Saturday Night
64°
Clear
Sunday
89°
Mostly Sunny
Sunday Night
63°
Mostly Clear
Monday
88°
Mostly Sunny
Monday Night
64°
Mostly Clear
Tuesday
87°
Mostly Sunny
5%
Tuesday Night
64°
Mostly Clear
10%
Wednesday
82°
Slight Chance Thunderstorms
20%
Wednesday Night
55°
Slight Chance Thunderstorms
20%
Thursday
70°
Partly Sunny
6%
Thursday Night
50°
Partly Cloudy
10%
3 Day
Extended
Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

Marion teacher named one of top 25 in nation

By William Kincaid

Marion Local fifth-grade teacher Julia Sommer helps Hailey Platfoot with reading. . .

MARIA STEIN - An overwhelming community response has resulted in Marion Local teacher Julia Sommer's being named one of 25 finalists for the "Best Teacher in America" award.
The grand prize winner will receive a $25,000 school technology grant, 30 iPod Touches and an iPad for their district. The Technology in Education Grant is administered by Worth Ave. Group, an electronic device insurance provider.
Sommer, a fifth-grade teacher who has worked in the district for six years, learned she was a finalist in early March after receiving enough online votes.
"I mean, it's the nation," she said about accumulating enough votes.
Sommer was nominated by her fellow teachers. School officials then launched a cheerleading initiative through Facebook and school newsletters to encourage community members to vote for her. The deadline to cast a vote was Saturday. The top vote-getter amongst the finalists will be announced April 16.
"It says everything about the community," Sommer said about getting enough votes from a rural area to qualify her as a finalist. "It's a great school to work for."
Superintendent Mike Pohlman agreed.
"It shows how much they value education," he said of the community.
He added that in these tough economic times, school officials are actively seeking opportunities to fund technology.
"We implemented a one-on-one computing initiative; we started that in the fifth grade, and it keeps moving up," Pohlman said. "Julia does an outstanding job with implementing lessons with her curriculum and having students use this to enhance their learning."
Fifth-graders receive inexpensive laptops from the district, which they use to take tests, learn vocabulary and access texts online, Sommer said.
"We really, really pushed the fact they have to be responsible for them (the computers)," she said.
The devices also have helped with student engagement and motivation.
"In education, you have to change with the times," she said.
Computer literacy is paramount for college preparation and almost every job, Sommer said. Also, new state standards being updated for 2014 may include computer assessments instead of using paper and pencil tests, she said.
Sommer said continually updating technology is a challenge. Teachers are held accountable for demonstrating student growth through technology, she added.
"She has done a phenomenal job and has been a big part of this initiative," Pohlman said.
Additional online story on this date
CELINA - Walks haunted Celina's baseball team on Tuesday night in the Western Buckeye League opener against Elida at Montgomery Field.
Three of the six walks issued to Elida's batters came around to score, which was enough to hold off Celina for a 5-2 win in a battle of Bulldogs. [More]
Subscriber only stories on this date
Former business owner receives award
Grant money remains for septic replacement/repair
More businesses look to Celina
No comment made at vacation hearing
Council discusses wage of junk inspector
Pastor killed in accident
New store sells TVs, household products
Credit union will open in St. Marys plaza
Fleagle captures a pair of national titles
Roughriders earn victory in WBL opener
Cavaliers hold off T-Birds
Lakers split doubleheader on the road