Show choir will serve as Marysville gym credit


Gym credits and vape clouds were on the agenda for the Marysville Board of Education Thursday night.
Revisiting a topic from the August board meeting, first reading was held on a policy change that would allow show choir to count as a physical education exemption. Currently, only school affiliated sports and marching band allow students to fulfill their physical education requirements for graduation without taking a gym class.
During the August meeting a student and choral booster president spoke to the board about the waiver for show choir, after the Ohio General Assembly, prompted by representative Tracy Richardson of Marysville, allowed show choir to join the list of other exemptions.
The physical nature of the dance-fueled performances is the driving force behind the change, and that training was echoed at the previous meeting.
“They are athletes and they are highly competitive,” Choral Booster President Pam Klaus said in August.
Marysville’s policy committee looked at the matter and apparently agreed.
“Beginning in the 2019-2020 school year, a student who during high school, has participated in show choir for at least two full seasons is not required to complete any physical education courses as a condition to graduate,” the graduation policy change reads.
Superintendent Diane Mankins clarified that the exemption applies only to show performers, and does not cover crew members who assist in the performances.
The district also took steps Thursday to officially include vaping products in its policies covering tobacco use.
Wording prohibiting the use of electronic smoking devices and vaping products was included on policies prohibiting the use of tobacco products by students, staff and visitors on school property. The policies cover school buildings, athletic venues, parking lots and even school vehicles.
Assistant Superintendent Jonathan Langhals said the district has prohibited the use of vaping products within the school handbooks for a few years, but the expanded wording now makes it district policy.
The new policies also mandate that signs prohibiting tobacco use and vaping be places at various locations around the district. Langhals said vaping has been included on those signs already.
Mankins said the vaping epidemic among young people is a problem among all high schools and staying informed of new methods and trends is a constant conversation had by district administrators.
The district also honored an employee and volunteer with Ohio School Board Association (OSBA) Awards. Marysville High School secretary Vera Spencer was named OSBA Central Region Exemplary Employee and Amy Zwiezinski was named OSBA Central Region Friend of Public Education.
Spencer has worked for the district since 2015 and was nominated for her work ethic and organizational skills, particularly for her involvement in moving the 2019 graduation ceremony to the Columbus Convention Center.
“She works tirelessly to make sure that our building is running efficiently and smoothly in every aspect.  There is never a time that she is not helping others in the goal of providing our students with an excellent educational environment. She gets things done and does them the right way,” principal Tom Cochran wrote.
Zwiezinski was honored for coordinating the Blessings in a Backpack program for the past six years. The program ensures that elementary students receiving free or reduced lunches go home with food to sustain them through the weekend.
Zwiezinski started the program locally in two elementary schools in 2013. By 2015, 90 students were taking home backpacks filled with food.
With the help of various school groups and service organizations, the program now serves 220 students in five schools.
“Although the Blessings program only runs during the school calendar year, Amy also assisted Navin Elementary in setting up a system for Navin staff volunteers to continue the program for 30+ families this year during the summer months,” Navin Elementary Principal Lynette Lewis wrote.
In other business, the board:
-Met a group of five exchange students residing in the district for either a full year or half year through the Education First program.
-Learned that enrollment for the current school year is in line with 2018-19 numbers. Last year saw 5,239 students in the district at this point and the current number is 5,244.
-Learned that changes to the ACT test will be coming which allow students to retake only certain portions of the exam.

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