Posted by John P. Kronour, Ph.D. at 7/1/2014 10:00:00 AM
Maintaining an effective communication system between schools, parents, and the community is important to the Tipp City School District. Strong two-way communication increases awareness, promotes student success, and creates stronger partnerships with stakeholders. The already established communication system within the district includes a social media presence, webpage, emails, phone alerts, and newsletters. We want to make sure parents and community members are getting the information we provide and feeling connected.
The district’s School Community Relations Coordinator, Liz Robbins, is forming a new parent group to make suggestions on how to better facilitate communication. What do parents and community members want to know? What information do they find most useful? How do they prefer to receive the information? We want to hear ideas,thoughts, and concerns.
The one-hour informal brainstorming session is scheduled for Tuesday, July 15 starting at noon at the Board of Education office. An evening meeting will be organized for later in the summer. If you can’t attend but have a suggestion or question, please contact Liz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 937-669-6302.
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Posted by Dr. John p. Kronour at 6/19/2014 8:00:00 AM
Teachers matter. In fact, they matter a lot. A quality teacher is the most important factor for achieving student learning. The high stakes testing and rigorous mandated curriculum standards heighten this significance.
Tipp City Exempted Village Schools takes great pride in attracting quality educators who share our vision and commitment to excellence. Unfortunately, we are losing too many of these teachers to higher paying positions in other districts. I do not want the district to become a training ground for young educators who leave after 3 to 5 years with us.
The exit of teachers is costly. It is costly to the students who lose experienced teachers; it is costly to the district that must recruit, hire, and train replacements. The district is losing on its investment.
In a cost-saving measure, the Board of Education froze the traditional “step” salary rubric used for annual staff compensation increases. It provided salary schedules based on level of education, years of experience and professional development. A replacement or hybrid model is not formulated. In its absence, the board resorted to a year-to-year consideration that included 4 years of a salary freeze largely because of significantly reduced state funding. Recently, the BOE authorized an across-the-board salary increase of 2 percent, working within the budget available to them. Yet, it is not enough to make up for the years of wage freezes and lack of steps. Teachers are looking and leaving for higher paying jobs.
Where do we go from here? A Strategic Compensation Committee, consisting of teachers and other staff members, has been meeting regularly to determine how best to adequately pay teachers in order to attract and retain the superior staff our students deserve and our community expects. Is it time to explore the level of support for an earned income tax or other type of levy?
I am looking for your ideas to help us formulate an equitable solution. Teachers deserve fair compensation. They are the reason for our success. A structured salary schedule helps a district stay competitive in attracting and retaining high-quality teachers in the classroom. Without some evidence of competitive reward, I am very concerned that we will forfeit the opportunity to maintain excellence. Teachers need to and should feel valued. This includes a competitive compensation package.
In order to maintain the integrity of this dialogue, you must provide a valid email and full name in order for the comment to be considered for posting on the blog.
Posted by John P. Kronour, Ph.D. at 5/9/2014 12:00:00 PM
The district’s state report card has a new look. Gone are the labels like “Excellent” or “Continuous Improvement.” Instead, the district will receive A thru F letter grades on several measures in the same way a student receives grades for each of his or her classes.
Report card measures are grouped into six components:
•Achievement is based on state tests that measure the level of achievement for each student in a grade and subject.
•Progress uses the "value-added" measure to how much progress students made during the school year.
•Gap Closing measures the academic performance of specific groups of students, such as racial and demographic groups.
•Graduation Rate grades school and districts on percentages of students graduating in four or five years.
•K-3 Literacy measures how well schools and districts are helping young students develop the reading skills they will need to succeed in later grades.
•Prepared for Success measures students' preparedness for success in college and careers.
Beginning in 2015, the new report card will provide a grade for each of the six components and a combined overall grade. Our preliminary district grade during this transition time is a B with most individual component grades at A and B.
Within the broad categories, or components, there are individual Measures. These measures are descriptive, graded elements of the components. For instance, within the Progress component, there are three measures: Gifted, Students with Disabilities, and Lowest 20 percent in Achievement. Within the Graduation Rate component, there are two measures: four-year graduation rate and five-year graduation rate. The Ohio Department of Education will add more.
The new A-F system is a distinct change from the old report cards, which means the two assessments cannot be compared. The results will help us evaluate our strengths and highlight where we need to focus improvement efforts so that all students have optimal opportunities to succeed in our district and be well prepared for college and careers.
