LEES CREEK — Encouraging and demonstrating sportsmanship are two goals at East Clinton for the new school year — the final year before five other schools in the South Central Ohio League (SCOL) leave the league.
“I don’t know what kind of bad blood is out there between communities and people, I don’t know what that is. But as a district, I want to be ready to deal with any of those type of things that may come up, and I want to keep it off the field. I don’t want our students to be involved in any of those type of things,” East Clinton Superintendent Eric Magee said at Tuesday’s board meeting.
In February 2016, Chillicothe, Hillsboro, McClain, Miami Trace and Washington Senior announced they would depart the eight-school SCOL at the end of the 2016-17 school year.
At the school board session, Magee said, “As the adults, as the coaches, as the administrators, we want to definitely encourage the sportsmanship and demonstrate that sportsmanship ourselves.”
Magee’s comments came in the wake of an Aug. 4 athletics subcommittee meeting where part of the discussion was about sportsmanship, “especially with this year being a transition year” from the SCOL to the Southern Buckeye Athletic & Academic Conference (SBAAC), he related.
Another topic at that same athletics subcommittee meeting that was brought up in the superintendent’s report Tuesday to the full board is the number of East Clinton Middle School student-athletes this fall. Magee said that group is a little bit larger than the recent past.
East Clinton Athletic Director Jim Marsh, added Magee, is adamant about providing all students an opportunity to play school sports and supporting all students.
The superintendent said there are positives and negatives in whatever way the roster makeup and student participation question is handled. Magee added the approach that’s resulted in the larger number of middle school student-athletes is the approach Marsh believes in, but that Marsh has indicated if the school board tells him to do something else, he will do something else.
The consensus reached at the subcommittee meeting is that if there is a larger number of student-athletes, then that number needs to be supported somehow, said Magee.
The superintendent touched on preliminary, unofficial data from the standardized state tests administered last school year. Two positives for East Clinton in that data, he said, are the fifth-grade results and high school history scores. The state will release official results later.
In meeting with staff prior to the first day of school, Magee made use of the employees’ fresh memories of the recent Summer Olympics which, he noted, ties in perfectly with the district motto “Building champions and ambassadors.”
Magee feels other school districts would be hard-pressed to surpass East Clinton in teaching students to be ambassadors to the community and for the community.
Accordingly, the focus and push for East Clinton this school year is to be a champion within the school building, as well as on the athletic fields and courts.
To that end, when Magee spoke with staff, he encouraged the employees to develop themselves, which in turn, will help them lift the students.
Sabina Elementary School Principal Jennifer Pierson said a change in English language arts instruction to a phonics-based training is occurring at East Clinton. Teachers of reading are focusing on kindergarten to third grade so that educators can catch the students in those grades who are having reading difficulties.
When a child reaches the third grade and is not reading at grade level, there’s a 70 percent chance the child won’t end up reading at grade level in the future either, said Pierson.
She said the PTO has offered to help acquire playground equipment to replace a wooden structure that was removed after the Office of Civil Rights determined the equipment was out of compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations.
Enrollment at Sabina Elementary stands at 363 students, said Pierson. At the end of last school year, enrollment there was 381.
Middle School Principal Robbin Luck said the sixth grade there is the smallest sixth grade in recent memory: 95.
She said attendees of a Building Leadership Team (BLT) luncheon and meeting had a lot of fun with a “Pokémon Go” theme. Jars were distributed at the BLT meeting, and inside them were different things associated with the popular Pokémon Go activity.
Members of the East Clinton FFA gave a presentation on the chapter’s highlights from 2015-16. Soon, they will start collecting more memories, as members are scheduled to travel to Springfield, Massachusetts in mid-September for the National Parliamentary Procedure Competition; attend the World Dairy Expo and National Central FFA Judging Contest in early October in Madison, Wisconsin; and then go to Indianapolis, Indiana later in October for the National FFA Convention.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768 or on Twitter @GHuffenberger.