Wednesday, January 9th, 2008
By Betty Lawrence
Proposal would have pupils packing their bags
  ROCKFORD - Parkway school board members on Tuesday listened as instructor Anita Morton described a new course she would like to see get underway that would allow students to travel abroad.
The course, Parkway Exploration, would allow as many as 15 students the opportunity to travel to Japan, England, France and other foreign locations for educational experiences, she said.
"Our kids need to get out of northwest Ohio and I would like the students who take this to get high school credit," she told the board.
If instilled, the first trip would be in 2010, allowing two years for a minimum of three major fundraisers to be held.
"It would be totally funded by the fundraisers and families. I'd like to see a meeting in April or May for the 10th-, ninth- and eighth-graders who are interested," Morton said.
The trips would be set up through an experienced travel company, with Morton and students spearheading an agenda. Each participating school district is insured for at least $15 million, Morton said.
Board Vice President Bob Ransbottom said the program sounds "like a neat idea, but the insurance part scares me."
School officials plan to confer with their lawyers before committing to the course.
Morton, a high school science teacher, is president of the Parkway Education Association and spent the 2005-2006 school year teaching in England as part of the Fulbright Teacher Exchange program.
High school Principal Greg Puthoff told board members he was pleased with the Ohio Graduation Test (OGT) results.
"We had 67 percent of the seniors and 79 percent juniors who passed. This is great considering these students previously failed the tests," Puthoff said, attributing the success to the implementation of the school's intervention program. "Our goal is 100 percent."
In another piece of good news, Puthoff reported the high school will receive the Ohio Department of Education's State Superintendent's School of Distinction Award. The award is given to schools in which a high percentage of students with disabilities is achieving academic success.
The award will be presented at a Special Education Leadership Conference in Columbus on Jan. 16.
Superintendent Doug Karst said he plans to meet with Puthoff to discuss the upcoming tax levy that will be on the March ballot.
The school district is seeking voter approval of a 4.5-mill levy that would provide funding for construction and improvement to the outdoor sports facilities and potential purchase of land for future sports facilities.
In other action, the board:
• Approved 4-1 the reemployment of Karst as superintendent for an interim term starting Feb. 4 and ending July 31.
Karst retired on Jan. 1, but agreed to remain on board until a replacement is hired. Application deadline for the position is Jan. 31 with interviews to start Feb. 11.
• Went into executive session to discuss the employment of personnel with no action taken.
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