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Posted by John P. Kronour, Ph.D. at 4/29/2014 12:00:00 PM
There is a significant difference between a bond issue and a levy such as the Permanent Improvement Renewal Levy on the May 6th ballot. PI money pays for property, assets or improvements with a life or usefulness of five years or more such as building maintenance, curriculum resources and transportation purchases. This money cannot be used for salaries and benefits.
The Board of Education is not asking for money to build new facilities on May 6th. If that were the case, the district would have a bond issue on the ballot. Revenue raised from a bond issue can be used only for capital costs such as new school construction and/or certain building renovations.
The district remains in its planning stage with its facilities project. The BOE faces new decisions since the state recently notified the district that it is not likely to receive state funding this year as expected. We are at the bottom of the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission’s priority list.
Please don’t blur the lines of a bond issue and a levy. Each is unique with specific funding expenditures permitted. This PI Renewal Levy provides critical funding for maintenance and upkeep that protects our investments.
Please contact me at email@example.com call me directly at 667-1357 with comments or questions. If you choose to leave a comment on this blog, you must submit a VALID email address; name is optional.
Posted by Dr. John P. Kronour at 3/18/2014 9:00:00 AM
On May 6, the Tipp City School District will be on the ballot for a 5-year, 2.0 mill, Permanent Improvement Renewal Levy. This is for ZEROnew taxes. This PI fund provides nearly $700,000 annually in critical funding for our schools and students. It pays for building maintenance, curriculum resources, buses and technology. Without this money, funding for maintenance expenses and capital purchases will be eliminated; facilities and grounds repairs will be compromised; curriculum and technology purchases will be deferred. Though the district is not asking taxpayers for additional money, we cannot take passage of this levy for granted. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me directly at 667-1357 with comments or questions. If you choose to leave a comment on this blog, you must submit a VALID email address; name is optional.
Posted by John P. Kronour, Ph.D. at 2/18/2014 3:00:00 PM
District Administrators are gathering feedback on our first Blizzard Bag/e-Learning Day before determining if today's school cancellation is considered a second e-day. We are assessing the quality of assignments, the length of time necessary to complete them and the level of participation. This will help us to determine the success of this practice, whether to continue it, and/or what modifications to make for improving it. What do you think? Is a better option than adding days at the end of the year during the week of June 9TH? What worked for your student(s) and family? What were some challenges? How much time did your child(ren) spend on the work? PLEASE NOTE:Your feedback is important. For comments to this blog entry, I am requiring that all responses include a first and last name along with a valid e-mail address. Comments without this information will not be posted.
Posted by John P. Kronour, Ph.D. at 2/5/2014 2:00:00 PM
Taxpayers deserve transparency. Tipp City’s Board of Education and administrators believe that and work every day to be transparent. It is important that taxpayers trust the current decision making process and understand how the BOE prioritizes its spending and delivers transparency. All monthly school board meetings are open to the public with opportunity for public comment. The district’s treasurer posts online the monthly financial reports, five-year forecast, and annual audit. Despite this public record of fiscal accountability, many community members readily criticize us for not being transparent. What are we missing? What aren’t we doing that we should be doing? What information do you want to see that we are not providing? I am seeking your input so that we can better understand the request “to be more transparent.” Please note that when commenting on this blog you must provide a valid e-mail address or a name in order to get a response. Your comment will not be posted unless this information is provided.
Posted by John P. Kronour, Ph.D. at 1/6/2014 2:00:00 PM
When temperatures start to plunge and the forecast calls for wind chill factors below zero, the school district has a decision to make. Should the district close school due to a deep freeze? Whether it is snow, ice, or frigid conditions, making the decision is always a judgment call. Sometimes it is obvious; other times it is not. So, what do you think? Is extreme cold weather a good reason to cancel school? Why or why not? And, just what do you consider too cold to justify closing school?
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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.
t is our intent to pay for full-day kindergarten with the dollars that will be generated from our increased enrollment. The State has just this year brought back a per-student funding formula. Currently, each kindergarten student counts as .5 as we go half day. If we move to all-day, each student will be counted as 1.0. This would, in a regular year, increase our funding by an additional 80-90 students and would cover the cost of an all-day kindergarten program.
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.
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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.