Crestwood Schools — Student Safety and Superintendent Search
At December’s School Board meeting, the Board voted to approve the revision of the Five-Year Forecast for fiscal years ending in 2017. The forecast is required by law to be submitted to the Ohio Department of Education. The Board also discussed Strategic Planning for the District, as items in the existing Continuous Improvement Plan — developed in 2008 — are either completed, soon-to-be-completed, or no longer applicable. In addition, the Board received a presentation from the Impact Group, a Hudson-based communications company specializing in government and school communications. In addition, the Board gave approval to accept the retirement of Superintendent Joe Iacano, effective June 30, 2013. The Board reviewed the capabilities of two organizations to help fill the upcoming vacancy, and ultimately selected local executive recruiting firm, Finding Leaders, to help fill the Superintendent’s position. Ideally, the new candidate would be hired in April or May to provide the new superintendent the opportunity to work with current Superintendant Iacano prior to his departure in June.
In public comments, resident Dave Berish raised a question about whether public comments were added to future meeting agendas, with follow-up, as necessary, so that questions and concerns raised by community members would not be lost and forgotten. When reached by phone for comment, School Board President Martha Phillips responded, “The Superintendent and Treasurer are very approachable.” Iacano confirmed that he and Berish exchanged several messages, and finally spoke via phone to discuss Berish’s concerns. Iacano stated, “Once an issue is raised, it is referenced on future meeting agendas. Taking it under consideration, issues are then directed to the appropriate parties for resolution,” explaining that items may not reach resolution during the meeting, but will be channeled to the appropriate parties. Any items not resolved can be added to future meeting agendas, as needed. School Board meeting minutes are available to all on the Crestwood Schools website at crestwood.sparcc.org.
In light of the recent tragedy in Connecticut, nerves were understandably on edge at schools throughout the country, and the Crestwood School District was no exception. Superintendant Iacano issued a letter to parents sharing details of enhanced security procedures implemented recently by the district, and letting parents know that guidance counselors are available for students who need assistance. Parents were also notified that the district’s Student Resource Officer (SRO), Mantua Village Police, and the Portage County Sheriff Department will be enhancing their presence at district schools for the foreseeable future.
Parents were notified by phone via the AlertNow system throughout the week prior to Winter Break of various items of concern. The first of these was a notification that shots were heard during recess at the Primary and Intermediate Schools on Wednesday, and that both schools instituted lockdown procedures as a precaution. The shots were investigated and concluded to be by local hunters. On Thursday, parents were notified that rumors circulating throughout the High School of a student planning to bring a gun to school, and that due to the Mayan doomsday prophesy, “something bad” would happen on December 21st — both of which were investigated – proved to be without merit. As it turns out, a bomb threat, scrawled on the wall of a boys restroom found on Friday, which also proved to be without merit, succeeded in giving the high schoolers a head start to Winter Break, with students excused at 1:30 pm. Middle School, Intermediate and Primary Schools dismissed students at their usual times.
The next regularly scheduled School Board Meeting will be held in the High School on January 7 at 7 p.m.