Mantua – At their last meeting, the School Board voted to approve the revised District calendar for the 2015-2016 year. In the revised calendar, the first day of class for students will be August 18th, 2015, with the last day of first semester ending on December 22nd. Classes for second semester will resume on January 5th (after winter break), and school will end for the year on May 20th, 2016.

Prior to bringing the calendar to a vote, School Board members Todd Monroe and Debbie Soltisz shared that while the decision to start the school year at the same time as the Portage County Fair was not ideal, ultimately, they each conceded that the change would be best for the District as a whole, given the rigorous testing schedule mandated by the State. Major concerns over this issue were voiced again by many community members in support the Portage County Fair and families involved with 4H, at last month’s meeting. In an effort to reach a compromise, the District reached an agreement with the Teachers’ Union to adjust the proposed schedule in order that two of the teachers’ Professional Development days would be scheduled on August 27th and 28th, giving all students, including fair participants, two days of Fair Week off from school. This change would mean that 4H students would need make up three days of school — Monday, August 24th for set-up and August 25th and 26th, the first two days spent at the fair.

In the end, School Board Vice President Dave Becker made what he called, “an emotional decision,” to cast a negative vote on the school calendar. While he acknowledged his feeling that rationally, the revised calendar was the right long-range decision, he shared, “In my heart, I know there’s a lot more to the education of kids that what goes on inside the school walls.” “ His vote was the sole vote of dissension, and the measure was passed that evening. Immediately following the vote, the majority of meeting attendees left en masse.

In other news, Superintendent David Toth presented his Strategic Planning Update. The District gathered information through a series of in person meetings and via telephone surveys from District constituents, and finalized the updated plan over the summer months to determine the District’s strategic goals for the coming five years. The first element of the plan included improving District communications. Mr. Toth shared the various methods of communication that have been implemented in the first part of the school year, which included Crestwood Comments, an updated District website, communication via social media, in-person coffee talks and community Chamber of Commerce meetings and via the District’s Blackboard Connect system. Mr. Toth shared that over the last six months, Crestwood has shared over 29,000 calls, emails and texts through Blackboard Connect — messages ranging from testing and curriculum-based information to weather-related announcements and school-wide announcements.

Moving forward, Toth highlighted some District-wide facility upgrades that have been completed thus far, and announced plans to renovate and update the Middle and High Schools in the near future. In addition, Toth highlighted ways in which the District is moving forward in the areas of career and college readiness for Crestwood graduates, and advances that are being made in the areas of technology and curriculum instruction, as well. To keep apprised of the latest developments, residents are encouraged to visit the District’s web site,

Lastly, Head Mechanic Anthony Weatherholt and Middle School guidance Counselor Lynne Morrison were recognized as Crestwood’s Employees of the Month. The next regularly scheduled School Board meeting will be held on Monday, March 2nd at 7 pm in the High School Library.