Friday, August 8th, 2014
By Doug Drexler
Athletes participate in concussion prevention effort
  CELINA - Athletes on three teams this year are taking part in a pilot program to protect them against concussions.
Celina City Schools Board of Education members on Thursday accepted a $1,000 grant from Dr. Phillip Masser to help fund the new program.
"It is a great, great program," board member Matt Gilmore said.
Athletes participating in football as well as boys and girls soccer are taking tests before the season to determine a baseline for their cognitive abilities. The results can be compared to those taken after a collision to ensure no brain injury is present, officials said.
Gilmore said the training staff explained the program to parents at a recent athletic meeting. They were asked to sign a separate waiver allowing the testing to take place. So far, no parent has refused to sign the form, board member Amy Hoyng said.
The board also accepted $30,000 from an anonymous donor submitted through the Mercer County Civic Foundation to help renovate Jim Hoess Field into the new high school softball field. An ongoing fund-raising drive seeks to raise at least $125,000 to earn a state grant to fund the renovation.
Funding set aside in the state capital budget bill has allowed Celina to expand both Eastview and Westview parks. The city was awarded $285,000 toward $472,000 in field upgrades at Westview, and $150,000 toward a $478,000 upgrade at Eastview. The remainder of the cost must be matched by local sources.    
The softball-field drive has raised $60,725 so far, school treasurer Mick Davis said. The athletic department has also pledged $30,000 and another $20,000 is promised from the boosters association but not yet received, he said.
Board members also on Thursday decided to poll teachers about their opinion of the new Common Core curriculum. Board president Cindy Piper said Common Core opponents often state that teachers oppose the standards but are afraid to say so publicly for fear of losing their jobs. She hopes the anonymous survey will reveal how teachers really feel about the issue.
The remaining board meetings this year will be moved to the larger high school auditorium to accommodate the increased number of people now attending to discuss Common Core.
District officials also are working to develop a system that allows public input for decisions on curriculum and required reading lists, superintendent Jesse Steiner added.
The July 21 school board meeting drew an overflow crowd with comments on Common Core from several people who live outside the district. Board member Ken Fetters asked if the board could limit comments to those from district residents only.
Gilmore said board policy states that only district residents are permitted to address the board, but the rule was not followed at the July 21 meeting. Board members said they would enforce the rule in the future.
Piper said the board has little choice but to meet the Common Core standards since the district is judged by how students do on standardized tests that align with the standards.
"It's here and we have to deal with it," Gilmore added.
The district's strong performance on third-grade reading tests and graduation rates show the staff is doing their best for the students, Piper said.
Board members also,  
• hired on 60-day probationary periods Kristen Kerns as high school secretary, Amy Miller as attendance/athletic secretary and Jennifer Tester as custodian at the CAPT building
• hired Megan Burke as middle school multiple disabilities teacher, Bret Baucher as high school intervention specialist and Trent Temple as high school social studies teacher.
• approved a 100 percent tax abatement for 12 years to B.B. Building Co. of Western Ohio LLC, Wapakoneta, to build a new location for an undisclosed restaurant chain at 911 E. Wayne St., the site of the former roller rink.
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