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Brookfield to consider new community learning center

Community learning space is proposed

BROOKFIELD — The Brookfield Board of Education heard a presentation about the township creating a community learning center.

Teacher Mary Arp presented the idea at a recent meeting that a community learning center could be established to help children and their families. She said pandemic relief funds would be allowed to be used for creating a center, as well as grants and donations.

“We would like to do this to help our children be the best they can be. Classroom performance can be affected by outside circumstances that students have no control over,” Arp said.

She said a partnership could be created among the schools, the township and outside agencies, such as those that provide heating assistance, that families may not know about.

Arp said the center would focus on providing services and locating resources to help local families, build relationships with partners in the community, and help students to improve test scores and attendance.

While the district has some programs in place already, she said, the center could provide a food pantry, clothing bins, school supplies, mental health services, dental hygiene, eye care, legal services and physicians on site.

While the idea is in its very early stages, Arp suggested a committee be formed to survey the community, and have a coordinator for the center. Superintendent Toby Gibson said the school district often is the center of the community.

“This could be the school’s way of doing its part in helping where needed. We can sit down and talk about how we would want this to be,” Gibson said.

Board member George Economides said the board can gather information.

Officials said they also will contact township trustees to discuss the idea and see if they want to be involved.

In other business, Gibson said the district will receive a $750,000 innovative workforce improvement grant through the Ohio Department of Education for workforce initiatives for kindergarten to grade 12.

Adam Lewis, director of teaching, learning and accountability, said the funds can be used for programs in which students can earn pre-apprentice certifications. He said the STEM and manufacturing-related programs could be ready for the 2022-23 school year.

“Not too many schools have this. Career centers do,” Gibson said.

Board member Ronda Bonekovic said students who may not have plans to attend college can benefit from this by receiving the training.

Gibson said the program ideas will be highlighted later in August at the school district open houses.

Also, Gibson said programs are being offered this summer to help prepare students for the 2021-22 school year and address any learning loss. Sessions were scheduled for the first two weeks in August.

In other matters, the board:

• Heard from Gibson the district was approved to have a licensed preschool unit on site;

• Announced new inductees for the Brookfield Hall of Fame will be named at the Oct. 15 football game with the banquet set Oct. 16;

• Recognized Declan Construction, Michael Martin Distributing Inc. and Mr. D’s Food Fair for exemplary service to the schools and community. Plaques from Ohio School Boards Association were presented;

• Received a donation of copy machines from ComDoc for the new office building for the superintendent and treasurer for one year.

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