PCS faces influx of former ECOT students

By Belinda M. Paschal - bpaschal@aimmediamidwest.com

PIQUA – With the recent closure of Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow online charter schools, the Piqua City School district is facing challenges as former ECOT students trickle back to the public school system to complete their education.

Darrell Hite, assistant principal of Piqua High School, discussed these challenges before the PCS Board of Education on Thursday, saying, “We have enrolled several students and gotten them set up with a plan for success.” However, he noted, “We have 61 potential Piqua students who are left in limbo, the majority of them high school students.”

These potential students, several of whom range from 18 to 20 years old, are faced with such problems as being credit-deficient or lacking the necessary academic records to enroll in school, Hite said. In addition, attendance can present another challenge with students coming from non-traditional educational environments.

On a more positive note, Hite cited such alternatives at the NovaNet online learning program started about a decade ago by Tony Lyons, who now serves as the district’s assistant superintendent. NovaNet students take online classes during the earlier part of the day, then attend “second shift” classes from 2:30 to 5 p.m. There are currently nine students enrolled in the program, Hite said.

Hite noted that virtual learning has proven to be a viable option for transient students – i.e., those who enroll from other districts partway through the academic year, as well as for those with limiting medical conditions, teen parents, and those whose work schedules conflict with school hours.

“Some of our students are working near(ly) full-time and the traditional school setting doesn’t work for them,” Hite said.

Thursday’s meeting was hosted by Springcreek Primary School, where Principal Connie Strehle gave the building update on student achievement in the form of a video depicting the numerous programs and activities designed to encourage academic success and social development, from first graders learning about where corn comes from through picking and shucking it, to students undertaking data collection exercises, physical education events, engaging in the arts, visits from veterans, and more.

“We are very blessed (with) what’s going on here at Springcreek,” Strehle said at the end of the video presentation.

Another presentation honored the BOE members, as January is Board Appreciation Month. The board was presented with thank-you gifts from each school in the district: a video created by the PHS media class; cards from Piqua Junior High and Piqua Central Intermediate schools; goodie bags and a banner from Washington Primary; and from Springcreek, photos of students assembled to form the letters “PCS.”

While the board was appreciative of the acknowledgment, BOE President Andy Hite returned the compliment to the staff of PCS.

“We appreciate all you guys do throughout the year,” he said. “The reason each of us in on the board is because we care about the kids.”

Superintendent Dwayne Thompson took a moment to note the retirement of PHS business teacher Rick Claprood, whom he praised as “an outstanding varsity softball coach as well.”

The board then went into executive session, during which no action was taken.

The next meeting of the PCS Board of Education will be at 6 p.m. Feb. 22, at Washington Primary School. BOE meetings can be viewed online at www.piqua.org/Boxcast.aspx.

By Belinda M. Paschal


Reach Belinda M. Paschal at bpaschal@aimmediamidwest.com or (937) 451-3341

Reach Belinda M. Paschal at bpaschal@aimmediamidwest.com or (937) 451-3341