PEMBERVILLE – Scores for third-grade reading are in at Eastwood, and while they aren’t as good as last year, they are better than the state’s average.

Eastwood Elementary Principal Joe Wank gave the results at Monday’s board of education meeting.

“In comparison to the previous year, we were about 12% below,” he said about the state test results. “The state average was 37% proficient, ours was 58% proficient.”

While scores were 20% above the state average, Wank is looking at what can be done second semester to improve those grades.

This was a tough grade, because as second-graders several of their teachers were out half the year, he said, and then there was the pandemic.

“I thought they did really well,” Wank said.

He also asked for a fifth fourth-grade teacher next year to accommodate this year’s large third-grade class.

The third-grade class is the largest in his building, with 111 students. For this year, a fourth-grade teacher was moved down to third grade. Next year, when they move up a grade, there will only be four teachers.

“We have to decide if we’re going to shift somebody into that fourth-grade position from a different grade or are we going to look to hire somebody and put everybody at five sections,” Wank said.

He said he does not know the finances involved but wanted to bring it to the board’s attention to try to get a jump on hiring if that is the decision that is made.

“There’s no way we can’t have five sections in fourth grade,” Wank said.

With four sections, that amounts to an average of 27 students per class.

Wank said he will have four teachers out for maternity leave in the second semester, and if he could get the right substitute, there might be a chance to test him or her out for the position.

Right now, there are five sections in fifth grade, said Superintendent Brent Welker, who added that continuity at each grade is needed.

Even though the elementary is currently attending school four days a week, he cannot believe there is not going to be impact on student learning from this past year, Welker said.

“Joe made a pretty good case to me,” he said, and asked Wank to bring the issue to the board.

“My recommendation is for us to listen to (the experts),” said board President Denis Helm.

Board member Jim Rogers agreed, saying class size is the bullseye on the educational target.

Rogers also reported that 700 wreaths were put on veterans’ graves as part of Wreaths Across America on Saturday. An extra 500 wreaths that were received will be kept for next year with the intent of adding them to next year and do every cemetery in the district.

Also at the meeting, the board:

• Approved a one-year contract for Jody Eaton as high school principal’s secretary.

• Approved Ron Eckle as a trustee on the Pemberville Library board for a seven-year term starting Jan. 1.

• Approved the Class of 2021, pending completion of all requirements.

• Accepted $2,000 for the Eastwood weight room, $2,000 for the soccer field for the girls regional game that was held Nov. 3, $90 for the Key Club, $2,000 for the robotics club and $1,100 for the Eastwood Family Fund.

• Approved the annual membership dues of $5,402 to the Ohio School Boards Association for 2021, and $619 for a three-year service agreement for wireless controls for the sign in front of the elementary.

• Set Jan. 6 for its organizational meeting, at which time the board will discuss putting a tax renewal levy on the May ballot.