By JIM MAURER
FOSTORIA — Tara Slagley, a teacher at Fostoria Intermediate Elementary School, received a one-year unpaid leave of absence from the Fostoria school board Monday so that she can teach in China.
Slagley, a math, science and technology teacher, and her husband will spend next school year in Shanghai, teaching English to 2- to 12-year-old youngsters through a Disney learning program which incorporates Disney characters into the curriculum.
They will be based in Shanghai, the location of a Disneyland Park that is scheduled to open in December 2015.
Separately, the school board approved a 2014-15 school calendar and starting times for district buildings.
Classes will begin Aug. 21. Thanksgiving break will be Nov. 27-28; winter break, Dec. 23 to Jan. 4; spring break, March 31 to April 3; and the final day of classes, May 29. Graduation will be May 31.
Starting times for the district’s four buildings are: Fostoria Junior/Senior High School, 7:25 a.m. to 2:25 p.m.; Fostoria Intermediate Elementary School, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Riley Elementary School, 9:15 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.; and Longfellow Elementary School, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Next school year will require junior high and high school students to attend classes for 1,001 hours and kindergarten through sixth-grade students 910 hours, Superintendent Andrew Sprang said, or more than five hours of instruction daily.
There will not be a set number of calamity days, which now allow school closures on bad-weather days.
Instead, districts will have to provide the minimum hours of instruction.
Separately, the board accepted a $1,000 donation from Mr. and Mrs. Bob Zimmerman for the care of Ginger, the district’s therapy dog who spends most of her time at Riley school.
Also, bids will be sought for a cooler and a freezer at the junior/senior high building to replace current equipment.
The board approved an agreement with the state attorney general’s office for an Internet-based background check program to conduct criminal background checks on new employees and volunteers.
Separately, the board voted to not renew 54 limited teacher contracts, and supplemental, extended service, substitutes, home instruction and Adult Basic Literacy/General Educational Development personnel. The action is done annually until the district’s finances are determined for the next school year, since the fiscal year begins July 1. Most of the personnel are then hired back.
Pending any additional days off for bad weather, the board approved five makeup days: March 25-26, two days which were previously part of the district’s spring break; March 31, May 27, and May 28.
Teachers will have staff development days May 29-30 and their final day will be June 2.
Graduation will be held June 1, unchanged from the original school calendar.
The board also gave approval for two Distributive Education Club of America students, Hunter Abell and Alex Souders, to attend the national conference May 2-6 in Atlanta, Ga.
Sprang encouraged parents and guardians to attend teacher conferences being held Thursday and Monday in the district’s four buildings. Parents and guardians should contact the school to make appointments with teachers or for additional information. The conferences will be held after school and into the evening each day.
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