State Rep. Mark Romanchuk of Ontario heard about challenges facing educators and out-of-the-building opportunities for students during a visit to Malabar Intermediate School on Monday.
Romanchuk, whose Ohio House District 2 encompasses all of Richland County, met with administrators before touring the building with Principal Andrea Moyer. “A big part of our day, in addition to academics, is getting kids ready to learn,” Moyer said, noting the building’s enrollment of 725 in fourth, fifth and sixth grades. “We work to build relationships with our students to help them overcome trauma or emotional issues.
“Many of our students come from heroin homes or face other issues like divorce. Before we can get them focused on academics we have to get their brains settled.”
Romanchuk nodded in support as Moyer explained that a “response team” of 15 or 20 trained teachers are present each morning as students arrive to watch for kids who appear to be upset, angry or withdrawn. Children who appear to have some sort of problem are taken aside to talk in an attempt to settle them. “I can appreciate the challenges you face,” Romanchuk said.
Assistant Principal Tom Hager described some of the field trip opportunities provided to Malabar students that they might not otherwise have. “Tomorrow we will take another group of sixth-graders to Ohio State University in Columbus to experience what the campus is like,” Hager said. “We have taken students to OSU’s Stone Laboratory (at Put-In-Bay) and to the Ashland University nursing school here in Mansfield.
“We try to show them there is life out there, opportunities that they may not have realized. Maybe their parents can’t afford it but we have kids who don’t get out of Mansfield.”
During a discussion of technology needs, Moyer said the limited number of lab computers and available Chromebooks required Malabar to complete state-required testing over six weeks this spring instead of two weeks at other schools.
Treasurer Robert Kuehnle said last week’s approval of two Mansfield City Schools renewal levies would help to bolster technology at Malabar. While direct state funding may be limited, Romanchuk told Garverick he would do what he can to help. “Brian, I will let you know when I learn of grant opportunities which could benefit you,” he said.
“Ms. Moyer and Mr. Hager have a great staff here at Malabar,” Garverick told Romanchuk. “Thank you for coming today.”
Photo: Mansfield City Schools