Tipp City to hold virtual graduation

Single-family, in-person ceremonies also to be offered

By Sam Wildow - Miami Valley Today

TIPP CITY — Tipp City schools Superintendent Dr. Gretta Kumpf updated the Tipp City Board of Education on the district’s graduation plans — which include a virtual ceremony, as well as single-family, in-person graduation appointments — during the board’s work session on Monday.

Kumpf said the district received input from the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Department of Health on how to hold graduation ceremonies this year.

“A virtual graduation is one of the safest ways they recommend,” Kumpf said. The virtual graduation ceremony is planned for 7 p.m. on May 30. The district will also offer seniors the chance to attend in-person ceremonies with their families. No more than 10 people will be allowed into the gymnasium at a time. The students will be able to walk across the stage, and the parents will present the diploma to the student, Kumpf said. There will also be a photographer to capture the presentation moment. These single-family, in-person ceremonies will be by appointments.

Kumpf said the district provided this plan to Miami County Public Health, which offered suggestions for the district and later approved the district’s graduation plans. Everyone will be required to wear face masks with the exception of during the presentation ceremony, and Kumpf said they are working on getting face masks to provide to people. The district will also ask attendees to check their temperatures before going to the high school for the in-person graduation appointments.

“I think it will be very nice,” Kumpf said. She added the district may have a celebration of some type later in June with the seniors.

Next during Monday’s work session, Assistant Superintendent Steve Verhoff discussed the results of the district’s distance-learning surveys they sent to parents, students, and teachers.

“We really wanted to identify ways we could improve distance learning,” Verhoff said.

The district received approximately 1,068 surveys back, including 753 from parents of students in grades K-12, 204 from students in grades 6-12, and 111 from teachers. Results from the survey include the following:

• 93.5 percent of parents rated the job of Tipp City schools during the COVID-19 school closure as good or excellent.

• 67 percent of parents felt the amount of school assignments during remote instruction is the right amount.

• 88 percent of parents rated the district’s communication as good or excellent.

• 93.8 percent of parents reported having access to high-speed broadband internet in their homes.

• 69.6 percent of students in grades reported having their own devices.

• 39.5 percent of parents reported sharing devices in their households.

• 85 percent of parents reported feeling assignments could be completed without direct teacher assistance or supervision.

• 90.7 percent of students in grades felt instructions for their assignments were clearly communicated.

• 76.9 percent of students in grades reported spending six to 15 hours or 16 to 25 hours per week with their schoolwork.

• 92.1 percent of students stated their teachers responded with a few hours to 24 hours.

• 77.9 percent of students indicated they receive feedback from their teachers about their learning.

• 57.9 percent of students reported feeling engaged in their classes.

• 51.7 percent of students feel more stress or substantially more stress than a typical school week in reference to distance learning.

Verhoff noted that, for the last statistic, there was no middle ground for students. Approximately 50 percent of students reported feeling more stress with distance learning, while the other 50 percent reported less or substantially less stress with distance learning.

Positive aspects about distance learning included the following: Google Classroom providing a consistent platform for assignments, teacher responsiveness, flexibility for students, students being able to learn at their own pace, support for teachers from the technology department, the availability of instructional tools for teachers.

Verhoff also went over what the district could learn about distance learn and improve upon, which included increasing consistency for parents and students in regard to experiences and procedures for assignments, increasing face-to-face interactions, and providing more opportunities for instruction.

The district’s action plan includes working with grade level and content teams to review curriculum maps and identify content standards missed in the fourth quarter in order to include more instruction on those standards in the fall. The district will also design professional development based on these survey results for continued distance learning or blended learning opportunities in the fall.

“We don’t know what the situation is going to look like in the fall,” Verhoff said.

Also on Monday, the board discussed creating tuition policies for the district with attorney Helen Carroll. Carroll will be creating sample tuition policies for the board, including one that will provide criteria for accepting tuition students and one that will deny entry to all tuition students.

Single-family, in-person ceremonies also to be offered

By Sam Wildow

Miami Valley Today

Reach the writer at swildow@aimmediamidwest.com. © 2020 Miami Valley Today, all rights reserved.

Reach the writer at swildow@aimmediamidwest.com. © 2020 Miami Valley Today, all rights reserved.