District has new board member

Compiled by Gary Budzak - gbudzak@aimmediamidwest.com

Just over a month into the new school year, much has happened in the Big Walnut Local School District.


The Big Walnut Board of Education selected Liana Lee for Allison Fagan’s open seat. Liana was sworn in on Wednesday, August 15, 2018. Board President Andy Wecker said Fagan resigned after 8.5 years of service to take care of a family member.

“The Board was encouraged and impressed with the number and quality of applicants,” said a statement issued by the district. “They had 11 solid candidates and were able to interview 5 under the time constraints of Ohio Revised Code. Liana has a variety of experiences with the district and community that really set her apart as a candidate. In addition to chairing two ballot issue campaigns, Liana has been a member of the board of the Community Library. She is also a member of the District’s Academic Advisory Council and has served as a PTO President. Liana is very familiar with Board protocols and procedures, as she has attended many Board meetings over the past few years. We are looking forward to Liana’s leadership as we work to inspire and guide our students to their maximum potential.”

The Board of Education approved the purchase of 97 acres behind Kintner Parkway in Sunbury for the new high school and elementary school.

The YMCA of Central Ohio is excited about the opportunity to serve Big Walnut families with quality, licensed before and after school programming (Y Club) in the district beginning with the 2018/2019 school year. Please access prices and registration information at the following link: http://ymcacolumbus.org/big-walnut-schools

The Sunbury/Big Walnut Area Chamber of Commerce heard from Superintendent Angie Pollock and Sunbury Mayor Tommy Hatfield at a “Back-to-School Quarterly Breakfast” July 27 at Royal American Golf Club in Galena.

The district congratulated the following Golden Eagle Mentors Award recipients: Tori Blazer, Ora Cagle, Tony Eisnnicher, Laura Gallo, Jody Grieger, Sylvia Johnson, Kathleen Kildoo, Susan LeMaster, Steve Link, Amy Marshall, Christina McDonough, Mary Pisano, Shea Spak, Maria Tarney, Tiffany VonAlmen, Meg Wion, Chung Woodruff. The Golden Eagle Mentor Award is an annual award sponsored by Roush Honda and Big Walnut Local Schools. This award recognizes staff and community members who selflessly serve at an extraordinary level.

BWHS Alumni Hall of Fame Nominations Wanted: Outstanding Big Walnut High School Graduates. Please nominate any graduate who has done extraordinary things for their community. We appreciate your nomination. All nominees must have graduated prior to 2008 to be eligible. Nominees will be evaluated by a student committee and results will be based on the information provided, especially their contributions to their community. Please contact Michelle McDermott at Big Walnut High School 740-965-7701 or michellemcdermott@bwls.net for application information. Go to bwls.net > High School > In the News. All nominations must be submitted by September 30.

BWLS In Search of Substitute Bus Drivers: The district is in high need of substitute bus drivers. If interested, please visit the job posting at www.bwls.net/EmploymentOpportunities.aspx. Free training will be provided to help eligible candidates meet license requirements. If you have any questions about substitute driving, please contact Ron McClure at 740-965-8967.

Big Walnut Local Schools uses the Safer Schools Ohio anonymous tip line for students and families to share information with school officials and law enforcement about threats to student safety.

On Sept. 14, there was a 2-Hour Delay for Big Walnut Local School District this morning due to fog.


High School Seniors are reminded that they are required by the State of Ohio to have their meningitis vaccination. Proof of this vaccination is needed from your health care provider (or an immunization exemption form). It must be submitted by September 28th. Please contact Megan Truax, district nurse, with any questions or concerns (megantruax@bwls.net). Thank you!

Seniors who have not yet booked their senior portraits with HR Imaging should do so ASAP. To schedule a session, visit https://senior.hrimaging.com/Senior/Login.aspx or call (740) 369-4215. The three remaining dates are October 8th and 9th from 3:00-6: 30 pm and November 2 during lunch periods. If you have any questions, please contact Mrs. Spayde at kristinspayde@bwls.net.

Seniors and families—please visit our senior class website to stay on top of the many things pertaining to your senior this year. This website has copies of forms, information about graduation, copies of our newsletters, as well as a calendar of important dates for seniors. http://christinamcdonough.wixsite.com/bwhsseniorclass

This year’s BWHS Yearbook needs to be ordered by December 15, 2018 at www.yearbookordercenter.com. Order early to get the best price and secure your copy as last year we did sell out. The yearbook will be delivered to school in May and a spring supplement with spring sports, prom and graduation will be mailed home.

For parents and students, PowerSchool allows you to view your graduation points. Using a desktop computer or Chromebook (not the PowerSchool App), search under the tab labelled “Graduation Pathways”. If you have any questions or difficulty with this, please contact the School Counseling Office.

Auditions for the fall play, “Lend Me a Tenor,” took place.

The Big Walnut High School Academic Boosters is a parent organization created to support the mission and vision of BWHS. The group, which meets monthly at the high school, sponsors a number of things for students and staff including Fall Academic Awards night, Teacher Appreciation week and Academic Signing Day for seniors. Their first meeting was September 10.

