•  East Knox Board Of Education
    23201 Coshocton Road
    Howard, OH 43028
     
    Phone: 740.599.7000 x1002
    Fax: 740.599.5863

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  • 23 July 2018

    Dear Parents, Students and Community Members,

         Welcome to another exciting school year! I often refer to this summer as the Pax Romana. It was a time of relative peace in the Roman Empire that lasted a couple hundred years. While outwardly it appears the campus is quiet and calm, however, our year-round staff members have been busier than honeybees with projects and improvements to the campus. There is especially nice maintenance-type work getting accomplished in the Junior/Senior High School. We are wrapping up projects including heating units in the Vo-Ag and Science/Band/Music/Art areas. We made repairs to gym bleachers which now include areas for wheelchair access. Basketball backboards are motorized and can now be raised and lowered as well. That might not seem like a big deal unless you’ve actually played volleyball and had to play it off the board! We replaced ceiling tiles in several areas and improved lighting as well. Restrooms also have a fresh look with new floor finishes that should be very durable. We’ve included some before and after pictures in this newsletter which may or may not do justice to how nice everything really looks.

         A couple other items worth mentioning is new fencing at the football field and a refurbishment of the old bus garage primarily for storage of sports equipment, seasonal mowers, etc., janitorial supplies and anything else that normally gets stored with ready access. All these things are happening in addition to the normal deep cleaning, floor stripping and waxing that occurs each summer. I highly encourage you to come to our Open House (dates and times within this newsletter) or just give me a call. I welcome any opportunity to give you a tour of our campus and show the pride our folks take in their work.

         Speaking of repairs, I think I would be remiss if I fail to mention yet again another positive outcome of the community’s generosity in passing the operating levy coming up on two years ago already. As I have previously written, our district typically lost about 14-16 teachers out of about 63 each summer between 2013-2016. We had 8 resignations last summer after the levy passed in November, 2016. We experienced only 4 teaching resignations this summer. This stability, or part of the EK Pax Romana as I call it, can only be good for our students and the community as a whole!

         It is evident when touring our beloved Junior/Senior High School that there is need to consider the future of our students’ educational environment. The Ohio School Facilities Commission (OFCC) assessed our campus this Spring and offered recommendations for the future of our educational spaces as the Junior/Senior High ages with the passage of time. The assessment serves as a discussion starting point. The Board and Administration discussed the report at length between May and now. We interviewed architectural firms in June. I anticipate the Board will move to formally engage pre-bond architectural services at their August meeting. This means that we will start what will be at least a year-long process to engage parents, students and community members of all ages in conversations as to what the future of East Knox Schools should look like for the next several decades at a minimum. One of the many things I love about this community is the knowledge that whichever path we follow regarding the future of our District, it will be a positive direction now and in the years to come.

         We are looking forward to the return of our students for another educationally fulfilling year. As it is still just mid-July as I write this, there is no immediate sense of the excitement of their return. However, I assure you that will change dramatically over the next several weeks as teachers start returning to their classrooms on August 1st or thereabouts, sports practices start and the back-to-school shopping rituals begin yet again. I’ll let you in on a little secret. I miss the students all summer long and look forward with eager anticipation to the start of the next school year before the doors close on the last one.  That’s the news for now. I hope you have a great remainder of your summer!

    Sincerely,

    Steve Larcomb

    Superintendent of Schools

     

     

    29 May 2018

    Greetings!

         The students and majority of staff members are gone now for the summer. While the campus is educationally a quiet place, I assure you there's a different kind of excitement from those of us who remain on duty. We have a number of summer projects that while some may see as mundane, they are nevertheless integral to ensure our schools are back up and ready to go for the beginning of the coming school year. We are addressing several heating issues such as the VoAg and Jr/Sr High Art/Band/Guidance areas. We are also making improvements to the Jr/Sr High bleachers, automating basketball fixtures for raising and lowering the brackets, replacing football field fencing, replacing technology, repairing the old bus garage, and improving parking lot lighting as well as interior lighting. I assure you there are quite a few other projects as well not to mention the usual mowing, trimming, floor waxing and all the general, deep cleaning that gets done during this alleged "quiet time!"

         One other thing I want to mention again is the ongoing positive effects of passing the operating levy in November, 2016. As I've previously written, our teaching staff turnover was typically around 25% each summer until the levy passed. We cut that rate by about half last summer and appear so far to cut it in half again this summer! Stability is good for our students and good for the East Knox community!

         As always, thanks for your continued support of our students and staff. I hope each of you has a really great summer!

    Sincerely,

    Steve Larcomb, Supt.

