Warren pursues college credit plan

VINCENT – A grant the Warren Local school district is pursuing would open up more college-credit opportunities at the high school.

“It’s my goal within the next couple of years as we lay this out to have everyone graduate with some college credit,” Warren Superintendent Kyle Newton told board of education members at their regular meeting Tuesday.

The district is joining a consortium of schools under the umbrella of the Ohio Appalachian Collaborative to apply for a $15 million grant from the state’s newly created Straight A Fund, intended to provide seed money for sustainable, problem-solving solutions to issues facing schools. The funding would help teachers get credentials to teach college-level courses, under the banner of the Ohio Appalachian Collaborative Community College.

Distance-learning technology could be utilized to allow teachers to offer classes to students at other participating schools. Newton said a similar approach was utilized by Crooksville Exempted Village Schools, where he previously worked, along with Morgan Local and New Lexington City Schools.

Increasing dual-enrollment courses, which the district already offers in conjunction with Washington State Community College, would encourage more students to stay on-campus to earn college-credit, Newton said. That would keep them more connected to the high school experience, he said. It also means state funding wouldn’t follow them off-campus.

Newton said there are currently 44 Warren High School students attending classes at Washington State via the post-secondary enrollment option, or PSEO.

Earning more college credit can cut down on tuition expenses after high school, Newton said.

In addition, having more such courses at the school would open them up to students who might not have thought about attending college. Newton said if they experience the success of passing a college-level course, it might encourage them to pursue education after high school.

“It’s a culture-changer,” he said. “Even if we don’t get these grants, I’m still going to move in this direction because it’s the right thing to do.”

The board unanimously approved signing on with another Ohio Appalachian Collaborative grant application, this one for $30 million in federal Race to the Top funds to support personalized learning networks, which would allow for more differentiation of instruction for students in grades six through 12.

In other business

Buildings and grounds committee Chairman Bob Allen and committee member Bob Crum recommended the district contribute $5,000 toward work to address issues at the high school baseball field, including leveling the playing surface and re-covering that area with sod. The athletic boosters have committed $15,000 to the project, and they plan to do fundraisers to cover the remaining $7,000 to $12,000 of the estimated cost.

The expenditure did not require board approval because it is under the $25,000 minimum bid limit.

Allen reported the roofing project at the high school is complete, with only a few punch list items remaining to go over. Permits have been requested for boiler replacements at the high school and Warren Elementary School, and replacement of some 76-year-old windows at Little Hocking Elementary is expected to be complete by early October.

Newton informed building and grounds committee members at an earlier meeting Monday that wrestling Coach Mike Pahl approached him about constructing a 70-by-90-foot wrestling facility that would include a wrestling area, coach’s office and classroom at the high school.

“That would be all privately funded,” Allen said.

The donor wishes to remain anonymous at this time, Allen said.