In an effort to foster a positive relationship between Portsmouth City School District (PCSD) and members of the community, the district has continued their quarterly Portsmouth Educational Forum once again on Nov. 9, with a group of prominent community members, parents, and Portsmouth citizens for breakfast with members from every Portsmouth school, including the administration staff.
A lot of school-wide positives were discussed, as well as individual success stories from each building, ensuring the public that the school year continues to go smoothly.
Superintendent Scott Dutey began the forum by reviewing the Safety Drill Review held Oct. 29 during the schools waiver day.
In a story published on Oct. 20, Doug Poage, principal director of Secondary Operations with the Portsmouth City School District, told the Daily Times, “you want things to be reactionary should an unfortunate tragic event ever happen, by going through the training more and more our people know what to do. They already know what to do but this makes it more of a reaction than it does to have to think about things.”
Dutey also informed guests about the upcoming Ohio School Board Association Capital Conference, where a group of students will be presenting next week. The students will be presenting on a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Router they built from donated materials. A CNC router is a computer-controlled cutting machine related to the hand held router used for cutting various hard materials, such as wood, composites, aluminum, steel, plastics, and foams. Typically, these devices cost between $30-50,000.
Following Dutey, teachers Tracy Campbell and Tayler Zempter presented on their methods for success in Social Study instruction.
They also lead the group in an activity, simulating the activities that they use in the classroom. Each guest was given a small piece of paper, and they were not allowed to share what was on each paper with other guests. The papers were either blank, or they had a black dot in the center. The object of the game was to form the largest group possible with no dots on the team. If you thought someone had a dotted paper, you had to inform everyone else. The participants with dotted papers had to try to infiltrate the other teams and convince the others that they did not have a dotted paper.
“Historically speaking, any time period of time where people were suspicious of each other an infiltration of the enemy was key,” said Zempter. “This activity would be used to teach students about Joseph McCarthy and the red scare, and communism. This exercise allows us to understand the fear and what fear does to a community. Once someone pointed you out as a dot, no one would associate with you, even if it wasn’t true.”
Kristi Toppins, the Principal of Portsmouth East Elementary, shared the accomplishments and events that have happened since the last meeting.
Students participated in Red Ribbon Week and decorated their classroom doors in a contest. Toppins shared photos of some memorable decorations and explained the importance of early intervention with the guests.
In closing, Sgt. Andy Dawes and Elementary School Principal, Beth Born, introduced a new partnership, “Trojans in Blue.” The Trojans in Blue program partners Portsmouth Police Officers with a small group of Sixth grade students. The officers will serve as mentors to the students and help to foster better relationships with the community.
“Chief Ware for the last couple of months has been challenging officers to think of police work as more than just enforcing the law. He’s been challenging us to get out in the community and give back, and that’s what this program is all about,” said Dawes. “Law enforcement in today’s society is getting a black eye, there’s a lot of distrust with the community and law enforcement. Especially with children. That is something that we want to change with this program.”
The next Portsmouth Educational Forum is slated for a breakfast meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 22 from 8-9:30 a.m.
Reach Ciara Conley at 740-981-6977, Facebook “Ciara Conley - Daily Times,” and Twitter @PDT_Ciara.