GALION — At April’s regular Galion school board meeting, held via the Zoom app, Galion’s school board approved the hiring of Jennifer Allerding as Galion City Schools’s next superintendent. She will start her new job Aug. 1.
Current superintendent Jim Grubbs previously announced his retirement, effective July 31.
Allerding is the district’s director of instruction and learning. When Allerding takes her new job, Melisa Watters, currently the Primary School principal, will become director of instruction and learning.
Katy Erlsten, now the primary school assistant principal, will become primary school principal.
Administrators hope to bring a recommendation for the new assistant principal to the next board meeting.
At the meeting, Grubb talked about how his staff has responded to the challenges of remote learning having to do with the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Our teachers have been challenged to totally relearn and redo how they ever taught in the past, and challenged to use technology to distribute lessons in a format that kids understand,” he said. “The number of parent contacts our staff has been able to make is remarkable. Our elementary teachers are creating packets for students and grading those packets that have been returned. the contacts they’re making with our kids is remarkable.
“For our administrative staff, the challenges are real,” Grubbs continued. “I keep saying that I feel like I am working harder now than I have ever worked. It seems like we’re always in some kind of meeting and the amount of work that goes into being a part of those is also a challenge. I appreciate all of the things that our administrators are doing. Many are reporting to their buildings every day — if not every other day — and trying to take care of things that need to be done inside the school, as well.
“When it comes to our classified staff, they have done a remarkable job at feeding kids. There are over 700 kids a day that they’re feeding. When they go out on the buses, they are taking two breakfasts and two lunches to the kids. There are close to 3,000 meals a day — 9,000 meals a week — that we’re distributing.
“Our maintenance and custodial staff are in the buildings every day getting the building the ready,” Grubbs continued.
He got choked up when he told the board about the turnout to a celebration last week of the Class of 2020 that included lighting up stadiums and ball fields and a parade through Heise Park.
“It was very special and we had a great turnout,” he said. “I appreciate all the folks who came out to support our seniors. It was tough to watch, but it made you proud to be a Tiger.”
The school board also discussed policy changes, such as a statewide change in graduation requirements and the addition of graduation seals. The state changed the graduation requirements from a point system to a “competency and readiness” system.
In order to graduate under the new system, students must receive a competency score on ELA II and Algebra I tests; earn an industry-recognized credential; show proof of military enlistment; or complete college-level course-work for Math and English. Students also must earn two graduation seals from a list of 12 seals. Three of the 12 seals can be locally-defined seals and include community service, fine arts, and student Engagement.
Requirements for the community service seal include a minimum of 60 hours of community service completed without compensation for non-family community member or community organizations. Those hours must be completed by April 1 of the student’s senior year.
Eight seals are needed to meet the requirements for the fine arts seal. Each fine/performing arts class offered at Galion High School or Pioneer Career and Technology Center counts as one point. Outside activities and performances — such as local theater, orchestra, choir, music contest, etc. — may earn points as well. Outside performances must receive pre-approval.
For the student engagement seal, students must have eight complete extra-curricular experiences during high school, such as athletics, clubs, or student government. Those experiences must be school-sponsored and supervised. A coach, athletic director, or club advisor will determine if the student has participated to a meaningful extent and sign verification paperwork.
Should a student transfer to Galion, the school district will honor any seals earned at a precious school as long as there is documentation.
New courses added in the STEM program are Robotics II and Computer programming. Also, two college English classes, two Spanish classes, two history classes, and two science classes have been offered to the list of College Credit Plus courses offered at the school.
A big crowd turned out last week to celebrate the GHS Class of 2020 with a parade through Heise Park. Seniors are living through a senior year like no other and there are doubts about whether they’ll enjoy a senior prom or traditional high school graduation with family and friends.