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Newport Schools Take Step to Preserve History

The Newport Board of Education voted this week to create a District Archives Committee, appointing Roger VonStrohe as the chair. VonStrohe was presented with a framed certificate by Superintendent Kelly Middleton and said that he was happy to help preserve Newport's history and heritage.

VonStrohe has been taking care of the Archives since 2008 but he recommended forming a committee because the collection has become extensive and he wanted a broader representation of alumni to be able to make decisions about how the collection should grow and be used.

"Essentially the collection is now in the possession of the board," said VonStrohe. "Now somebody can't come in and throw something away. I feel that now somebody is watching over it and it will be protected. I was not comfortable being the only one making decisions about the collection as it grew."

VonStrohe grew up in Newport and attended school here, and after college came back to  teach seventh grade science and then social studies in the high school. After about nine years of teaching VonStrohe moved to Administration where he worked until he retired in 2004. He returned to work part time for a year, but fully retired after that. Since then he has volunteered at the Behringer-­Crawford and James Ramage Museums, and takes care of archives at Holly Hill.

The Board was very happy to have him as the Chair of the first Committee to protect the archives, and surprised VonStrohe with the large certificate.

Other notes:

  • Middleton announced that since school was out last week due to bad weather, the "power packs" that some families receive on Fridays to help their children have food were a challenge to hand out. Many school districts opened their schools so that if families could get there they could pick up their packs, but the teachers in the Intermediate school weren't going to let the children do without. Nineteen staff members personally delivered the packs to 66 of the 72 children who were scheduled to receive them going above and beyond so that their students would not be hungry. The mission took over two hours on a very cold day, but the volunteers were happy about their work. The power packs are donated by the Freestore Foodbank in Cincinnati.
  • The board made it official that smoking is banned on all school property, and the bus garage, and for any group who rents any part of the school property. They also approved several items as surplus, to be sold as scrap if no one wants them, and okayed the new school schedule for next year.
  • Chief Academic Officer Amy Gilkison gave a report on the last round of audit hearings to try and get the high school out of a priority school condition. This means it is under the control of the state, and has been since the 2010-2011 school year, and school officials have to prove they are doing all they can to bring up test scores and improve communication and conditions to encourage the state to understand the school has improved. Gilkison showed films and a 'live binder' of information which was presented to state officials, but Middleton said that they won't know if the school is out of state control until next October, when the next round of test scores are released.
  • Last year a private donation of $25,000 was given to the preschool program for the purpose of starting a Kindermusik program. The pilot program was successfully instituted last spring and Newport is the only public school to have a Kindermusik program. The program was continued for this school year.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor

Photo: Roger VonStrohe/RCN