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Springfield making athletic program improvements

8/22/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Maria Lindsay

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield Spartans sports programs are tackling new horizons, according to Athletic Director Kevin Vaughn.

Vaughn presented an overview of each of the fall athletic programs and plans for improvements at the Aug. 20 Springfield Local Schools Board of Education meeting.

In football, Vaughn reported he is now serving as a director for the youth program to help build a better bridge for players aiming to participate in the high school program, and the district has started a seventh-grade football program. The efforts are aimed at building the high school program, he said.

Vaughn also said football players spent the summer in the weight room and helped out during the Gravity Racing Challenge program of the All-American Soap Box Derby recently.

According to Vaughn, the new field house is almost done and new parking lots for football games are now complete. Game-goers will now be able to park at the high school instead of using bus shuttle service from the Tri-County Plaza on Canton Road. Home seating is on the north side of the field, and visitors will park on the south side of the stadium. The team will open the season at home Aug. 30 at 7 p.m. when it takes on Ellet High School in the competition for the shoe.

The stadium also has a new sound system, thanks to the All Sports Boosters, and plans are moving forward to make improvements to the press box, according to Vaughn. In addition, district officials have decided to extend senior citizen discounts for tickets to games to all visitors who present a Golden Buckeye card, not just residents.

Vaughn stated the district’s cross country program is also planning to make improvements. Vaughn reported district and Lakemore officials are working together in an effort to create a new running course at Waterworks Park on Sanitarium Road. The course will be used to host annual invitational events. The effort is just beginning, he added.

The boys golf program is planning to present its first annual fundraiser next year with the Bob MacLaren Classic. Named in honor of a former coach who died Oct. 18, 2012, the event will benefit the golf program, according to Vaughn. He added MacLaren, 67, served the district for 32 years and had asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the golf program. Those funds helped purchase new shirts and golf bags for student golfers this year.

Vaughn also reported to the board he had hoped to start a girls soccer program this year, but there is not quite enough interest yet. Currently, the district offers a co-ed soccer program, but officials are hoping to create a separate girls program sometime in the future.

Volleyball is seeing its highest rate of participation this year, and a ninth-grade team, as well as a junior varsity and varsity teams, have been formed, according to Vaughn. On Oct. 1, the team will host an event to benefit breast cancer research. More details will be announced at a later date.

Also at the meeting, Special Services Director Chuck Sincere provided an overview of the district’s efforts, which are aimed at students ages 3 to 21. Those programs include four preschool classes; speech, occupational and physical therapies; Individualized Education Programs; special transportation for 88 students; an extended year program of six weeks in the summer for 27 students; English as a second language for 12 students; a medication assistant in each building; home instruction for 12 students; and instruction for 11 homeless students (defined as those who are living with someone other than a parent).

“These programs are designed to keep students on track for success in school and for graduation,” said Sincere.

Also at the meeting, the board approved the following:

  • a revised administrative benefit and salary agreement to include the technology director;
  • disability retirement for Beck Bennett, effective June 1;
  • family medical leave for Kara Mitchell for the 2013-14 school year; and
  • a supplemental contract for ninth-grade volleyball coaching to Ashley Longworth;

In other business, Superintendent William Stauffer said the district is ready for the start of another year. Teachers start Sept. 3 and students start the day after. All school building offices are now open, and parents can visit MyLunchMoney.com for the lunch program.

The next board meeting has been moved to Sept. 10 at 6 p.m. at Schrop Intermediate School, 2215 Pickle Road.

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