Buckeye Valley BOE talks about 5-day learning and school culture

With a five-day return to in-person learning scheduled to begin Monday, the Buckeye Valley School Board met Wednesday to discuss COVID-19 as well as high school culture.

During his regular virus update, Superintendent Andy Miller said cases in the district remain low with just two active student cases and no staff cases. Miller said there were 11 students and two staff in quarantine.

“We are below what we have been in those areas,” he said. “We are looking really good there. We don’t see any spread at school.

Miller added that he’s optimistic the numbers will stay low through the semester, in part because many spring sports are held outside in the open air.

“I think it will be a good thing for us,” he said.

Miller said the trend “continues to be positive” and there’s no reason the council shouldn’t implement its plan to move to five-day in-person learning next week. This semester, students in the “The Barons Are Back” learning plan attended school on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. No classes were held on Wednesdays to allow for school cleaning. The board voted last month to return the district to full education starting March 22 after many teachers and staff in the district were vaccinated.

Also at Wednesday’s meeting, Buckeye Valley High School Principal Brian Baker discussed the district’s plan to promote a culture of caring in the school, which was part of the district’s recently approved strategic plan. .

Baker said high school administrators worked with student council and focus groups to stimulate discussion and improve things around the school based on student feedback.

“We do certain things to increase student voice,” Baker said. “High school students want their voices heard, and if they don’t have a proper platform to make their voices heard, they turn to social media and it can get out of hand pretty quickly.”

He added that the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion focus group was a success and the school wants to build on it.

Baker said that recently students asked for a way to report bullying anonymously, so school counselors implemented a QR code that students could scan with their phones to file reports.

According to Baker, the school recently received five anonymous reports of bullying and investigated them. He said not all reports fit the district’s definition of bullying, but they are reaching out to parents to raise awareness.

Baker said the school also uses a block of time during the day called “Baron Time” to allow students and teachers to have discussions.

“Baron Time is the time of day for teachers to check in with students on grades and social emotional well-being,” Baker said.

The high school and administrators continue to work toward other ways to amplify student voices, Baker added.

“It’s something we’re really trying to work on,” he said. “Communication between teachers and students is more than content. … Students talk a little more with teachers, and we see that communication. Is it still perfect? No it is not. It will take time for this to improve. »

Baker said the school was also working with students to create more gender-neutral bathrooms at school after focus groups determined this was something important to students.

“It’s another way we try to listen, try to be open-minded and make people feel welcome and accepted,” he said.

The board approved the resignations of Fred Linn, assistant track coach, and Mark Malcom, replacement bus driver/guard. The board then approved the jobs of Maranda Dew, cashier at Buckeye Valley High School; Chris Webb, cook at Buckeye Valley Middle School; and Carmelle Smith, cashier at Buckeye Valley Middle School.

The next board meeting will take place on April 14.

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.

Martha K. Merrill