New advanced class at Symmes Valley HS

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 29, 2007

At Symmes Valley, they are trying to improve on what they already have.

Symmes Valley High School Principal Jeff Saunders said the school added an advanced placement class.

“This will be our first year for AP classes and we are adding AP biology which is a first for us,” he said.

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School began last Friday.

The school has one new full-time teacher, Meghan Leighty who will teach English to sophomores and juniors. She was a part-time teacher last year and was hired as full time this year. Aaron Freeman, who will teach freshman English, is filling her part-time position.

One popular program that is being continued is the Viking Incentive Program.

“The kids really enjoy that,” Saunders said. In the VIP program, students earn Viking bucks by doing a variety of things at the school.

“It can be good grades, good behavior, good attendance, or just being a good citizen,” Saunders said. “There are different ways teachers can reward them and in turn, the students can put the Viking bucks into a drawing to win prizes.”

The drawings are held twice a year, once at the end of the semester and then at the end of the school year. Prizes include gift cards to area restaurants. The big prize is a good used car donated by Higgins Chevrolet.

“We give away a lot of donated prizes and we have a good time with it,” Saunders said. “The students love it. The Viking buck becomes very valuable and the closer it gets to the end of the semester, it gets more exciting.”

Among the improvements to the school is work in the gymnasium.

“We redid the floors and put in new bleachers as one of our capital projects,” Saunders said. “We also put in new bleachers at the football field for more seating. For our small school we don’t need much but it added about 250 more seats.”

Academically, the staff will be analyzing test data.

“That is so we can hopefully increase Ohio Graduation Test and ACT scores,” he said. “It will be a lot of analysis to see if there are any areas we need to stress more. Even the areas we passed, we want to do better.”

At the elementary and junior high schools, the staff will be doing the same.

“We are going to be dealing with a lot of data this year to make sure the most out of materials, our teachers and our students,” said Bob Harris, the principal of the elementary and junior high schools. “The eighth grade science and social studies test were completely new this year, so we want to make sure we are headed in the right direction.”

The kindergarten through fifth grade will have a new reading series called Scott Forseman Reading Street. Older students have already used other programs from the same company.

“After reviewing eight or nine other programs, we decided to stay with it, just with a new series,” Harris said. “We’ve had pretty good success with it.”