Mantua – At the last school board meeting, Superintendent David Toth shared that the Middle and High Schools will be utilizing a new project-based learning platform, Summit Learning Platform, which provides curriculum for sixth through twelfth graders. The free, online program provides teachers with customizable content in English, math, science and social studies, allowing students to learn at their own pace. It allows teachers to customize instruction to meet their students’ individual needs and interests. In addition, the tool helps students set and track progress towards individual short and long-term goals. Through the program, when students work in teams to apply what they’re learning to projects that mimic and solve real-world problems, they develop strong collaboration, communication and critical thinking skills — skills Mr. Toth reiterated that today’s employers require.

Similarly, Mr. Toth shared that through the award of a Rural Technology Fund grant, Crestwood Intermediate School was able to purchase equipment for a mobile Maker Space. The equipment, which includes 3-D printers, Makey Makey invention kits, drones, and special programming and coding tools to help foster STEAM subjects (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics). Students will have access to the innovative Maker Space during recess, after school, and during enrichment times.

In other news, board member Bonnie Lovejoy shared that a Maplewood carpentry student from Field High School was recently awarded first place in a national cabinetry contest. She shared that carpentry is only one of over 20 courses of study offered at Maplewood. Other offerings include auto service and collision technology, criminal justice, culinary arts, dental assisting, early childhood education, masonry, robotics, and welding.

Next, the board approved a resolution giving the district the option to place the question of a school improvement bond on the November 2017 ballot. Passage of this resolution provides the district the option to receive State-matching funds of 29% of the cost of the project, which will not be available after the 2017 election. The topic will be discussed in more detail at the September Board meeting.

In other news, sixteen Crestwood students from grades seven through twelve were invited to attend an intensive week of learning at the College of Wooster during Band Camp. Also, the board welcomed new staff, including new band director Rachel Blenman-Caldwell. In addition, the district welcomed high school math teacher Andrea Harris, fifth grade teacher Jennifer Wilson, who was a former MARC tutor, and Kindergarten teacher Christin Delaney, who served last year as a long-term substitute teacher.

Lastly, the board approved an increase to the substitute teacher rate of pay from $80 to $90 per day. It was noted that prior to this decision, the Crestwood District was the lowest paying District for substitute teachers. According to Superintendent Toth, this decision places Crestwood in the middle range, hopefully helping the District attract substitutes as the pool of accredited candidates dwindles. He noted that depending on the time of year, Crestwood has had an 80% fill rate for substitute teaching positions.

The next regular meeting of the Crestwood School Board will be held at the CHS library at 7 pm on Tuesday, September 12th; the community is encouraged to attend.