Learning continues at BW despite pandemic


SUNBURY — Big Walnut Board of Education President Brad Schneider said at a recent meeting that “it’s a second-to-none effort” by Big Walnut’s teachers to put on in-person and virtual learning during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I want to thank all our staff, from top to bottom, because it hasn’t been getting any easier,” Schneider said at a subsequent meeting.

The governor of Ohio’s goal is to have in-person classes on March 1, and Big Walnut already meets that goal and has done so since the start of the school year. Hamberg said in-person classes will be available to those doing virtual learning, but they may finish the school year virtually. She later added the district will likely not be able to hold a traditional prom this school year.

In response to staff needs in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hamberg requested a professional development day, which was approved by the board and held Feb. 1.

Also during a recent board meeting, members were told of a change order for a sanitary lift system being installed at the new Prairie Run Elementary and new high school (under construction) that had filled with water and was unable to be pumped out. Subsequent hydrogeological analysis determined the water source was previously unknown. Facilities Director Doug Swartz joked that at one time last year, the district could have been its own water company.

“I’m proud of our team. We fixed it, but we had to spend money,” Swartz said. The board also approved the dedication of the extension of Kintner Parkway to the Village of Sunbury.

Treasurer Jeremy Buskirk said the district earned a State Auditor’s Award of Distinction for its budgeting practices.

The board also approved a donation of $1,000 to each school in the district by Big Walnut Neighborhood Bridges. The “Blessing Fund” is for principals “to use for student needs in their buildings,” the organization said.

On Jan. 21, outgoing Director of Academic Achievement Jen Young said thereare career opportunities presented to students at different levels. There were presentations from Hylen Souders Elementary and the Delaware Area Career Center.

Souders students are offered 14 “Career Connections” during their K-4 experience. Recent remote speakers included someone from the Pro Football Hall of Fame, a welder and a worm farmer.

As for the DACC presentation, retiring Superintendent Mary Beth Freeman said the career center has “evolved, but the mission hasn’t changed.”

Career and college credit can no longer be separated, she said.

Students of the Month at Big Walnut Local Schools were Juden Bozic (Hylen Souders) and Sam Stewart (Big Walnut Middle School).

Lastly, Schneider said live streaming meetings will likely continue indefinitely.


By Gary Budzak

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Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.

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