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!
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.
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!
Superintendent of Schools
24 May 2017
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….