Xenia school board golden again

By Scott Halasz - shalasz@civitasmedia.com

XENIA — It’s a repeat three-peat for the Xenia Community School District Board of Education.

The board received a Gold Award as an effective school board from the Ohio School Boards Association Southwest Region, it’s third straight, matching the three in a row it won from 2008-10.

The Effective School Board Award was created by the region to provide a tool for self-evaluation and to provide a planning tool that can be used throughout the year for ensuring that the work of the board gets done. Not a competition — and strictly voluntary — it defines specific steps and actions that can be taken by the board to meet district goals.

There is a an A-Z checklist of items the board must complete. At least 23 of 26 must be completed to earn a Gold Award, at least 19 to earn silver and at least 17 to earn bronze. Of the 159 districts in the 17-county region, only 31 were deemed effective.

“It just shows that the board is committed to doing things for the district,” Board President Pam Callahan said. “Not necessarily to toot our own horn, but to show that we really believe in our district. It’s a great award. There’s not a lot of (districts) that get it.”

Among the items on the checklist are: Focus on policies designed to improve student achievement; align and sustain resources; collaborate with business leaders to develop a consensus for student success; be visible at the building during and after the regular school day; and practice fiscal accountability. Some of the items require written documentation.

“It’s actually pretty time consuming … there’s a lot of things we have to do,” Callahan said. “Going to meetings, having clean audits, there’s a lot of different things that go into it.”

Callahan added that the board members try to be as active as possible in the OSBA in an effort to learn what other districts are doing.

“Our board of education is working together. They’re doing what’s best for kids,” Superintendent Denny Morrison said. “They’ve got a vision for the district. We’re concentrating on improved student achievement. They’re doing what a board should be doing.”

In other board news, the district has a new scholarship to award thanks to the generosity of former teacher and guidance counselor Glenora J. Mercer, who died in September 2016. Mercer left half of her estate — $313,089.45 — to fund the Glenora J. Mercer Memorial Scholarship. The money will allow the district to pay out up to five $3,000 scholarships annually for students who are pursuing a major in either music, science, or mathematics, according to district treasurer Eric Soltis.

The amount of money, Soltis said, is nearly 10 times the combined amount of all other scholarships on the school’s books and will impact around 125 students over the next 25 years.

“It demonstrates her generosity and willingness to give back to a community and school district she so greatly admired and loved,” Soltis said via email.

By Scott Halasz


Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.