Chesy schools add new programs

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Chesapeake — Chesapeake School Superintendent Sam Hall says he has much to brag about when it comes to the three schools in the district.

From high academic performance and extracurricular activities to innovative programs and state-of-the art facilities, Hall said the district is doing everything it can to take its students educational experience to a higher level.

“I really think we are providing a good learning environment for our kids. It’s conducive to learning and they don’t have to worry about their safety or any other distractions like that,” the superintendent said. “We work hard to address any problems that may come up and we take care of them.&uot;

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Hall said the continued growth of the school system shows that the schools are doing their jobs. Enrollment has steadily increased since Hall’s hiring five years ago, the district has gained about 150 students, he said.

At the elementary school level, he said the free breakfast program implemented last year has been an overwhelming success. The district offers a meal to every student, every school day free of charge.

“This is something we are really proud of and something that is a great service that the board has provided for our students,” Hall said. “We can get the kids a good meal and it helps them get ready to learn.”

The breakfast program started on a month-to-month basis at the middle school this year, he said. The district is studying whether it would be cost effective for those students, as well.

At the high school, the hiring of new varsity basketball coach Ron Reed, former Ohio University Southern coach, has been an exciting change, Hall said. Several other teachers have been hired that Hall said will also make a positive impact.

Kim Wells, middle school principal, said block scheduling for the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders is the one major change at her school this year. Instead of seven 45-minute classes, there are now four 80-minute classes. Although a little challenging, the new schedule is catching on, she said.

“I think there are a lot of benefits. There are smaller class sizes and more instructional time for the teachers,” Wells said.

“Many times, in math and science classes especially, there just wasn’t enough time for hands-on experiments or other activities like that.”

The middle school performed well on Ohio proficiency tests, but Wells said there is always room for improvement.

At the elementary school, Principal Jack Finch said they are working hard to keep their &uot;excellent&uot; rating they received on the Ohio Department of Education’s report cards that were released last week. It was the first time the school received the rating, the best given out by the state.

“We really attribute this to hard work, so that’s what we are going to continue to do,” he said.

The elementary is also putting the final touches on its outdoor science and math lab, which will be formally dedicated by American Electric Power later this year. So far, Finch said, the ecological program has been a success – there are baby bluegill currently making their home at the elementary school’s pond, he said.

The high school has added several new activities, said Joe Rase, principal. Show choir, freshman computer literacy and advanced television production are just a few of the new activities offered to high schoolers.

“We just keep trying to do new things. We want to keep the school moving in a positive direction,” Rase said.