The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

August 27, 2013

First day back at school includes many new classes

Star Beacon

ASHTABULA — Monday was the first day back at school for Pymatuning Valley, Grand Valley, and Geneva schools.

Pymatuning Valley Local School District superintendent, Mike Candela, said the first day of school went very smoothly. “Everything was planned out very well this morning, and everybody’s hard work is paying off,” he said.

The principal of P.V. High School, Dan Jackson, said he was concerned about the report card grades, and that they are striving to improve. “We took an honest look at ourselves and the report card,” he said. “We’re going to look specifically at the Ohio Graduation Tests, even though they will be phased out soon.”

Jackson added, “For me it’s important that the people know we are doing our best to do what’s right for the students, especially with the sometimes rigorous requirements of the state. We’re proud of what we’re able to accomplish.”

This year, P.V. High School added a tenth period to the school day which allowed them to introduced labs back into science classes. According to Jackson, it also gave students the opportunity to take an extra class each year.

He said, “Arts, fine arts, business, and agriculture are important to producing well-rounded students.”

They aldo added three new classes this school year: Advanced Placement (AP) Chemistry; a dual credit physics course that is taken in high school while the students can simultaneously earn college credit from Kent State University; and a robotics course.

Grand Valley High School also added some new courses this school year — the first AP courses in the district, according to Grand Valley HS principal, Doug Hitchcock.

The new courses are AP Art, AP English, and AP Trigonometry and Calculus. “Hopefully next year we’ll add three or four more AP courses,” said Hitchcock. “That’s our goal.”

He added, “We’re having a really nice first day. Things are moving very smoothly.  The students seem to be excited to be back and so do the teachers, so we’re looking forward to a good year.”

Grand Valley Middle School has something else new this year—a new principal. Principal Roberta Cozad said, “I have a fantastic support system here. They’re helping me learn the GV culture in the middle school. Every school has a different culture.”

“I think it’s going to be a fantastic year,” she continued. “The students truly seem excited to be here. The teachers want the children to be here, and the children know it.”

They shared the first-day excitement at Geneva’s Platt R. Spencer Elementary School. Principal Michael Penzenik said, “The kids were really excited to be back. They had their brand new clothes and brand new backpacks. They were so excited to see each other, and to see what their new teachers looked like.”

“The kids were really happy,” he said.