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Local Medina County News

School, business leaders convene

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    Roger Wright, center, director of the Four Cities Compact, holds up literature from the Success Bound Conference regarding crossover from the schools and business sector at a Medina County Economic Development Corp. meeting Thursday at Blair Rubber. Also pictured were Wadsworth Superintendent Andy Hill, left, and Medina Superintendent Aaron Sable.

    BOB FINNAN / GAZETTE

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SEVILLE — Leaders of each of the school districts in Medina County wanted to stress the positive to business leaders at the Medina County Economic Development Corp. meeting at Blair Rubber Co.

Many of the superintendents talked about new buildings going up in the county Thursday, an indication of taxpayer support of public education.

Brunswick Assistant Superintendent Tracy Wheeler spoke glowingly about the new $63 million middle school being built on Pearl Road behind Edwards and Visintainer middle schools.

The district’s three middle schools, Edwards, Visintainer and Willetts, will be combined into one facility with the completion of the project.

Construction is expected to start soon, Wheeler said.

“The fast track plan is to have kids in the school for the beginning of the 2020-21 school year,” she said.

Wheeler said she was proud of the Brunswick community for passing the bond issue last year.

“They hadn’t seen the (plans for the) building,” she said. “They had no idea what we were going to do, but they had faith enough in us to do it.”

Wheeler said the state is going to pay 37 percent of the project. She said the building will house up to 1,800 students.

The district’s plans won’t stop there. She said there’s a chance Brunswick might attempt to build a new high school. Wheeler said another bond issue would have to go on the ballot and the district would once again need financial support from the state.

“It would be so exciting for our community,” she said.

Highland is also planning to build three new elementary schools in Hinckley, Sharon and Granger townships and to renovate its middle school.

“We’re finalizing our designs and plans on the $63 million bond issue our community passed for three new elementary schools and renovation for our middle school,” Highland Superintendent Catherine Aukerman said. “We’re very excited. It’s been 90 years in the making.”

Plans call for the schools to be open in August 2021, she said.

“They are almost ready to start digging,” she said.

Medina County Career Center Superintendent Steve Chrisman said his school has been utilizing sales tax money it gets from the county to update its facility.

“We’re 60 to 70 percent of the way to completing the facility flip,” he said. “That’s infrastructure, building, technology — everything.”

Chrisman said the career center finished its precision machining lab last year and is redoing the engineering and carpentry labs this year.

He’s also excited about some of the school’s satellite programming.

“We have 1,000 students inside our building,” Chrisman said. “We are now impacting 2,000 outside of our building. Our impact on students is now 3,000, which was unfathomable a few years ago.”

Buckeye Superintendent Kent Morgan said the district is putting the finishing touches on its new baseball field.

Morgan said through Buckeye’s strategic plan, it plans to renovate and do some new construction at the junior high and high school.

“That should kick into action real shortly,” he said.

Here are updates for districts around the county:

  • Superintendent Daryl Kubilus said Cloverleaf started a teacher technology academy four years ago.
    “We didn’t think it was appropriate to hand out Chromebooks without teaching our teachers how to integrate them (in their classrooms),” he said. “Teachers have to apply for this academy. It’s limited. It’s a whole year of training, often on their own time. Now they train each other. It’s been a wonderful experience.”
    Now, every eighth-grader gets a Chromebook in the district.
    ”We wanted to make sure every teacher knew how to utilize them,” Kubilus said.
  • Medina Superintendent Aaron Sable said the district is in the second year of its strategic plan. By passing its continuous levy last year, “that has allowed us to go full force with the plan we have developed with our students, staff and community. In Year Two, we are starting to see the results of that.”
    He said students will have access to taking more electives.
    “This is our first year of all-day kindergarten,” he said. “I just learned a few days ago our kindergarten scores have gone up 40 percent from years past. Don’t tell me all-day kindergarten isn’t good for kids.”
    Sable said the district is also looking at redistricting.
    “We’re booming with new developments on our north and south ends,” he said. “Some of our buildings are overcrowded. We need to look at shifting students around.”
  • Roger Wright, director of the Four Cities Compact — it encompasses technical students from Wadsworth, Norton, Barberton and Copley — said he’s excited about a new cyber security program at Barberton and an animal science and care program at Copley.
  • Andy Hill, superintendent at Wadsworth, said his district is in the fourth year of its strategic plan.
    “We’ve done a lot with STEM,” he said.
    Wadsworth is expected to add offerings in the fall, including fine arts, extracurricular activities and mental health.
  • Black River Superintendent Chris Clark said after passing its levy last year, the district plans to upgrade the electrical system at Black River High School in anticipation of the installation of new HVAC units.
Contact reporter Bob Finnan at rfinnan@medina-gazette.com.
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