BWHS would like to welcome several new staff this year: Layne Bair (English teacher); Eric Bidlack (Social Studies teacher); Beth Collins (Science teacher); Jay Curren (custodian); Josh Hall (custodian); Rebecca Hampton (educational assistant); Bethany Immel (attendance secretary); Jodi Nye (educational assistant); Chad Saathoff (Science teacher); Leah Shaw (English teacher); Zach Westhoven (English teacher).

BWHS Band is 165 Members Strong!

On Aug. 14, freshmen and new students had “Eagles’ First Flight,” the annual orientation program that walked them through a typical day and linked with upperclass mentors.

Spanish students met about a trip to the Galapagos Islands off Ecuador. There were also meetings for the science club to review project ideas for the science fair, as well as the the National Art Honor Society.

Principal Andy Jados wrote, “BWHS hosted its third annual Evening of Excellence, celebrating the accomplishments of students from the 2017-2018 academic school year. We have just completed our 5th week of school which means our first round of parent-teacher conferences is right around the corner. All teachers will be available to meet with parents on Wednesday, September 26.”


In May, Principal Josh Frame wrote, “Its hard to believe that BWMS waved goodbye to the class of 2022 on Friday as they will be on Washington D.C. or Ohio Trips next week. We appreciate the leadership of these students as they chose to SOAR Above the Line at BWMS in 2017-18. We wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors as they continue to embody Scholarship, Ownership, Awareness and Respect and strive for self-improvement with reflection of E + R = O.”

Parents and students were invited to a Meet & Greet on Aug. 14; and there was a “Back to School Dance” Sept. 14 in the commons.

Parent-Teacher conferences are Sept. 25. To sign up, visit: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/508084BA4AF2FA1FC1-bwms


Assistant Principal Sarah Wytzka wrote last month, “What an exciting first full week at BWI! Our Band and Orchestra students were thrilled to discover their instruments for the first time! Students are getting used to their new lockers and really falling into a routine with their daily life at BWI. Students were shown this Above the Line video in order to preview what we will be talking about this year with our positive behavior program.”

BWI Parent-Teacher Conferences were Sept. 20.


Principal Annie Clark wrote, “Our Student Council is collecting old markers to recycle. If have old dried-out markers, highlighters or even dry-erase markers please send them in with your child. There is a collection box in each classroom.”

During the summer, Clark encouraged students to read and avoid the “summer slide where kids lose some of their academic gains from the school year.”

Clark wrote, “We had an assembly on the first dayto kick off our “Above the Line” approach this year. Our staff had fun demonstrating “Above the Line” and “Below the Line behavior.” We also reinforced E (event) + R (response) = O (outcome) with all students.”

The school continued its “Girls on the Run” curriculum dedicated to girls in 3rd and 4th grades. The mission of this program is to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident by using a fun experience-based curriculum that integrates running.

September 28th is the Homecoming Parade.


“Over the last week I had the opportunity to continue to get in many of our classrooms,” wrote Principal Kate Thoma. “Big Walnut’s 2020 Vision is alive and flourishing in the halls of GRE! I saw examples of Personalization with small guided groups in both reading and math across all of our grade levels. I also saw Engagement in hands on and movement activities in Fundations in our K-2 classrooms and student presentations on Digital Citizenship and Health in grades 3 and 4. Finally, Growth was being measured as teacher teams work in PLC’s (Professional Learning Community’s) to plan for mixed grouping of students and monitoring student progress. Our new school year is definitely up and running!

The school now has a “Golden Spatula Award” at lunch time. This prize is awarded to one class at each grade level. Throughout the week, we look for students who are following our lunch room expectations.


Principal Kim Castiglione offers this inspirational “Tip of the Week.”

“It can be hard to tell our children “no” because it hurts their feelings but, remember, it’s important as a human being to hear this, process it, and move on from it. I’m sure we can all recall a time when we didn’t get what we wanted in our life. It’s okay and important to say no. “No” when our children want something, “No” when our children want us to get the red folder they forgot at home, “No” when they want a device instead of playing or interacting. Don’t feel bad that your child doesn’t like you today because you said “no.” Our job isn’t to be liked at all times. Our job is to raise decent, kind, responsible humans. Learning this life lesson has to start in early years so we aren’t paying for it in later ones.

“So, here’s to having the strength to teach kids how to process and move on when they hear “no.” We ALL want to have children who are productive citizens one day. We can do this! Stay strong and know that kids are resilient and will still love you after they get the “no.” They will also LEARN from the experience… and, as the biggest teachers in their lives… that’s a great thing.”


“Sometimes in our daily routine, we forget about just how important it is for kids to play,” Principal Matthew Cox wrote to parents. “Find time for your child to play. It is a crucially important part of a healthy childhood. Also please let us know if your child is spending more than 30 minutes an evening working on school work. School work may not be traditional homework, it may be time spent practicing skills or reading.”

Grades 1-4 started classes Aug. 15; PreK and kindergarten started on Monday, August 20.

September 24-28 is Homecoming Week. All Pro Dads meets Sept. 28. Reports cards will be sent out twice a year, but student progress will be communicated between report cards just “so there are no surprises.”


Compiled by Gary Budzak