more in line with what Braden is today.” He said middle schools attempt to address “the students’ social and emotional needs, of that ages 12 to 14 group. That’s a significance difference.”

“More growth occurs during this time period than any other time in the students’ lives,” Billington said.

The growth is uneven from student to student, which creates a paradox for educators.

“We group them together not because they are so much alike, but because they are different,” Billington said. “We have to treat them the same because of their diversity.”

Spiccia said that in a middle-school environment, the teachers take a team approach to instruction at each grade level and meet regularly to foster collaboration. Billington, prior to Spiccia bringing up the name change, spoke about the various efforts already under way at the school to bring it in line with the middle school model. Among the goals is to expand to one hour each the language arts and mathematics classes and offer more advisory class options to the sixth graders. The classes provide life skills areas such as yoga, home remodeling and football. Billington also wants to expand the amount of science lab time all middle school students would receive.

With all the changes that are taking place in the school this year, Spiccia said Braden is “far more a middle school than a junior high” and recommended the board take up a formal resolution to change the name next month.

Along with that change would come dropping “senior” from Edgewood Senior High School, which has not been a “senior” high for decades. Spiccia said senior high schools were traditionally grades 10 to 12, while junior highs were grades seven through nine. He said making the school’s name Edgewood High would more accurately reflect reality.

Board members had a few questions for the superintendent, but overall showed no resistance to the plan.

“I have no problem with either,” said Vice President Mark Estock.

“It seems to me the logical thing to make those changes, when we are already there,” board President Jacqueline Hillyer said.