Covington BOE ‘spotlights’ student, teacher

By Aimee Hancock - Miami Valley Today

COVINGTON — The Covington Board of Education recognized eighth-grader Kila Stephan as part of the “Student Spotlight” during the board’s regular meeting on Wednesday.

High School Principal Josh Meyer said Kila was nominated due to her “strong leadership skills, terrific attitude, and mental toughness.”

“Kila had a record number of nominations for ‘Student of the Month,’ so I decided she deserved the ‘Student Spotlight,’” Meyer said. “One thing more than one teacher said about Kila is how she strives to keep her grades up, complete all of her work, and always takes that initiative to go and check with her teachers to see what she has to do (to succeed). She has a high level of responsibility.”

Kila is the daughter of Kia and Mike Stephan.

Recognized as part of the “Staff Spotlight” teacher Tyler Cates.

“Mr. Cates is passionate about teaching and learning,” Meyer said. “He’s such a great fit in the classroom with our students, and his commitment to developing leaders, and all the skills and life skills that he instills, is just so valuable. One thing I really count on him for is his ability to really relate to our students.”

Cates teaches social studies to seventh- through 12th-graders and is the head football coach.

Meyer also gave the board an ACT update.

The ACT measures comprehension in five core areas: English, math, science, and writing (optional). It is most often used as a tool for college placement and remediation and, up until last year, the optional test was most often taken by those students interested in attending post-secondary school. However, in 2018, the State of Ohio has mandated that all juniors in high school take the ACT.

According to Meyer, around 35 percent of seniors graduating from Covington High School plan to attend a four-year college, and in 2019, 20 percent of CHS juniors met college readiness scores in all four ACT-tested subjects.

This year, Meyer said, the test was offered in an online format, which he said better suited the needs and comfort level of most students. Moving forward, he said, goals for strengthening ACT scores include courses to help students prepare for the test; offering the PSAT to juniors in the fall, prior to the ACT in the winter; embedding ACT prep in coursework, especially math and science, at the junior level; teaching/focusing on test-taking strategies, such as using all of the allotted time, jotting down notes in margins, reading strategies, and how to manage test anxiety; along with advertising ACT prep courses/remedial resources via the school website, student meetings, mass emails, class visits, and utilizing ACT prep books.

Technology director Eric Griffith gave a technology update regarding the use and purchasing of electronic tools provided to students.

According to Griffith, in the 2019-2020 school year, kindergarten and specialty areas have 130 iPads for use throughout the school day. In first grade, students are then introduced to the touch screen Chromebooks as a learning tool, and the school has 60 of these available for in-class use.

Grades second through fourth are allotted 14 carts of 20 to 29 Chromebooks, as needed, for use throughout the day, and beginning in fifth grade, students are assigned their own Chromebook, along with a protective bag. For grades fifth through sixth, the school has 135 Chromebooks.

Beginning in seventh grade, and throughout twelfth grade, students are allowed to take their assigned Chromebooks home with them. For these grades, the school has 400 Chromebooks.

Due to the manufacturer-set “end of life” for these electronics, students receive a new Chromebook in first, fifth and ninth grades. After graduating, Griffith said, students are allowed to keep their assigned Chromebook.

Griffith said a rotation plan for Chromebooks and iPads allows the devices to be used to their full designed capacity, while also serving several purposes, including student use and staff use, along with the future goal to sell retired devices to a parts supplier for parts credit, and refurbishing damaged Chromebooks in order to use replacement parts for spares.

According to Griffith, the total cost for a touch screen Chromebook is $305 and $240 for a non-touch screen. The devices, if manufactured after 2018, have a 5.5- to 6-year life span, which may allow the device rotation cycle to change from every four years to every five. The goal, Griffith said, is to replace 250 Chromebooks per year and make this a sustainable solution for the district.

By Aimee Hancock

Miami Valley Today

Reach the writer at © 2019 Miami Valley Today, all rights reserved.

Reach the writer at © 2019 Miami Valley Today, all rights reserved.