COLUMBUS GROVE – Educators received a tour of the Apollo Career Center and came away very impressed.

During the monthly board meeting of the Columbus Grove board of education Monday, Superintendent Nick Verhoff reported students had the day off Monday due to the end of the first quarter last Friday, but the staff had a professional development day. Educators took two buses to the center, located on Shawnee Road in Lima. They were broken into groups of 12 and Apollo staff led tours of the facility.

The center has been serving adult and high school students since 1976. The center, which completed a $53 million expansion and renovation project in 2016, encompasses 11 high schools in five counties. Columbus Grove is the only school in Putnam County that sends students to the school. Verhoff said there are approximately 35 students who attend Apollo. Board member Ned Stechschulte also serves on the Apollo Board and reports on Apollo happenings during the monthly school board meeting.

Verhoff said the tour was very informative and many Columbus Grove staff had never seen the campus.

“It was extremely informative,” Verhoff said. “We are very appreciative of Apollo.”

Meanwhile, Columbus Grove Treasurer Mark Ellerbrock reported on Oct. 11, the Ohio Department of Education, as part of the October #1 Foundation settlement, sent the first half of the new Student Wellness and Success Funding in the amount of $68,166.11. This is half the total amount that will be sent this fiscal year while the other half will come in February 2020. These funds have restrictive student care uses such as mental health, physical health care, homelessness, family engagement and community liaison’s that must be documented in an approved plan with an outside “partner” agency. The county education office could be such a partner.

He said it is anticipated that some of the funds will be used toward qualifying existing expenses while some funds will be spent on new services. These new funds are in lieu of any increase in the district’s normal foundation state funding. Ellerbrock noted that for fiscal year 20 and 21 “we are flat funded” at $5.6 million except for the limited use of the Student Wellness and Success funding.

High School Principal Brian Best reported grade cards will be going out this week for the first quarter. He appreciates all the hard work the students and staff have already put into the new school year. Best reported that Columbus Grove seniors who are attending Apollo “are on track” in meeting graduation requirements thus far.

Best noted the district hosted the district cross country meet as well as the Eyes of Pride Band Show Oct. 12 at Clymer Stadium - the 30th annual competition. Best said they heard a lot of positive comments about the band show. Anytime the district hosts an event “Columbus Grove does it well,” Best said.

Verhoff read a report submitted by Elementary Principal Brad Calvelage who was unable to attend the meeting. Calvelage met with staff to review the STAR reading data for kindergarten through grade 3 which drives their interventions, title placements and flexible groups. The teachers own assessments matched up very well with STAR data. Third graders will be taking their first state reading test Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. Third grade testing will be paper/pencil this year. Calvelage plans to use that data along with additional STAR testing to reassess their interventions.

Verhoff also reported more than 40 parents attended the fourth-grade parent lunch held at the end of September. Kids Hope Mentoring has started with 28 students matched with mentors. Most of them have been together for the past four years and have built solid connections.

“It has been a wonderful intervention that we’ve been able to offer our students and I thank the mentors and the directors of the program,” Calvelage’s report stated.

In other business, council:

• Approved a motion to amend fiscal year 2020 estimated resources and appropriations in the amount of $136,332.21 for the Student Wellness and Success Fund.

• Approved a motion to enter into an agreement with Pitney Bowes-Sourcewell for the lease of a new postage meter. The lease is for five years at a quarterly cost of $178.80.

• Heard that state auditors started last Thursday, and they will be reviewing fiscal years 2018 and 2019.

• Heard from Verhoff they will be conducting an Honor Wall displaying profiles of local veterans around Veterans Day displayed in the school building.

• Heard interest earned during 2019-20 fiscal year was $1,507.19.

The next school board meeting will be at 8 p.m., Nov. 14.