News from the Xenia Schools
- Strategic Plan: Vision 2015
- Levy Update
- Construction Update
- Strategic Plan
- Race to the Top
- Athletic Director
- The Office of School Improvement and Innovation
- Quick Updates
From the desk of Superintendent Dr. Deb Piotrowski
July 20, 2012
Summer is an important time for families, friends, relaxation, and recharging your battery for the next school year. I hope that your summer has been both peaceful and productive.
Work toward transforming our district continues. New companies are managing our custodial and ground crew services. Transportation is under new management. We are hopeful that these changes will not only save significant dollars that can be utilized in the classroom, but that we will see increased efficiencies and a higher quality of service.
A dedicated committee is working to share informational items with the stakeholders regarding the August 7 levy. Together, with our students and families, we (the staff) are the Xenia Schools. We need to work together to convey the financial facts and the impact on our students and our community.
ü The district has listened to the voters, and made over $10 million in cuts over three school years
ü The district has experienced a sharp loss of revenue-($3.5 million in the last year)
ü The levy is a 1.5% earned income tax replacement, and will generate $4.7 million in new dollars for the district
ü The Earned Income Tax only taxes earned income. Not taxed are pension checks, interest, investments, and capital gains income.
ü This levy is not about the extras- It’s about stabilizing our school district financially for the next 2-5 years so that our teachers can continue to have what they need to teach students.”
ü The levy would fund the day-to-day operations of the school district including the opening of the five new elementary schools which are set to open in the 2012-2013 school year.
ü Without the August levy, the school district would need to enact $2.6 million in further cuts, cuts that would cut to the core of the classroom such as elementary physical education, music, counselors, and district librarians. The board approved the list of cuts at the special board meeting on April 30.
ü We have been good stewards of the public dollar, we’ve slashed our budget and the need now is to simply sustain the classroom and our schools. There comes a point where you simply cannot cut your way out and that’s where we are.
It’s hard to believe that on June 11, 2011 we were breaking ground for the five new schools, and just one year later the exterior of the buildings are about 90% complete. There is still plenty of work to be done before the elementary school students can call these buildings home. For the past 12 months, we have seen a complete transformation of the construction sites.
The construction workers have not taken a vacation this summer; the month of July will be very busy. The painters started to paint the walls, the plumbers are installing the pipes that bring the hot and cold water to the sinks, and the electricians are putting the lights and receptacles in all of the classrooms. If you drive past the new buildings this summer, you will see all of the new windows, sidewalks, and parking lot lighting being installed. The buildings are set to be completed in December, 2012.
Jill Adams, Mark Manley and I reviewed and updated the Strategic Plan in May. These modifications to the plan were presented to the Board of Education and the Administrative Team in June. During the Principal Academy on June 13, June 14, and June 15, the Principals reviewed the proposed changes and updated the plan further. The strategic plan is to be a living document and changes will be made as necessary. The strategic plan updates will be shared with BLT’s on August 2 and 3 and all staff during the week of August 20. We are continuing the work to get all leaders on the same page; we are working for consistency at all buildings.
Race to the Top
§ Plans are underway to implement an online assessment program in grades 2-5 reading and math, and grades 6-10 in reading, math, social studies, and science. There will be more information at the District Leadership Retreat on August 2 and August 3. Also, additional information will be presented during the week of August 20.
§ The Peer Assistance and Review (PAR) sub-team has been working for several months to develop the pilot program for this RttT initiative. They spent the last two days in the Central Office Conference room continuing this important work. If you are not aware, the district received an additional $115,000 grant to fund this pilot program. You will be hearing much more about this initiative in August.
§ The transition to the new standards continues with several teacher teams working in several different areas. Grades K-8 will implement the new standards in language arts beginning in August. The elementary math coaches are leading the effort to transition to the new standards in math grades K-5. Amy Baldridge has been leading a teacher team in language arts grades 6-8 for implementation this August. Marilyn Brigati (Montgomery County ESC) will be working to assist all teachers, grades K-12 in the transition to the common core standards in language arts. In this time of reduced staff and resources, we are asking the Building Principals to take assume the responsibility of instructional leadership in their buildings. Principal and Teacher evaluations will take on a much deeper sense of accountability for student achievement. We may or may not like the new system for evaluation, but the law requires this accountability, and we all must comply. The spotlight continues to shine with increased intensity on all teachers and administrators.
I would like to take this opportunity to welcome Matt Louis to the Xenia Community Schools. Matt brings an exceptional energy to the job. There is much work to be done, and I would like to wish Matt, all the coaches, and all of the student athletes an excellent season. If you have the opportunity, please welcome Matt, and help him in any way possible.
The Office of School Improvement and Innovation
You may be aware from Board agenda and Board minutes that we are reorganizing some administrative tasks under the Office of School Improvement and Innovation. We are trying to streamline necessary work and clarify roles. Some positions will be eliminated, while other positions are created in this reorganization. We must continually evaluate our effectiveness and efficiency. We are adding definition to the work, saving a few dollars, and creating a streamlined structure for managing all school improvement efforts. Again, this is something that you will be hearing more about when everyone returns to work in August.
ü I am excited to remain in Xenia for at least the next two years. There is great work going on in our classrooms, and potential for much additional success. We must continue the work of transformational change. I look forward to working with you to serve our students and families, and to meet the huge challenges ahead.
ü Central Middle School will return to the secondary student and teacher day this August. Students will attend from 7:30-2:05
ü We once again welcome Monica Butcher as the Principal of Tecumseh Elementary School, and Jim Rhodes as the Principal of Spring Hill Elementary School. In addition, Monica will be serving as the Coordinator of Gifted Services.
ü Dawn Stallard has left the district for another position. The corrective action plan is written and we are ready to implement the plan. It needs to be a team effort from all the staff to implement the requirements of the plan while working with a new supervisor.
ü All buildings will be implementing PBIS (Positive Behavior Support) as a part of the “can-do” climate specified in the strategic plan. Teams of teachers and Principals are engaged in training and creating building plans. More information will be forthcoming in August.
ü All teachers return to work on August 20. All other staff members, please check you’re your supervisor regarding your work schedule.