Posted by John P. Kronour, Ph.D. at 12/9/2013 1:00:00 PM
I met recently with our Tipp City kindergarten teachers and administrators to discuss the benefits of bringing full-day kindergarten to our district. While it may seem we are rushing our children through their early childhood, we cannot lose sight of this critical opportunity to develop and strengthen solid, foundational skills necessary for future success.
Standards for completion of kindergarten and preparation for first grade are more rigorous than even a few years earlier. We also have a state mandated third grade reading guarantee. Under the new law now in effect, third grade students who do not pass that state reading test will be retained.
Research shows that students in full-day kindergarten demonstrate greater reading and math achievement gains than those in half-day programs. They also have higher academic achievement in later grades and are more likely to develop a sustaining enjoyment for learning. Full-day kindergarten improves students’ social, emotional and behavioral development.
Increased time allows children to explore activities more in depth. Art, music, and physical education can be a richer part of the school experience. Teachers have more opportunity to observe and work with students to identify possible learning issues and implement intervention strategies. Likewise, more advanced students have time to complete long-term projects. With this gift of time, teachers get to know their students much better and develop activities appropriate for their abilities and needs.
I am seeking input on this subject but I am most interested in hearing compelling reasons why we should not implement a full-day kindergarten program.
The district is meeting with pre-school directors to gather input. We also will be hosting a community forum on January 30th at Nevin Coppock beginning at 7:00 p.m. We view this as a positive opportunity for our students and their families. It is an investment with good returns.
PLEASE NOTE that if you do reply to this blog entry, you must provide a name or valid e-mail. You can select to have the online response posted as anonymous.
Posted by John P. Kronour, Ph.D. at 11/21/2013 3:00:00 PM
The Facilities Planning Committee is energized as the district moves into the next phase of possibly renovating and/or building new school(s) for our community. The volunteer committee, including some staff members, gathered recently to review two possible building scenarios to accommodate students in pre-kindergarten to eighth grade. Option A establishes one building by renovating LT Ball and adding on to that facility. Option B includes renovating and adding on to LT Ball for a PreK-5 building and renovating TMS for grades 6 to 8. The group also shared ideas for local initiatives such as a new soccer/football stadium, auxiliary gym space, auditorium, and community center. Sustainability also appears important to those in attendance.
The district recognizes the current economic challenges and is sensitive to voters during these times. However, the period in which we are eligible for state money is now. If we let this opportunity expire, the district must reapply; and, there is no guarantee funding will be available again.
In January, the district will host a community forum and conduct a comprehensive survey to assess public sentiment. If the results indicate strong support for a master facilities plan, the district will move forward with a recommendation presented to the BOE in March. This then goes to the state for its final approval. With that, we could place a bond issue on the November 2014 ballot.
Mike Ruetschle of Ruetschle Architects in Dayton gave an overview of the project from initiation to this point. The district posted the presentation its main webpage. Or, you can access it now by clicking: http://tinyurl.com/msxzsdn.
Posted by John P. Kronour, Ph.D. at 10/17/2013 9:00:00 AM
Our teachers work hard to make sure our students are learning and developing the skills they need for the next grade level. We also recognize that all children learn differently and the pathways to success are as unique as each student. Now, however, the state is mandating new legislation called the Third Grade ReadingGuarantee. This means third grade students must demonstrate grade level proficiency in reading or be subject to third grade retention.
This initiative requires that all school districts administer a diagnostic reading assessment for each student in kindergarten through third grade. This already is completed. The data is used to identify students who are behind in reading. The district then must create an individualized Reading Improvement and Monitoring Plan (RIMP) for all students who are “not-on-track” and at-risk in reading.
Tipp City Schools will work diligently with these children to build reading skills through intense reading intervention programs such as Title I and Project MORE, as well as, continued focused classroom reading instruction. Our trained reading specialists are dedicated to working with these children so they boost their skills and become proficient readers.
The Project MORE program is one of our very effective student interventions. It is a one-on-one tutoring program with impressive results in increasing students’ reading levels. The district’s goal is to increase this outreach at all grade levels. In order to achieve that objective, we need more volunteers who can mentor students one to four days per week for approximately 30 minutes each visit. I hope you will consider this opportunity to make a difference in a child’s life. Please call the board office at 667-8444 for more information.
