With last month’s release of the revamped State Report Card, Superintendent Ed Ewers took the opportunity to highlight District results during the Edon Northwest Local Board of Education monthly regular session held Tuesday, September 10, 2013. President Jill Jacoby called the 5:00 p.m. meeting to order with all members and three guests in attendance.
While previous State ratings “Excellent with Distinction”, “Continuous Improvement” or “Academic Emergency” often left many wondering their meaning, a straightforward letter-grade system seemed to be the answer to all questions. “The [new] A through F Report Card is intended to remain simple,” began Superintendent Ewers. “ODE has said everyone understands what an “A” is and what an “F” is; it should be much easier now for our public to [review the report card] and understand exactly what’s happening within our building.” To prepare not only the board but the community as well, Ewers laid groundwork last spring to help them understand the new report card and to be aware there were going to be some negatives coming along with its release.
One of the largest focus areas for the District has been student growth. “Student growth is a well-deserved and appropriate focus,” stated Superintendent Ewers. “The part that becomes a bit troublesome for us is we already have a significant percentage of our students performing at an advanced and accelerated level; it becomes much more of a challenge to move those [students] at the top level of their performance even higher.”
In looking and analyzing data that’s out there, undeniable trends begin to emerge: districts that traditionally have been high-performers are also some of those now receiving an “F” in their overall progress. “Again, this [somewhat] lends itself to the idea if they’re already high-performing districts, it will be much more difficult for them to show and demonstrate growth,” noted Ewers. “That’s what the problem is; now what to do about it.”
Ewers also looked at another shift as the District takes up the State’s new grading system. “Our Grade Card previously was about meeting minimum proficiency and [a certain] standard,” he shared. “Now it has to be ‘What are we doing for each student? How are we taking every individual student and moving them from where they are at ~ forward?’ It doesn’t make any difference whether they’re at the high end or low end; [we need to concentrate on] how we are going to move our kids forward.”
Steps have already been taken regarding student growth, including bringing many of the District’s special needs students back into the building. “I think that’s a positive for us,” stated Ewers. “We probably now have [a better] control over their curriculum. They’ll gain greater access to the core curriculum, which is essential if they are going to perform [beyond] the limited or basic level.”
Additional progress has been made regarding new teacher evaluations and one of its components, student growth. “We are diligently working with [our teachers] – having them focus on data [for student growth] and analyzing it to create lessons that are appropriate for every student.” Ewers reiterated again that it’s not necessarily about mastery of content; it’s about moving students ahead of where they’re at. “If we’re not able to [move kids forward], we’ll continue to receive letter grades that none of us will be happy with or be encouraged by.”
“This is the document that we have; the system we have,” concluded Ewers. “Certainly we can understand how they arrived at some of these marks, but there is still work to do ~ how do we address each individual student’s needs and how do we work on moving each student forward. We have room for improvement ~ no question about it ~ and we’re making strides to [assure] we do just that. There is good news in that we recognize weaknesses we have and that we are addressing them.”
For more information on the 2012-2013 State Report Card, feel free to contact Superintendent Ewers or visit the Ohio Department of Education website at www.education.ohio.gov and follow the link under “Community Resources”.
Highlights from September’s Board Reports included:
Treasurer Kerry Samples
•Shared the new, complex State Funding Formula would decrease money not only for each student lost to the District but for all enrolled students (previously, a flat amount was funded/lost per student); 2013-2014 ADM (Average Daily Membership) Counts would be taken once (October), next year three counts will be averaged to determine the District’s ADM for State payments; Pre-School Unit Funding for 2013-2014 will go directly to the District, not to ESC.
•Submitted his standard SM2 Report indicating revenues were down thirty-four thousand dollars and expenses down seven thousand dollars for the same two-month period as last year. The District is currently tracking twenty-seven thousand dollars worse than a year ago. He also noted real estate tax collections were down twenty-four thousand dollars from last August’s payment.
