Marysville News

Meijer donates $25,000 to STEM school

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A $25,000 donation from Meijer has given the retailer naming rights to a room at the new Union County Innovation Center and Early College STEM High School.

Gary Hanson, market director of Meijer, presented the donation to the Marysville school board at its Thursday, March 20, meeting.

Superintendent Diane Mankins said she and Assistant Superintendent Andy Culp met with Meijer representatives a few times in November to share the district's plans for the new school, which is being funded by a grant from the Ohio Department of Education's new Straight A Fund.

Meijer is building a local store that could be open by early August if all goes well, Hanson said.

Hanson told the board that part of Meijer's core ethic is to get involved with the community.

"We looked for a couple of months for a good program to get involved with (in Marysville), and we thought this was the best program to get involved in," he said. "We're glad to be in this community. We'd like to do more when we get here."

Marysville schools officials are working with the Ohio Hi-Point Joint Vocational School District, Honda of America Manufacturing, Columbus State Community College, the Union County Chamber of Commerce and EDWorks to develop Ohio's first manufacturing-related early college high school focused on the STEM disciplines -- science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The district is renovating the old middle school at 833 N. Maple St. to accommodate the school, which will open in August.

Ruscilli Construction Co. Inc., is the general contractor for the project. Craig Kertesz, senior project manager, told the board the company has received bids for the demolition work and roofing.

"We want to keep the building dry and get things out of there, so those are the two things we have to take care of. We are under budget, which is good," Kertesz said.

They just received the go-ahead for the next bid stage, which is the mechanical, plumbing, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) and electrical work.

Principal Kathy McKinniss said the district has applied for a STEM school designation with the state.

"There doesn't seem to be a clear answer on when we're going to know, but everything was sent to ODE," she said.

School officials also applied to the Ohio STEM Learning Network for a $7,500 professional development grant.

Recent new hires to fill out the staff include an intervention specialist, secretary, library aide and information technology teacher.

The number of students has grown as well.

"We are right at 144 students right now, and I think that's pretty solid. We've had a couple come and a couple go, but we're right where we want to be with that," McKinniss said.

In other board business:

* Eight teachers were recognized for earning the designation of "master teacher."

According to the Ohio Department of Education, the master teacher program is one of the paths to earn an advanced-level educator license.

Marysville teachers who earned the designation are: Mary Boehm, Catherine Boylan, Denise Castner, Kathryn Kozak, Michelle Krofft, Angela Loftus, Stacy McConoughey and Janet Porter.

* Mankins gave a succinct calamity days update to the board.

"We're good to go," she said.

The Ohio House of Representatives and Ohio Senate passed legislation March 12 granting four additional calamity days to school districts this year, provided they first use four of their contingency days.

Mankins said the district used 11 calamity days so far this school year: the five that were already allowed, two that were offset by makeup days, two "blizzard bag" days where students were given online lessons and another two that fall under the additional four calamity days waived by the legislature. The district has one "blizzard bag" day and two calamity days remaining.

The last day of school will be May 29 as planned.

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