Worries of losing home football games were put to rest Aug. 19 when the school board voted to install temporary bleachers at Wellington High School’s stadium.
The decision came just in the nick of time as teachers prepared for classes to begin Aug. 31 in principal Tina Drake’s second year leading the high school.
“Everyone is just happy there is progress and there’s a plan in place,” she said. “I think the kids were getting a bit nervous when there wasn’t a plan yet, and knowing them I’m sure they’re all very happy about the decision.”
It was announced at a special school board meeting on Aug. 23 that the temporary bleachers will not be in place and assembled in time for WHS’s first home game on Sept. 9. The district will rent seating for that game from Bleachers On Demand of Marblehead for $3,000 before the temporary bleachers are put up the week of Sept. 14.
Drake was promoted after teaching for 21 years, including the last 13 at WHS.
In addition to upgrades at the stadium, the high school’s entrance and main office are getting a $290,000 facelift, Drake said.
“There’s going to be a better flow to the building. The main office will now be connected to the guidance office. The guidance counselor’s office is moving to a place where it will have better access to both the office and the hallway. The flow of things is going to just be nicer and make more sense,” she said.
Changes to the building’s entrance will allow the main office to see visitors at the front door without having to rely on an outdoor camera.
Enrollment will fall at 392 including JVS and College Credit Plus students.
Drake said her first year as principal only strengthened her positive image of WHS kids.
“I always knew we had great, nice, polite kids,” she said. “Being in the office last year just reinforced that. Any student I talked to about any issues was a good, respectful kid. They typically owned up to disciplinary issues and wanted to move on. That’s all I ask of the kids. Learn from your mistakes and don’t do it again.”
Another change this fall will be the new student drug testing policy. It requires any student who participates in extracurricular activities or drives to school to submit to random testing. Drake says she does not consider it part of the disciplinary process.
“I see it as a way of better helping the kids,” she said.
On its most recent Ohio Report Card, the school received a performance index grade of B. The measure tallies how many students passed state testing. The report card also gave a C grade to measure overall scores.
Drake said both the standardized tests themselves and the state’s process of grading report cards is flawed.
“I don’t understand how we’re supposed to reach the kids at all levels in the classroom,” she said. “You can’t do that without differentiating things between students. Every kid has to take the exact same test in the exact same format. It’s not differentiated at all.”
When handing out grades, the state factors in zero scores from students who opt out of testing, but also gives them permission to not take the test in the first place, Drake said — 2016 will also be the first year juniors take the ACT and the last year seniors take the OGT.
“I have a problem with many of these indicators because they don’t show the whole picture,” she said. “They’re comparing our AIR assessments with what we did the previous year with the PARCC assessment. That’s not really comparing apples to apples. The other thing that bothers me at the high school level is the state telling kids who take College Credit Plus classes they could be excluded from the AIR test. They also excluded kids who score high enough on the ACT. Then on our report card, they mark those kids as not taking the test and penalize us. We should not get dinged on the report card for that.”
Students will no longer have morning intervention time before school starts, or “den period,” but will regain a Students Against Destructive Decisions program this year. The school will continue to look for ways to improve its extracurriculars and technology, Drake said.
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.
Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise Tina Drake enters her second year as Wellington High School principal happy to have new stadium bleachers and nearly $300,000 in improvements to the school’s front office and main entrance.