Grades 7-12 Principal Anthony Stevens
•Noted a new Robotics elective had been added to the curriculum, providing students an opportunity for “hands-on” learning while increasing computer programming skills; final preparations are underway to implement the new teacher evaluation process (now includes student growth measures) before October 1 and that he was accepted into the Beginning Principal Mentorship Program for the year. He also commended Guidance Counselor Amanda Reiter on the wonderful job she’s done working with ~ and for ~ students these first weeks of school.
•Shared a new Junior/Senior High Twitter Account had been introduced to increase communication with students, parents and the community; plan now to follow @EdonHSBombers for news and school updates. Additionally, the new website is currently being launched; everyone is encouraged to check it out along with “Online Classrooms” for what’s happening in Edon Northwest Local Schools.
•Congratulated all junior high and high school students elected to leadership positions; chosen for the 2013 Homecoming Court and cast for this year’s musical Footloose.
Grades KK-6 Principal Bonnie Troyer
•Noted all important health screenings had been completed by Nurse Bonnie Ferguson; immunizations are being monitored by her as well; the annual Bus Safety Program had been provided for grades 1-3, as required by law; last month’s tornado and fire drills were carried out; several IEP, etc. meetings have already been conducted since the start of school.
•Shared Bomber Courtesy Club members would continue to be honored each month throughout the year.
In action taken, the Board:
•Accepted Cash Donations from OhioPyle Prints ($17.64 from clothing sales at Kaiser’s); Kenn-Feld Group ($100~FFA); Band Car Wash and Bake Sale ($409~Music Fund) and M & M Asphalt ($970~part of front parking lot work); a $131 anonymous donation was accepted as well.
•Approved Fall 2013 Test Administration and Edon Northwest Local Test Security Plan. (Annual requirement.)
•Amended all applicable Edon Northwest Local School District Board Policies and the Edon Northwest Local School Student/Athletic Handbook, allowing eligible residential students, currently home-schooled, to participate as a member of an Edon Northwest Local School District sponsored extra-curricular team. Such student participation shall be held to applicable Board of Education eligibility requirements. (Not optional: action mandated by the State before September 30, 2013. The only option within the context of the law is whether or not home-schooled students not currently residing within the District are allowed to participate in District-sponsored activities.)
•Approved 2013-2014 Tuition Rates: In-State ($2,919.85) and Out-of-State ($8,332.58).
•Approved 2013-2014 Supplemental Contracts with Cathy Frastaci (Musical Production/one-half; Assistant Musical Production/one-half); Crystal Bowers (Musical Production/one-half; Assistant Musical Production/one-half); Byron Weaver (Sub/supplemental transportation); Carey Kiess (Yearbook); Suzanne Hollabaugh (Junior High Golf/one-half); Mark Blue (Junior High Golf/one-half) and Jeff Crowe (Junior High Football Coach).
•Rescinded Bo Aldrich’s supplemental contract as Junior High Football Coach for the 2013-2014 school year.
•Approved Mark Blue’s volunteer contract as National Honor Society Advisor for the 2013-2014 school year.
•Approved amendments to 2013-2014 Regular Bus Routes for Sharon Aeschliman (2.50 hrs. to 3.00 hrs.); Mike Livensparger (2.50 hrs. to 3.00 hrs.) and Cindy Slattery (2.50 hrs. to 2.75 hrs.)
•Granted maternity leave to Erinne Stump (beginning on or around February 17, 2014) and Amber Doble (starting around the first half of March 2014).
•Approved the presented resolution declaring transportation impractical for certain identified students, pursuant to Ohio Revised Code §3327 requirements and procedures set forth by the Ohio Department of Education. The resolution follows careful evaluation of all other available options prior to consideration of impracticality.
•Approved Kerry Samples as designee to attend House Bill 9 Certified Public Records Training for Board Members Dave Haase and Brad McCrea.
•Approved minutes from the regular meeting held August 6, 2013 as well as August’s Financial Reports and Permanent Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2014.
•Set 5:30 p.m. as the Board meeting time for the remainder of the year.
•Voted to enter into Executive Session to discuss employment of public employees (both principals were invited to remain as well); no action was expected to be taken.
The next regular monthly meeting of the Edon Northwest Local Board of Education will be held Tuesday, October 8, 2013 in the school’s Media Center at its new 5:30 p.m. start time.