A message from Superintendent Charles Smialek, Ph.D.
January 27, 2020
Each month, our District Leadership Team (DLT) meets to examine data, reflect upon our practices, and plan for improvement. The DLT consists of central office administrators, Principals, and one teacher representative from each school.
This year, we are focused upon two areas in which to improve: Teacher-Based-Team collaboration and the implementation of Restorative Practices.
Teacher-Based-Team (TBT) collaboration occurs at all levels of our district. TBTs are groups of teachers who teach the same subject (example: Ninth Grade English) or grade (example: Third Grade). Each week, teachers bring student achievement data (examples: test grades, essay scores, etc.) to their meeting to discuss the progress of their respective classes.
The ultimate goal of TBTs is to determine the teaching practices that are working best and replicate them in each member of the TBTs classroom. Teachers can also discuss how they are intervening with students who are particularly struggling.
The best method for assessing the success of our TBT collaborations comes through standardized testing data. Though none of us likes the “high stakes” nature of Ohio State Tests, we must acknowledge that much of our public judges us based upon these statistics.
To this point in the school year, the only state issued data came from the fall administration of the Third Grade English/Language Arts test. On this measure, our district score increased by 3% from the same point last school year.
Restorative Practices (RP) are educational, proactive means for improving student behavior. The RP philosophy holds that educators should seek to intervene when students violate rules in whatever manner they feel will prevent the behavior from reoccurring. Past punitive measures such as suspensions often only served to remove, and further isolate students who act out.
Importantly, our message is not to end suspension, altogether. In some instances suspension continues to be effective and necessary. Instead, we are asking our educators to carefully examine their plans for addressing misbehavior with the guiding questions: “Will this action educate the child and actually reduce the likelihood of this behavior happening again? Or is this simply a punishment?”
In large part because of the work that our staffs have done with Restorative Practices, and, before that, Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports, our suspension rate decreased by 22% in the first semester of the 2019-20 school year compared to the same time period in 2018-19.
We are committed to continuous improvement and are proud of the progress we are making in both areas of our District Leadership Team’s focus.