West Jeff preschool program earns five-star rating


(Posted March 15, 2017)

By Linda Dillman, Staff Writer

A good report often brings a sigh of relief, but for the Jefferson Local School preschool program, a state report brings with it accolades and a five-star rating.

Lydia Pizner, preschool supervisor for the Madison Champaign Educational Service Center, presented the district with a certificate honoring Jefferson Local’s preschool program, which is administered by the county service center.

“We got the highest rating,” Pizner said at the March 13 school board meeting. “Only 62 out of 1,899 preschool programs across the state got this Five-Star Step Up to Quality Award. Mrs. Barte (Norwood Elementary principal) has been an extraordinary supporter of our preschool program.”

Step Up to Quality is Ohio’s rating system for learning and development programs. Participating programs can earn one- to five-star ratings. The local program was recognized for its commitment to quality and ongoing dedication to learning and childhood development.

“We know that children have approximately 1,892 days from birth until school starts, and every day matters,” Pizner said. “It is important to us that children develop their self-confidence, social and emotional skills and a love of learning.”

In other presentations, Robert Hiss, district director of facilities and transportation, updated the board on infrastructure assessments and his department’s five-year plan.

He identified replacement of physical plant equipment as a top priority, followed by roofing. By consolidating vendors, equipment, supplies and procedures, major and minor repair costs have dropped considerably, along with critical heating, ventilation and air conditioning requests.

“Buildings were made more efficient,” Hiss said. “Roofing leaks generally now are being repaired within 24 hours.

“In summer 2016, we made major upgrades to existing security systems.”

In looking to the future, Hiss said he gave a lot of thought to the five-year plan and considered replacing the existing building automation control system at an estimated cost of $40,737 as the biggest issue.

“The existing system is outdated,” he said, “and portions are starting to fail.”

Other items on the plan include replacing custodial scrubbing equipment, completing the final phase of Norwood’s door security system, upgrades to the high school/middle school security system, two-way radio upgrades and grandstand repairs.

“The (grandstand) was built in 1968 and is still in good shape,” Hiss said, “but we need to replace the existing handrail to make it ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant.”

Additional large-scale projects listed as possibilities for fiscal years 2019-2022 are resurfacing the running track, tennis courts repair, replacement of the press box at the football field, Norwood floor repairs and pavement replacement, high school gym painting and lighting upgrades.

Superintendent William Mullett said there is the potential for a new, large-scale housing development coming to West Jefferson in less than five years. Both he and Hiss are “trying to be proactive” in addressing future needs.

“If we get growth sometime, it probably won’t be as cost effective to remodel old buildings…but it can be done,” Mullett said. “I believe we’ll have a couple of years to talk about this. I don’t expect getting more kids next year, but someday it will happen.”


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