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Symmes Valley welcomes new school year

AID TOWNSHIP — Some new faces, a revamped class, an increase in lunch prices and a renewed emphasis on academics are the changes greeting Symmes Valley staff and students returning to class this week. The first day for students is today.

Districtwide

Superintendent Tom Ben said the major undertaking this year will the Ohio Improvement Process, an Ohio Department of Education program that identifies the district’s weaker areas and finds ways to solve them. Ben said while he thinks the district has a good curriculum and a solid educational foundation the OIP will hopefully allow the district to further improve.

The district has approximately 830 students and Ben said he expects that to remain fairly steady this year.

“We had a drop three years ago in 2005 when we lost about 60 students and for a small district that as substantial. People were leaving the area because of the economy. We were up a little last year,” Ben said.

Another change this year: Lunch prices. The cost of lunch will be $1.50. Ben said nobody wanted to raise the price of meals but the board had had to supplement the food service budget for the last two years. The price of lunch had remains at $1 for the last 15 years.

At the high school

Principal Jeff Saunders said the family and consumer science class at the high school (think home economics if you’re older than, say, 40) has been revamped to allow for more career education in addition to the old standards of housekeeping and child care.

“We still teach cooking and sewing but not full classes like it used to be,” Saunders said. “Now, these are intertwined with the career classes.”

Spanish students will find a new teacher waiting on them today: Mary Cooke will replace Ryan McKee, who accepted the pastorship at Mamre Baptist Church.

Early years

At the elementary school, Principal Bob Harris said his building has a new speech therapist, Catherine Brown. She replaces Linda Meyers, who retired. Additionally, Leslie Floyd has joined the school staff as a part-time math teacher and Lee Ann Klaiber as part-time social studies teacher.