     

    27 April 2018

    Dear Parents, Students and Community Members,

        I am often asked around this time if the school year is winding down. School years don’t wind down. They tend to slam shut as it is a wonderfully busy and exciting time right up to the last student exiting the doors for the summer. 2017-2018 K-11students will enter and exit school doors for the last time on Wednesday, May 23rd. Seniors graduate on Sunday, May 20th at 2:00 p.m.      

         As you may recall from previous posts, we have a new lighted gravel lot that serves as a nice parking area for track, baseball and softball events. We now also park buses at that lot which reduces congestion around the bus garage and Elementary parking areas. The Administration is also in process of addressing roof issues on several structures, making upgrades to Junior/Senior High Gym bleachers and improving lighting in our Junior/Senior High hallways. Those are just examples of all the planning that is an ongoing process.

         It is evident when touring our Junior/Senior High School that there is need to consider the future of our students’ educational environment. The Board through the Administration contacted the Ohio School Facilities Commission (OFCC) to examine future needs as our building ages with the passage of time. The OFCC conducted a thorough examination of all our facilities at no cost to East Knox residents. We received that report a few weeks ago and started the architect selection process. The Board and Administration will initiate community engagement opportunities no later than the end of October so that everyone has the opportunity to give input into the physical features of what our campus may look like for the next several generations of students. We look forward to those conversations.

         One of the many things I love about this community is the knowledge that whichever path we follow into the future of our District, it will be a positive direction now and in the years to come.

          Thanks again for trusting us with the education of this community’s students. I hope you have a safe and enjoyable remainder of your spring and throughout the summer!

    Sincerely,

    Steve Larcomb, Supt.

     

     

    December 8, 2017

    To All Parents and Students,

         I hope you enjoyed our beautiful fall weather as much as I have. Despite our good luck to date, current temperatures serve as a reminder that it is indeed time to consider the possibility of school delays and closings due to inclement weather.

         As a parent, I know all too well the disruption that occurs at home with delays or cancellations because of bad weather. I try to minimize those disruptions as safety permits. Cancel, delay or have school on time? It’s rarely an easy decision. The bottom line is whether or not it is safe for our buses to transport students.

          Parents have the ultimate decision whether it is safe for their child to travel to school. This is an especially critical decision with teenage drivers. I urge you to consider all factors (age, experience, weather, etc) when determining whether your child drives to school or rides the bus.

          I try to use the phone notification system on mornings when there’s fog, snow or ice. However, you may also check our school’s website, Facebook page, listen to the radio, or watch Columbus television stations.

         I hope each and every one of you has a great holiday season and a Merry Christmas!

    Sincerely,

    Steve Larcomb, Supt.

     

     

     

    29 September 2017

    Dear Parents, Students and Community Members,

         It is hard to believe that September has come and gone as of this Sunday. I hope the end of an unusual summer and beginning of the fall season has been as enjoyable and rewarding for you as it has been for our students and staff!

         Our enrollment numbers have ticked upwards slightly this year and participation in extracurricular activities has been on the rise as well. Our football team is off to their best season in twelve years. Marching band numbers have tripled since last year. They travel to Utica for a competition on October 21st. Our volleyball and cross country teams are competing well in their events and the golf team returned to action for the first time in six seasons. We are preparing for the first East Knox Bowling Team in the District’s history as that season starts in later November. We have Elementary and Junior High students attending Youth Enrichment Series programs at the historic Memorial Theater, FFA students competing in statewide events and Kindergarten students getting ready to visit a local pumpkin farm. We have our Homecoming game this evening and of course, the traditional Devil-Dog game on October 27th. East Knox residents 65-years-old and above are admitted free to our sports events. Please join us anytime!

         On to other news….the East Knox Administration and Board examines local report card results each year to see how we stack up locally even as we disagree with the high stakes testing foist upon students throughout Ohio. In sixteen reporting areas, the 2016-2017 report card shows that East Knox Local Schools' students again perform well in a tight comparison. Results indicate that East Knox leads or ties for the lead in 2 of 16 areas and is in second place or tied for second place in another 9 of the 16 areas.

         Regardless of the state and federal legislators’ attempts to regulate virtually every part of our lives, I truly continue to believe that communities know best what our students need to be successful in their adult lives. With guidance, students need to ingrain within themselves "soft" skills such as regular attendance, living a drug-free existence and working cooperatively in work and educational settings. These things cannot be legislated, yet are at least as important as whether or not a student can recite the Pythagorean Theory on an end-of-course exam.

