By Lenny C. Lepola
Big Walnut Middle School Principal Penny Sturtevant said she’s excited about a new elective program, Technology, the district is offering seventh and eighth grade students.
Equally exciting, she said, is Big Walnut alumnus Doug Eckelbarger will head up the program.
“Doug is returning to his alma mater after several years of teaching in the Highland School District,” Sturtevant said. “The goal of the program is to provide students, of all technology levels, an opportunity to further their knowledge and equip them with the 21st Century skills that will allow them to be successful in school and beyond.”
Sturtevant said the Technology elective would be creative, with lots of hands-on activities centered in a workshop style setting.
Sturtevant said the middle school is also expanding its R&D (research and & development) science program at the eighth grade level. Last year eighth grade science teacher Ryan Mocarski began the program in collaboration with TRECA.
“The program has been successful in giving student hands on experience and ownership over their learning experience,” Sturtevant said. “Thanks to the district’s commitment to the R&D project, eighth grade science teacher Bob Scott will join the process to expand the science program, making it available to the entire eighth grade class.”
Sturtevant also noted that April Grandominico will move from teaching math to seventh grade social studies, replacing retiring teacher Mickey Horn; Lisa Huston will be head up vocal music and choir, replacing Amy Read who will teach music at the intermediate school; Craig Porter will be in charge of instrumental music and band, replacing Chris Lawless who retired at the end of last school year; and Laura Wood will teach seventh grade language arts, replacing Amanda Reynolds, who is moving to the high school to teach English.
“New to Big Walnut Middle School will be Travis Church, from Highland Schools,” Sturtevant said. “He will be the intervention specialist replacing Kevin Masterson, who will be at GRE working with the Science Department and coaching middle school football. Josh Frame, from Marion City Schools, will be the assistant principal and athletic director, replacing Brian Shelton who went to the high school as AD; and Julie Workman, from Canal Winchester School, will teach math.”
Sturtevant also noted the success of the middle school’s SOAR positive behavior program — Scholarship, Ownership, Awareness, Respect.
“The SOAR program guides the Big Walnut Middle School community,” Sturtevant said. “Each year we work to evolve the SOAR program to better meet the needs of all students. This year SOAR will be looking at changes that honor students who meet all four areas of SOAR and growing the SOAR student leadership.
“I would really like to encourage our families to stay involved,” she added. “Middle school is an exciting time for students. Participation in sports, music programs, clubs, activities and secondary curriculum offers students new opportunities and new challenges. The BWMS staff will work diligently and in collaboration with families to inspire and guide each child to reach his or her maximum potential.”