Members of Bexley's Board of Education welcomed new member Alissha Mitchell with open arms last week following her official swearing-in attended by family and friends.

Members of Bexley's Board of Education welcomed new member Alissha Mitchell with open arms last week following her official swearing-in attended by family and friends.

"We are so appreciative of her energy and efforts that she brings to the board," board President Marlee Snowdon said following the official ceremony Feb. 9, part of the board's regular monthly meeting.

Mitchell was one of nine applicants hoping to fill a one-year opening on the board to fill a seat left vacant following the resignation of former board member Carol Fey.

Because Fey left a little more than a year into her second four-year term, the board appoints a replacement who will serve for one year -- or the remaining first half of Fey's term. This fall, voters will elect someone to serve for the final two years of the term.

Board members, including Fey, interviewed Mitchell twice before selecting her.

This is Mitchell's first time holding a board position and she said she has not yet decided if she will run for the remaining two years of the term in November.

In other business, the state's new Common Core assessments were the topic of a short discussion among board members, although board member Mike Denison was not present. The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers tests -- also known as PARCC -- and the American Institute for Research tests, will be administered to thousands of school children throughout Ohio beginning this week.

AIR tests are geared toward science and social studies. The PARCC is a more in-depth assessment of language arts and math.

Bexley has chosen not to administer the online version of the tests in grades 3-8 this year, opting for the paper-and-pencil version despite efforts to prepare for the online version.

Children in third grade will be taking the old version of the state reading test, permitted by the state, in conjunction with the Ohio Department of Education's Third Grade Reading Guarantee.

Questions from board members mirrored those of other officials and educators throughout the state, including general concerns about the online version versus the paper version, the length of the tests (a 10-day window for paper and 20-day for online testing), and options for opting out of the test.

A growing number of parents across Ohio are choosing to opt their children out of the new tests as controversy continues surrounding their content and delivery. Groups have popped up on the Internet calling for parents to submit letters to district officials opting their children out of the new testing.

Bexley Superintendent Mike Johnson told board members that any student who comes to school during the testing window in Bexley will be put into the testing environment.

Board members also continued their discussion about a possible later start for high school students following an American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation released last summer.

In a new policy statement published online Aug. 25, 2014, the AAP recommended middle and high schools delay the start of class to 8:30 a.m. or later, allowing the alignment of school schedules to the biological sleep rhythms of adolescents whose sleep-wake cycles begin to shift at the start of puberty.

In looking to push back Bexley High School's start times by a half hour, the district continues to explore the possible effects on other aspects of high school life, including sports games and practices, lunch, and extracurricular activities.

Board members discussed cutting lunch times to a half hour rather than an hour. But Johnson and other district administrators warned that teachers often use the second half hour for intervention and make-up work. Johnson said the district still has more homework to do before possibly taking the issue to the community via a parent survey.

Both Bexley's middle school and athletics departments also gave their annual reports to the board during the Feb. 9 meeting.

The next regular monthly meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. March 2 at the Cassingham Complex Community Room, 326 S. Cassingham Road.