The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

August 28, 2013

New classes, faces greet students at 3 Ashtabula County school districts

A new school year with some new twists began Tuesday for students in the Buckeye, Ashtabula and Conneaut districts.

The Buckeye Local School District has a lot of new offerings this year, according to principals at Edgewood High School and Kingsville Elementary School.

Edgewood Principal Karl Williamson said three new classes are offered this year: Advanced Placement (AP) United States History for sophomores, AP English Composition for juniors, and AP Statistics for juniors and seniors.

“We’re looking to add three to four new classes next year,” said Williamson. “We’re going to add AP Calculus, two manufacturing courses, and an engineering STEM course.”

He also said they are creating a manufacturing academy next year, and they have a partnership with some local manufacturing companies. “We will be introducing the new classes to the superintendent for board approval in September,” he said.

As for the first day, Williamson said it “went very, very well. The students are excited. The staff is welcoming, and we’re looking forward to a great year.”

“It’s really been a great first day,” he continued. “It’s been quiet. Students are in classes, teachers are teaching and we’re happy.”

Kingsville Elementary School Principal Traci Landis expressed similar excitement. “It’s going very well so far. We met all of our state indicators,” she said, “so we received an A on our report card from the state. So, we’re excited to start the year that way.”

Landis  continued,  “This  is  the

first time our school has met all of our indicators. We’re so proud of our students.”

While they don’t have any new programs, she said that new this year is a community partnership with the Ashtabula YMCA. They are offering a before and after school childcare program, and it is held in the gym, according to Landis.

Workers from the YMCA will watch the children enrolled in the program from 6:30 a.m. to the start of school, and again from the end of the school day until 6 p.m. Landis said they will do crafts, play games and help with homework.

“This way working parents won’t have to worry about finding a baby-sitter,” explained Landis. “It avoids the middle stop in the morning and also after school.”

She said the program is also being offered at Braden Middle School and Ridgeview Elementary School.

The Conneaut Area City Schools district began the 2013-2014 year in good fashion, said Superintendent Kent Houston. Aside from a few bus route glitches, the first day was “pretty smooth,” he said.

“I visited every building,” Houston said. “There didn’t seem to be any problems.”

Students at two buildings will encounter new faces among the administrative staff. At Conneaut Middle School, Joel Taylor and Doug Hedrick now serve as principal and assistant principal, respectively. Taylor comes to CMS from Conneaut High School, where he served as assistant principal. Hedrick, a long-time educator, is making his debut as an administrator.

Taylor said his first day with kids was going well.

“I’m making the transition OK, thanks to a lot of good teachers who are helping me and a staff that’s been really supportive,” he said Tuesday.

Taylor took the place of Rita Maslovsky, who is now assistant principal at CHS. Hedrick succeeds John Roskovics, who is retired.

Meanwhile, students at Gateway Elementary School will see a temporary principal for the next few weeks. Krissy Mucci, the Conneaut district’s director of curriculum, testing and instruction, is filling in for Liesl Blackwell, who is recuperating from a medical procedure.

Lakeside administrators reported a smooth transition for students and parents returning to school throughout the Ashtabula Area City Schools district.

“Everything went very well ... this is wonderful,” said Superior Intermediate School Principal Christine Rutz. She said children were  able to get to class on time with a very smooth transition process.

Ashtabula Area City Schools Superintendent Patrick Colucci said he spent a lot of time at the five-school complex and liked what he saw.

“The kids were excited. The staff was excited to be back,” he said.

Colucci said he asked the staff to focus on welcoming parents and the community to schools and he saw those attributes in action.

“Everybody was greeting everyone with a kind hello,” he said.

Volunteers were in place to help parents and students find their homerooms.

Colucci said Lakeside High School Principal Donald Rapose said it was the best opening day ever. Colucci also said he wanted to thank all of the school district employees for making his first day of school, as a superintendent, a success.

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