         In the good news category, Ohio legislators made rational changes to pathways for high school graduation. However, the changes currently only apply to the Class of 2018. I urge the Legislature to enshrine in law for future graduating classes the same requirements as are now in place for the Class of 2018. Our students deserve a clear path as they transition into their adult lives.

         The last item on my mind for now is the November ballot. As memory serves, early voting begins October 11th. There are three board member positions available as all three individual’s terms expire at the end of December. Incumbents Larry Campbell and Kathy Frere are running again. Board member Matt Schwartz is running after filling the unexpired term of another former member who resigned. Ms. Lindsay Bush is on the ballot as well. It is critical to our school district’s success that the electorate votes for quality candidates. Talk to your neighbors. Speak with school staff. Know your candidates and vote accordingly!

    As always, thank you for entrusting us with the education of this community’s most precious gifts-our children.

    Sincerely,

    Steve Larcomb

    Superintendent of Schools

     

     

    July 7, 2017

     

    Dear Parents, Students and Community Members,

     

    What a difference the passage of another year can make. Your generosity and investment in our students and this school community through last November’s levy passage is already having tremendous stabilizing effects throughout most aspects, if not all, of our educational environment.

     

    As you may recall, we lost approximately 16-18 teachers each summer in 2014 and 2015 due to the District’s financial instability. We cut that number in half last summer and I am ecstatic for our children’s sake to announce that only three teaching staff members have departed this summer to date. The Board hired quality candidates to fill our vacancies including the re-established Elementary Art and Music positions as well as an additional Special Education position. We also welcome new Junior/Senior High teachers in Art, Phys Ed and two Special Education positions. Our students are going to have such a great year that I can hardly wait to get it started. I know. I know. It’s a little early to start talking about the first day of school, but you need to know that I’ve been ready for the first day of school since the last day of school ended!

     

    At the risk of being repetitive from my last letter posted on our District website, here a couple more highlights that occurring as a result of levy passage:

              -elimination of pay-to-participate fees;

              - negotiated with our teachers and on March 7th approved a new three-year contract;

              -significant investments in updating/upgrading our instructional materials;

              -investing in a part-time school resource officer (SRO) on site for the

               2017-2018 school year;

              -partnering with eSchool View to establish the availability to fill out forms online.

     

    In other newsworthy areas, the Administration is busy upgrading our technology infrastructure including our phone system. Our school grounds will begin to look just a little different this summer as we put in place a gravel parking lot on what is now our football practice field. This should greatly reduce the struggle for anyone with mobility issues getting up the hill to watch track, baseball and softball events. It will also provide much better parking opportunities for football games and other events occurring on campus.

    That’s the news for now. I hope you have a great remainder of your summer!

    Sincerely,

    Steve Larcomb

    Superintendent of Schools

     

     

     

    24 May 2017

     
    Greetings!
     

          It is somewhat difficult for me to wrap my mind around the fact that this is the last week of school for our students. It has been a whirlwind school year! There are so many positive things happening that I’m not sure I can even begin to do it justice in the form of this letter. Our students, staff and indeed this entire community are reinvigorated thanks to passage of our school levy last November. Our school board soon afterwards passed a resolution doing away with pay-to-participate fees as they said they would do. Promise made. Promise kept. The Board recently negotiated with our teachers and on March 7th approved a new three-year contract in which our staff received the first base salary increases in seven years. Another promise made to this community. Another promise kept. On May 11th, our school board hired Elementary art and music teachers for the start of the coming school year. Promise made….

     

         In the hot off the press category, I spoke with Knox County Sheriff David Shaffer late last week. We are discussing the possibility of a part-time school resource officer (SRO) for the coming school year. The funds would come from county sales tax receipts with no cost to our school district. I remain confident that our school campus is a safe environment especially with the number of tools and procedures put in place since my arrival in 2012. Some examples include, but are not limited to: improved camera security, better lighting, implemented a phone notification system, wrote/updated school security plans, coordinate emergency procedures with local law enforcement officials and other appropriate agencies and practice evacuation drills with students and staff. Adding an SRO will certainly benefit our students and staff.

     

         One final note of interest..I don’t know about you, but those stacks of forms parents fill out at the start of every school year seem to take more time as the years roll on. We are partnering with eSchool View to establish the availability to fill out forms online. Once they are in the system, you should only need to make changes as needed rather than start from scratch each year. Our goal is to have it in place on or before August 1st and definitely no later than August 14th.

     

         That’s the bulk of the news for now. I hope you have a great summer and that our staff and students return safely to us in mid August.

     

    Sincerely,

     

    Steve Larcomb, Supt.
     

    Letter Update  

     

     
     
     
     
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