Piqua BOE seeks to increase student engagement


By Eamon Baird

[email protected]

PIQUA — Members of the Piqua Schools Board of Education met on Wednesday, Sept. 20, to discuss increasing student engagement, and better preparing children prepare for kindergarten.

Dwayne Thompson, superintendent of Piqua schools, addressed with board with goals for the school district three weeks into the new school year.

“We continue to meet state expectations with our three stars. Last year, we set two goals: to improve graduation rates and our early literacy scores. We did improve our graduation rate for our district, and we are just above the state average, and early childhood literacy improved by a whole rating” Thompson said.

One area of concern in the district is chronic absenteeism. According to the Ohio Department of Education, chronic absenteeism is when a student is absent for 10% or more of instructional time during the school year for any reason. Thompson laid out plans to decrease chronic absenteeism in area high school students which was 42% last year.

“We started talking to student leadership groups and got that data from them about what’s it going to take to get to the school. So, we recorded some things that every different grade level and worked on that over the summer with our principals, and engagement is starting to happen between students and staff at the building level, so our staff can hear that firsthand too,” Thompson said.

Thompson said one major focus of the is to prepare students coming into kindergarten. He mentioned that test scores for children entering kindergarten are low, but the administration has ideas to help children become better prepared for the transition.

“One of the things I did this last year was join the West Central Ohio regional educational partnership, which was a grant that we supported through Edison State. We’re trying to get a lot of community resources together to impact that that would call it a cradle to education,” Thompson said.

In other news, Piqua hired two new full-time bus drivers, and now employs 30 full-time drivers. Assistant Superintendent Tony Lyons praised the work of Lougena Hodges, transportation supervisor, and Donnelle Walling, administrative assistant, in the transportation department.

“Transportation did a fantastic job the first week of school. They worked hard got that caught up routes for improving day by day that whole first week,” Lyons said.

Jeremie Hittle, treasurer, said the budget for the Piqua School District is on schedule for the 2023 school year.

“The overall budget that we have put together is $60 million That includes the federal grants, debt service, food service, health insurance, and other funds,” Hittle said.

The next Piqua School Board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 19, at 6 p.m.

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