BL officials take steps to improve education

CALCUTTA — Realizing that the students’ preparedness for success isn’t where it hoped to be, Beaver Local High School officials are taking steps to improving the quality of education.

During Monday’s Beaver Local Board of Education meeting, high school principal Jim Riccardo announced that the school will be working to improve the district’s marks for student preparedness by having the entire junior class take the ACT test this February.

Riccardo said high school teachers Mike Agnew and Bethanne Rettos have been working with him on the “Preparedness for Success” based on the district’s recent report card from the state, which Riccardo stated “is low, too low for us.”

Riccardo said the high school recently purchased an online tutoring program to help with ACT testing with 40 ACT seats/logins to help along with an additional seat added by Riccardo. He said that by doing this, it could potentially help the students achieve a higher ACT score, while also helping the district improve its rating.

“Our plans are to use all of those seats with some juniors this year in order to increase their ACT scores, which increases their college monies, which increases the district’s preparedness for success numbers,” Riccardo said.

Riccardo said Rettos and Agnew have taken the matter seriously, and said they have other ideas that they look to implement for next year.

Riccardo also announced that high school proficiency test retakes will be held on Dec. 3, and reported that all staff has been involved with the matter.

Riccardo also announced that the high school has formed an e-mail group through Gmail with students at the Columbiana County Career and Technical Center, in which all Beaver Local students attending there will receive their own account and receive information regarding the high school including the daily announcements.

“I can directly send e-mails to those students because in the past, there’s been a communications gap,” Riccardo said.

This was applauded by board member Greg Eisenhart and Superintendent Eric Lowe, both of whom have supported Riccardo’s work since taking over as head principal this past summer following the departure of now-Southern Local Superintendent Tom Cunningham.

“I’m glad to see that we’re taking interest in the career center kids too because I think for a lot of years, sometimes we just sort of forget those guys, but with that module you have with the communication with them, I’m glad to see that,” Eisenhart said.

“Jim has done a good job in administration at the high school with recognizing those kids that need a little bit of extra programming, some options in their school career to be successful, and Jim recognizes that,” Lowe said.

Meanwhile, middle school Principal Jake Walgate announced the middle school received the 2018 Excellence in Education Award by the Eastern Ohio Education Partnership for the district’s work in eighth grade math and high school readiness.

Walgate received a letter from the state senate, congratulating the school on the honor.

In addition, the district honored middle school student Alannah Boyd, who received a “10 under 15 Award” during a Boo Squad benefit held in Youngstown at the end of October.

Selected as a community champion and nominated by middle school counselor Anne Eisenhart, Boyd volunteers her time for the fifth grade “Girls Night Out” program, the Mojo Foundation, the Interact Club, the Beacon Association, and has participated in helping with the Special Olympics and Relay for Life.

Boyd was in attendance Monday to accept her award.