Tiffin City Schools embraces Ohio Means Jobs Readiness Seal program

At the Tiffin City Board of Education meeting Tuesday night, Director of Affairs Amy Wood gave a presentation on a new partnership with Vanguard-Sentinel that will allow students from Tiffin City Schools to gain an Ohio Means Jobs Readiness Seal, which is a new formal designation that appears on diplomas and transcripts.

“This seal is all about showcasing students’ professional skills, showing businesses that students have the personal strengths and work experiences that businesses need,” Wood said.

Students can get an Ohio Means Jobs Readiness Seal on their diploma if they “demonstrate certain professional skills in at least two out of three environments, including their school, their workplace, and their community, and then three adult mentors will validate their success at using those skills in those environments,” Wood said.

“It’s an attempt to make a better connection between the work of school and the actual workplace.”

During a period of open discussion, members of the board weighed in on this new career readiness initiative.

Board member Dean Henry said that many of the skills that the Readiness Seal asks students to excel at, such as punctuality, being drug-free, and being able to collaborate with a team, are skills that anyone can teach a student. “There might be parents that think they need special skills to help their students, but looking at this list of skills, it’s clear that you don’t need a special skill to teach things, in the classroom or in the home,” Henry said.

“And the bar for the types of skillsets that employers are looking for is not that high: parents can teach their kids to not be late to work, to leave a place better than they were when they got there.”

Board member Andrew Gase added, “I think we’re on the cutting edge of the state and national level of introducing career readiness in our high school. The business advisory council has been instrumental in getting things started.”

Board member Victor Perez raised two questions about the Readiness Seal during the discussion. “Are employers looking for these seals?” he asked. “And how do we meet the goal of global and intercultural fluency?”, a skill listed on the Readiness Seal’s list of desired skills. “I have to admit, we don’t have a very diverse district.”

Answering the first question, Henry said that they “spent a lot of time in Program Committee discussing how to get out into the business community, and we need to do a better job of it.”

“We don’t have any marketing staff in this district like other districts do, so it’s something we should look into.”

In his report Tuesday night, Assistant Superintendent Robert Boes recognized the retirement of three longtime Tiffin City Schools staff members: Deb Bame, Karen Daniel,and Suzanne Reinhart.

Boes also mentioned Columbian’s upcoming participation in the Ohio Music Education Association’s with the choir performing at Van Buren High School on Friday and the band performing at Findlay High School Saturday.

In voting news, the board approved the 2019-20 High School and Middle School Staff Handbooks by a 4-1 vote with Perez saying no to the approval. The board also approved a revision of policy regarding programs for gifted students in the district which provides additional staff and support for those students.

In contract news, the board agreed to a proposal from book publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the purchase of $2,700 in new workbooks for the district, and also approved agreements with Heidelberg University and the University of Northwestern Ohio to participate in College Credit Plus programs with each university during the 2019-20 school year.

The board also agreed to a midyear contract update with North Central Ohio Educational Service Center for a variety of educational services and to a contract with P.T. Services and Rehabilitation, Inc. to provide physical and occupational therapy for Tiffin City Schools until 2021.

The board approved a contract for a Teaching Membership with Virtual High School. Virtual High School will provide online professional development courses and Virtual High School Courses for Tiffin City Schools.

The board also approved a contract with Garmann/Miller for architectural and engineering services for the Middle School Student Dining Addition and Renovation Project.

Garmann/Miller met with Director of Operations Scott Daniel on Feb. 6 to discuss the scope of the project and plan to now initiate a preliminary design phase. The project is meant to expand the middle school cafeteria and replace the stadium steps, and should cost about $7,500, according to Director of Operations Scott Daniel.

Garmann/Miller will also handle bidding and administration of the necessary construction for the project.

An Ohio Facilities Construction Commission application for the Commission’s Expedited Local Partnership Program was approved, which allows schools more than two years away from eligibility for state assistance under the Classroom Facilities Assistance Program to receive a district assessment and master facility plan from the Commission.

After the school district’s needs are assessed by the commission, the district may then use certain local funds for major construction or renovation and then deduct them from funds to be awarded in the future by the Classroom Facilities Assistance Program once the district becomes eligible for them.

A resolution to name the week of May 6 “In-Demand Jobs” Week was also passed at the meeting. This designation is meant to call attention to jobs that are considered “in-demand,” meaning that they offer good pay, a demonstrated potential for growth, and many current openings, according to the board’s official resolution.

Finally, the board approved the Columbian Graduating class of 2019.

The next regular meeting of the Tiffin City Board of Education is to be 7 p.m. May 28 at the Tiffin Middle School Cafetorium.