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Published: Wednesday, 1/26/2005

Rossford: Businesses weigh in on preparation

BY ERIKA RAY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Several Rossford businessmen agree: Students fresh out of high school are well prepared when it comes to dealing with computer technology, but some lack maturity and a sense of pride in their work.

Five businessmen met at 8 a.m. with Rossford Exempted Village School District officials at last week's master plan focus group, facilitated by Mark Luetke, president of Funk Luetke Skunda Marketing Inc., to discuss the district and how they feel recent graduates fare in the business world.

The focus groups are designed to gather community input from various groups before the school board puts together a master plan outlining the district's goals, Superintendent Luci Gernot said.

"It's going to be necessary for us to develop a new plan," Ms. Gernot said, noting the recent influx of kindergarten students enrolled in the school district.

Toledo resident Brenda Forche, who works at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 8, said she is amazed at students' computer skills. "They can sit in front of any computer and figure it out," she said.

But Perrysburg resident Bill Zouhary, a Rossford dentist, said students need skills beyond technology to get by, and some are lacking in maturity. "The 18-year-olds coming out of high school today [act] 13 or 14," Mr. Zouhary said. "They're just not mature."

Bowling Green resident Rex Huffman, an attorney for Spitler, Huffman, Yoon & Newlove of Rossford, said it doesn't seem as if students pride themselves on doing more than what's expected. "There's not a sense of pride in showing up to work on time," he said. "It's 'what's my minimum standard to meet, and I'll meet that.'●"

Andy Foldenauer, president of the Rossford Business Association and an investment representative for Edward Jones, said he felt students should have more responsibility.

"I think it'd be nice to see less hand-holding as they go through high school," he said, adding that students can learn responsibility by participating in the many extracurricular activities offered through the schools.

Other suggestions were:

●Continue to offer more elective classes,

●Raise the minimum grade-point average for athletic participation in the schools,

●Teach students how to dress for interviews,

●Strengthen students' work ethic,

●Implement a program so students can shadow someone in the workplace for a day,

●Invite more guest lecturers to the schools.

After conducting more focus groups that are planned until March 16, administrators and the Rossford Board of Education will consolidate the information, review the trends, note the unusual, and put together three or four large district goals.



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