Covington BOE OKs indoor track, swimming programs

COVINGTON — Student participation in two new sports were approved by the Covington Exempted Village School District Board of Education Wednesday evening during their regularly scheduled meeting.

Participating in indoor track and field and the 2023 OHSAA swimming championships were both approved. The school will not provide any financial contributions to either sport other than paying OHSAA dues to have additional sports.

Jim Sagona, the director of curriculum and technology, shared several updates. The English language arts review team are conducting a curriculum revision and will soon be gathering materials from publishers to do a valuation matrix, which will narrow down a recommendation for presentation to the board later in spring of 2023. The district literacy team continues to meet bi-weekly and will begin working to address the eighteen-hour dyslexia training mandate for K-3 based on the Ohio dyslexia law.

On the technology front, several equipment installations are underway. Vape sensors have recently been installed, a final Pixellot camera will soon be installed in the junior high gym, and the school will have a new internet firewall installed by the end of the year. Sagona recently attended the Ohio state CoSN, a conference focused on educational technology. There were two main takeaways from the conference, the first being cybersecurity.

“Reports are showing about 14% of all cybersecurity events are aimed at K-12 schools, which is a high and concerning experience,” Sagona said.

The other area of focus is student data privacy and looking at what information is being given to other organizations, what information is being generated by those organizations, and tracking where that data goes. Future technology projects include getting a bid on wireless access point upgrades and replacements. If the school utilizes the FCC’s E-Rate program to complete the upgrade, the FCC will cover 60% of the cost.

District Superintendent Dr. Joseph Hoelzle shared updates on behalf of the athletic and transportation director and the custodial maintenance coordinator. The maintenance department is working on the concrete channel at the retention pond behind the school. The board approved a resolution to enter a contract with Finfrock Construction for this project. New cabinets for the art room have been ordered but aren’t expected until summer of 2023. There are also several doors that will be installed or replaced in the coming months. The final maintenance item on the agenda is a solution for watering the football practice fields. The maintenance department is waiting on a quote for the plumbing before proceeding.

Hoelzle also shared that next month the athletic and transportation director will be looking into acquiring another school bus. During the athletic department updates, he congratulated all the fall athletes, including the marching band, on an overall GPA of 3.42.

“I think that’s a phenomenal attest to our student work in the classroom as well as outside the classrooms,” he said.

Other highlights include Asher Long placing 18th in the state cross country meet and the volleyball team making it to the district finals.

The board received the October financial reports and the five-year forecast. There are currently approximately 33% of student fees outstanding, totaling $14,568. Income tax received in October is up $130,000 compared to the same quarter last year. The district one-year audit is underway due to federal money received and is not-to-exceed $15,990.

Hoelzle commented on the school’s FFA chapter attending the National FFA Convention. They received a three star national chapter award, which is the highest level rating offered by the National FFA. The Band of Bucc Pride received an excellent rating and the percussion section received a superior rating at the OMEA state marching band contest held in Piqua two weeks ago.

“A lot of positive highlights here from the last month of our kids doing things on a bigger stage than just Covington – doing great things,” Hoelzle said.

The board accepted nine donations of various amounts, approved four certified substitute teachers for the remainder of the school year, approved several supplemental contracts for athletic coaches, and approved seventeen volunteers for the Athletics department. The board also approved overnight trips for both the high school and junior high wrestling teams. An updated contract with New Creations Counseling Center was approved, increasing the contract from one and a half days per week to two days per week. A sound system upgrade and installation for Smith Field was approved, as was an amendment to a resolution which increased substitute teacher pay to $120 per day after teaching in the district for 31 full days.

Winter walking hours will be available again to the public on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 6:15 to 7:15 a.m. These hours begin on Nov. 28 and end in March. If there is a two-hour delay or closure, the hours will be cancelled. Anyone wishing to participate in the indoor walking hours should enter the main high school entrance at door number 28.

The January organizational meeting and regular meeting will both be held on Wednesday, Jan. 4, at 5:30 p.m. The regular meeting for the month of December has been moved to Thursday, Dec. 5, at 5:30 p.m.

The writer is a regular contributor to Miami Valley Today and Sunday News.