Superintendent warns of graduation requirements

New requirements putting students at risk

By Sam Wildow -

COVINGTON — Superintendent Gene Gooding on Wednesday evening brought the Covington Board of Education up to date on increasingly stricter graduation requirements coming from the state that will be affecting their students.

“There is going to be a problem,” Gooding said.

These new graduation requirements will go into effect with students who are currently juniors. The state’s graduation requirements will mandate that students must receive a certain number of points on their end-of-course exams along with getting the required number of course credits. Dave Larson, curriculum director at the Miami County Educational Services Center, gave the example of where an issue could arise; for instance, if a student did not get the required number of points on an end-of-course exam for algebra, but could not retake the class the following year as the student still needed to take a different math course in order to receive those course credits. The student could retake the end-of-course exam for algebra, but would be doing double the amount of work as they would be preparing for that exam again, as well as involved in a different math course at the same time.

Gooding also added that this could affect students who do really well throughout the year, but might not do so well on exams.

Larson said that these new graduation requirements will double the number of students at risk of not graduating as they had with students who took Ohio Graduation Tests (OGTs). Larson said the stricter graduation requirements, which the Ohio legislature approved approximately three to four years ago, were “good intentions gone awry.” Larson said that the tests were also not vetted properly and they have only been in use for two years.

Gooding said that Covington schools is currently educating parents and students on these requirements, but many educators want the state to re-evaluate these standards.

“This has to be evaluated,” Gooding said.

Also during their meeting, the board received updates on their building projects. Project Manager Steve Miller said that the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) has agreed to co-fund installing a water softener system for the new K-8 building. The system would be for the entire school and would protect the school’s HVAC system in addition to helping improve the drinking water. Miller did not have an estimate on the cost, but said that approximately 60 percent would be state-funded.

The district also has a positive fund balance for the K-8 building project. According to Miller, the balance currently left over from the project is approximately $380,000, with $217,000 of that being state funds. The remaining funds are local.

The board also approved going forward to seek proposals for design services for the connecting corridor that will go between the K-8 building and the high school. The proposals will be due Nov. 4, shortly after which the district will choose a firm. Following that, the project could possibly be bid out for construction by February.

Also during the meeting, sixth grader Hayden “Mic” Barhorst was honored in the student spotlight. Barhorst is currently student council president and on the honor roll.

“He enjoys going to school,” teacher Jim Meyer said.

Barhorst also enjoys sports, playing basketball, football, and baseball, and likes spending time with his family, at his church, and doing outdoor activities.

“Mic is very friendly. He always shakes my hand,” Meyer said.

Meyer also read from a list of what Barhorst’s teachers had to say about him, including that Barhorst is kind and “strives for high academic success.”

“He’s just a great person for our school — a great leader for our school,” Meyer said.

“I’m happy for being a Buccaneer,” Barhorst said.

New requirements putting students at risk

By Sam Wildow

Reach Sam Wildow at or (937) 451-3336

Reach Sam Wildow at or (937) 451-3336