The success of the summer sports camps create a positive image about Taft High School


The success of the summer sports camps at Taft High School will create a positive image about the school and encourage more neighborhood children to enroll there, according to Taft principal Mark Grishaber.

"We have 500 kids who would not normally be in the building," Grishaber said at the July 7 meeting of the Taft High School Local School Council. "Our number one resource is our campus. It’s good for recruiting. Our coaches get to talk to them one-on-one."

Grishaber said that in the past many of the students would have attended a sports camp at a private high school. "I hope next year we get 1,000 kids," he said.

Taft is offering 25 camps this summer, including basketball, football and volleyball, compared to a few last year, Grishaber said. Most of the camps are for students in fifth grade through high school, but a wrestling camp is being offered for children starting in kindergarten and a soccer camp is available for students entering first grade.

The cost of the camps varies from about $7 to $100 per week, and all of the funds go toward stipends for the coaches who are running the clinics. "The coaches are making a dollar per hour during the school year, and this provides them a way they can make it up," Grishaber said.

Grishaber said that he hopes that the school can expand its programming so that it is available throughout the year and includes activities for adults. He said that forensic and guitar camps are among the new programs being considered.

Also at the meeting, it was announced that student fees would increase $20 to $550 for seventh, eighth and 12th grades and to $450 for ninth, 10th and 11th grades. The fees cover workbooks, the school newspaper and expenses for visual arts and science labs.

There are additional charges for items that students do not necessarily have to purchase each year, including physical education uniforms and locks, which have decreased in cost from $15 to $10.

It also was reported that preliminary results show improvements in Advanced Placement exam scores, including several high marks for the freshmen who took the world history test, Grishaber said. Many colleges offer course credit for passing a placement test.

It also was reported that 20 of the 60 recent graduates at Sauganash School will attend Taft. School officials said that the number is a significant increase from the past and that Taft has struggled to attract Sauganash students due to a lack of convenient public transportation from that neighborhood to the high school.

The council will hold meetings on the following Tuesdays during the 2016-17 school year: Sept. 20, Oct. 18, Nov. 15, Dec. 20, Feb. 7, March 14, April 4, May 9 and June 6. Graduation is scheduled for Friday, June 16.

Each of the LSC meetings will start at 6:30 p.m., except for the Nov. 15 meeting, which will start at 4:15 p.m. The afternoon start is intended to make it more convenient for teachers and students from Taft’s civics classes to attend a meeting, Grishaber said.

Grishaber gave copies of articles on the use of metal detectors in schools to the LSC members. The council is expected to take up the issue of whether to remove metal detectors from Taft later this year.

Grishaber has said that the detectors give a false sense of security and that the school cannot conduct proper searches without causing some students to miss one or two morning classes due to the long lines that would be created. Students currently walk through the detectors, but they are not asked to remove any metal, and they are not stopped when the detector buzzes, which often is due to cell phones and other electronic devices.

The council re-elected Lisa Schwieger as chairwoman, Joe McFeely as vice chairman and Anita Bernacchi as freedom of information officer. Kathy Fern was chosen as the new secretary.