Posted by John P. Kronour, Ph.D. at 9/30/2013 1:00:00 PM
The Board of Education gave its approval to move forward into the next phase of renovating and/or building new schools in our district.This authorizes the district to apply for what is called an active planning process with the Ohio School Facilities Commission Classroom Facilities Assistance Program.This enables us to move forward with a comprehensive design plan for our school construction project. A group of parents, educators, and community members has been meeting regularly for three years to discuss proposals and narrow down the options.The district and Facilities Planning Committee have been working closely with Ruetschle Architects and narrowed it down to two POSSIBLE plans; constructing a K-8 building around LT Ball or constructing one K-5 building around LT Ball and renovating the middle school.There has been NO final decision.The discussion must also include what to do with any buildings we may vacate and locally funded initiatives such as renovating or moving the high school football stadium.The current OSFC funding formula has the district receiving 28 percent of the project cost from the state.The district would seek approval of that funding in July of 2014.We then would have one year to raise the local share.Success of this effort needs community support and input.The Facilities Planning Committee is open to all.
Posted by John P. Kronour, Ph.D. at 9/5/2013 11:00:00 AM
The Tipp City Board of Education continues its efforts to enhance security and safety in all of the district buildings.Several changes already were implemented at the start of this school year.Some are noticeable while others will go unnoticed.
The city’s DARE officer now has an office at Tippecanoe Middle School though he will also patrol the campuses of LT Ball Intermediate and Nevin Coppock Elementary during each day school is in session.Having a donated iPad and the office will allow Officer Dan Rittenhouse to complete administrative responsibilities without having to leave the building.
Off-duty police officers will work at Tippecanoe High School and Broadway Elementary.This is the result of a collaborative effort with Tipp City Council and Tipp City Police Department.Officers will have the option to accept the additional duties, be in full uniform and use city-issued equipment.
We are confident this visible presence can provide parents, students, and employees an increased sense of safety and support should an incident occur. It is also possible that enhanced police coverage will deter and possibly prevent a problem. Having officers on our campuses and in our schools also significantly improves response time to an emergency.
The district also will increase the frequency and types of drills it conducts.For example, in addition to lockdown drills, students will learn about “flight, fight, freeze” circumstances.They will hear more about “say something, see something” to encourage reporting of suspicious activities.And, staff will complete ongoing training to recognize warning signs and learn how to respond in emergencies.
We will regularly evaluate all of the district’s safety enhancements and explore additional options to keep our students and staff safe without instilling fear.
Posted by John P. Krounour, Ph.D. at 8/9/2013 10:00:00 AM
For a short time each morning and each afternoon, the school parking lots are among the most congested areas in town.As we near the first day of a new school year, I want to remind all drivers to exercise caution and to follow proper procedures during arrival and dismissal times.
We would like to thank the parents, grandparents and other drivers who use caution and follow our drop-off and pick-up guidelines. However, many others choose to ignore policies creating an unsafe environment for drivers, staff and students.
Despite our repeated efforts to gain compliance, there are instances of excessive speed, illegal parking, double parking, and other dangerous behavior. Some parents still ask their children to walk to and from their parked cars rather than using the safer curbside area.This means children are darting in between moving traffic, often hidden from a driver’s vision. This can be a recipe for disaster. I cannot emphasize enough how these behaviors put students at risk.Though each school has specific procedures, all drivers should:
·Give yourself ample time to avoid rushing.
·Do not let children walk through the parking lot.
·Pull up to the curbside.
·Have children exit on the passenger side only-away from moving vehicles.
·Students should be prepared to exit the vehicle before arriving at the drop off point.This means having lunch boxes, backpacks, and instruments ready.
The mission of Tipp City Exempted Village Schools is to provide a safe environment for our students.This includes getting them to and from school each day.Each building has specific pick up and drop off policies that allow for the safest and most effective traffic flow.This works best when ALL drivers cooperate.
And, don’t forget that 75% of our students qualify for bus transportation.According to the National Transportation Safety Board, school buses are eight times safer than passenger vehicles. Bus routes will be posted on our website on Tuesday, August 13th.Specific details also will be available at all Open Houses.
Posted by John P. Kronour, Ph.D. at 7/23/2013 2:00:00 PM
This is the second entry of my two-part blog sharing potential school safety enhancements reviewed during a recent roundtable discussion with the Board of Education, local law enforcement, and administrators.The session was open to the public.
The three suggestions already outlined in my last blog are hiring school resource officers, organizing a threat assessment team, and arming building staff.Details are in the earlier blog entry.
SOCIAL MEDIA WATCHER
The high school applied for a grant to support the purchase of a software program that monitors students’ social media dialogue.The program helps identify potential bullying, suicide threats, and other dangers.It analyzes entries and flags key words before alerting administrators.The program would be voluntary and require parental registration.
Some of the district buildings have cameras installed in specific inside locations.The Board of Education is reviewing the feasibility, costs, and benefits to placing additional surveillance cameras throughout all of the buildings.Closed circuit televisions in schools deter vandalism and other crimes and provide evidence in such events.The cameras typically are placed near entrances, stairways, hallways, and common areas.
The BOE is also considering the installation of panic buttons in the main office of each building and/or classrooms.When activated, a call is immediately placed to police, the school sounds an alarm, and the building goes into lockdown.Costs and benefits are being calculated for this option.
