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School playground work planned

By BRIAN BOHNERT
FOR THE COURIER
FOSTORIA — The playground at Fostoria’s Longfellow Elementary School will undergo a makeover thanks to donations from two organizations.
Fostoria school board on Monday accepted a total of $15,000 that will go toward upgrading the playground in time for the 2014-2015 school year.
The board accepted a grant of $10,000 from the Greater Fostoria Community Foundation and a donation of $5,000 from the Longfellow PTO.
According to Superintendent Andrew Sprang, the project will cost $20,000 and will entail replacing all playground blacktop, and constructing a tricycle path and various fixtures like a painted railroad crossing and fake buildings to create a “Safety Town atmosphere” on school grounds.
Sprang praised retired Longfellow Principal Melissa Depinet for her efforts to get the upgrades started.
“That’s a project she’s wanted to do for several years, and that’s a project that’s needed to be done to give those kids, and even the public, a good facility to use,” he said.
The additional $5,000 needed for the upgrade will come from one of the district’s other funds, Sprang said.
Separately, Sprang addressed new graduation requirements going into effect for the class of 2018, next school year’s freshman class. Sprang said the requirements will replace the Ohio Graduation Tests and set a new series of standards for students to earn their high school diplomas.
Sophomores, juniors and seniors still needing to pass a section or sections of the Ohio Graduation Tests will be required to continue taking the test, Sprang said.
The updated graduation requirements establish a three-fold process for receiving a diploma.
Students must first complete minimum state course requirements, including English/language arts, four units; health, one-half unit; mathematics, four units; physical education, one-half unit; science, three units; social studies, three units; and five units of electives.
Additionally, students must now take end-of-course exams in algebra I and geometry or integrated math I and II; physical science; American history and American government; and English I and English II.
In order to be eligible for graduation, each student must then meet one of three criteria:
• Earn a cumulative passing score on seven end-of-course exams.
• Earn a “remediation-free” score on a nationally recognized college admission exam such as ACT or SAT. As an incentive, the state of Ohio will pay for all 11th-grade students to take the exam free of charge.
• Earn a state board of education-approved, industry-recognized credential or a state-issued license for practice in a career, and achieve a score that demonstrates workforce readiness and employability on a job skills assessment.
“We really need to focus on parents, staff and students coming together for those high school years,” Sprang said. “And, not just planning for the current year … but, really coming up with a four-year plan.”
In other business, the board:
• Approved various personnel items, including the retirement of longtime school counselor Sharon Krupp.

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