Open house, dedication for new Covington school building announced

By Sam Wildow -

COVINGTON — The dates for the community open house and dedication ceremony for the new school in Covington were announced during the Covington Board of Education meeting Thursday evening.

The community open house for the new school building will be held on Sunday, Aug. 21, from 2-4 p.m. The event is open to the public, giving community members the opportunity to walk through the new building. The dedication ceremony for the building will held on Sunday, Sept. 11, tentatively at 2 p.m.

“I think it’ll be a nice event,” Superintendent Gene Gooding said.

The new school, which will be for kindergarten through eighth grade, is located on Chestnut Street next to the Covington High School.

The board also approved a change order of approximately $50,830 for the removal of additional underground storage tanks at the old elementary and middle school locations. The board was aware of this possible change order occurring.

“We knew this could have happened,” board member Alex Reck said.

Board member Mark Miller noted that they did not have any say over the development of that cost, as the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) had certain criteria that needed to be met. The OFCC also could not tell for sure how much the cost was going to be without doing demolition, according to Miller.

Also during their meeting, the board approved the purchase of Dell Chromebook laptop computers for $26,910. The board purchased five units per classroom for the new school for a total of 130 laptops. The Chromebooks will be utilized for all-electronic testing this coming school year.

“These are going to be a tremendous help,” Gooding said.

The board then approved a service agreement with Piqua City Schools to share food service coordinator services. Gooding said that will be a cost of approximately $12,000. The board also noted this agreement is saving the district money, as the cost is approximately one-third the cost of having their own food service coordinator services.

Next, the board approved the purchase of Ohio ScienceFusion six-year curriculum program for grades four through eight from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. The cost was approximately $26,952.

Toward the end of the meeting, the board received a curriculum update from Dave Larson, who will be assuming the position of curriculum director at the Miami County Educational Services Center.

During the summer, Larson met with each of the teachers at Covington schools about where they felt they could use some curriculum support. Larson mentioned the importance of looking at trend data and how he plans to examine results from the state testing over recent years.

Larson also discussed a concern involving English language arts.

“Our students … have done pretty well on reading assessment tests,” Larson said.

Larson said, though, that there also needs to be more focus on writing well and teaching students how to convey ideas well through writing.

Larson also mentioned having the district look at “teacher-based team meetings” where teachers can collaborate on interdisciplinary lessons where skills from their respective classes may overlap to lessons in other classes. Larson added that those types of meetings could give teachers the opportunity to make their own assessments rather than just wait until the state assessments come out, so they can look at areas of concern on a regular basis.

“We’re not in a bad situation,” Larson said. “We know there are areas we can improve in.”

Lastly, Larson also touched on the idea of moving to standards-based report cards for grades kindergarten through sixth. The standards-based report card would show parents and guardians what topics in each subject their children are doing well in or struggling with rather than simply giving the child a letter grade.

Overall, Larson said that the goal was to “engage teachers in that planning.”

By Sam Wildow

Reach Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336

Reach Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336