It is important to me that we enhance security and provide a safe environment for our school community while maintaining the district’s open, friendly culture.I encourage and welcome your input.
Posted by John P. Kronour, Ph.D. at 7/2/2013 9:00:00 AM
The Tipp City School district is committed to ensuring that our schools and campuses are safe for our children, staff and guests. In light of recent horrific events in other communities, there is a heightened sense of urgency to evaluate current policies and procedures, and assess safety measures.
The Board of Education met recently with the Tipp City Police Department and administrators for a roundtable discussion and brainstorming session. The group reviewed lockdown procedures and evacuation drills, discussed current training initiatives, and explored options for security enhancements.
This is the first of two blogs to share some of the suggested options and encourage community feedback. Perhaps you favor one idea more strongly than another; perhaps you have an idea that has not yet been suggested. Safety in our schools is a collaborative effort that can only succeed with cooperation.
School Resource Officer
One consideration is hiring a resource officer to share time at the high school and Broadway Elementary; the district would reposition its DARE Officer to service TMS, LT Ball and Nevin Coppock because of their close proximity to each other. The presence of a uniformed police officer works well for discipline and can serve as intervention before issues escalate. This expertise can identify risks before they intensify and perhaps serve as a deterrent. In the event of an emergency, an on-site officer provides immediate response. Costs must be considered and are being reviewed.
Threat Assessment Team
The district is working with the Tipp City Police Department and FBI to form a Threat Assessment Team. The team will consist of administrators, teachers and other staff who will be trained on school security and crisis preparedness. This team will learn how to spot precursors to violent behavior and potential dangers and quickly extinguish them. Ongoing training will include seminars on identifying and reporting threats, prevention, intervention and security. This is a cost-effective way to bring added safety to our schools.
Arming Building Staff
Whether to arm some teachers and staff is a hotly debated and emotional issue. The Board of Education is evaluating the feasibility and support for this option. Fingerprint activated safes would be strategically placed throughout each school. Only authorized staff who have been cleared and trained would be able to access the biometric safe.
In my next blog, I will discuss instant notification systems, camera/surveillance services, and social media monitoring options.
Posted by John P. Kronour, Ph.D. at 5/3/2013 4:00:00 PM
Under federal law, school districts are required to provide a free, appropriate education to all children. That looks differently to each of our students who qualifies for an Individualized Education Plan, more commonly referred to as an IEP.An IEP is a specialized teaching plan based on one’s specific needs and/or disabilities.It is designed to improve a student’s academic performance and education results. Often, a very complex process, involving numerous personnel, is used to determine what is most appropriate to each child. This is one of the fastest growing segments in a school district budget.
Currently Tipp City Exempted Village Schools has 385 students receiving some form of special services.This can be occupational, speech, and/or physical therapy.Some children may have a visual impairment, hearing loss or form of autism.Some children with emotional disorders or ADHD are on IEPs.Students with any impairment that affects learning and performance receive services.
Tipp City Exempted Village Schools is proud of its commitment and programs to provide a quality education to all enrolled students.However, with better identification of special needs available to educators, the number of children requiring services is increasing at unprecedented rates. Likewise, special education costs have increased substantially. More severe needs of children also means the children need more intense, specialized services.If the district cannot provide appropriate services for a student, the student must go elsewhere at the district’s expense.This could include an off-site facility, such as a private residential facility, that can cost more than $30,000 a year.
I write this today to shed some light on yet another reason we need your support on the May 7th levy.There is no such thing as a free education.It is our responsibility to provide a quality education to all students.
Posted by John P. Kronour, Ph.D. at 5/1/2013 4:00:00 PM
Levy Committee volunteers are hearing from community members who do not support the upcoming levy for reasons that are retaliatory to our students.Many of the explanations for the no votes are personal agendas against a staff member, coach, board decision or superintendent.Some disagree with the board’s position on retire-rehire practices.Others do not agree with the school redistricting though it is working out better than most expected and saving the district close to one million dollars over five years. Others are unhappy with the district’s decision to build the high school that welcomed its first students in 2003.And, still others say they will vote no for this levy because of the district’s exploration of future facility options to renovate and/or replace deteriorating schools.The BOE and administrators made decisions they believed to be in the best interest of the district.If you are one of these no votes, I ask you to reconsider for the sake of our students. Please do not use the May levy to send a message to the Board of Education or superintendent.It does little to change decisions or the makeup of the board.Instead, I encourage you to engage in dialogue, offer suggestions for improvement and work to effect positive change. Future elections will afford you the chance to elect new leadership or keep the same leadership. The Tipp City School district needs this levy to keep teachers in the classrooms, programs viable and class sizes down.These students are our future doctors, engineers, mechanics, and teachers.Do not jeopardize that because of a single disagreement.