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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.‬