Letter from Centerville Superintendent

February 16, 2015

Dear Parents / Guardians:

In approximately one week school districts across Ohio will begin administering the ODE Next Generation Assessments. Recently there have been a lot of questions regarding these new tests and I would like to provide a brief summary of the most accurate information at this time:

  • We are required to assess all students per the Ohio Revised Code,
  • The Ohio Department of Education does not recognize any “opt-out” of testing form,
  • The Ohio Department of Educations will consider any “opt-out” student as a non-score and a non-participant (which will penalize buildings and districts on their respective state report cards in two areas), and
  • Any “opt-out” student will not be included in a teacher’s value added data, but this does not mean that a teacher’s value added data is unaffected.

This means that:

  • There are negative consequences to our school buildings and district ratings,
  • There are direct negative consequences to third grade students and students in high school courses (3rd Grade Reading Guarantee & New Graduation Requirements), and
  • There is the potential negative consequence for teacher evaluation ratings.

To view ODE’s “Information on Student Participation in State Tests” click on the link below.

http://education.ohio.gov/getattachment/53dc1f3e-11f1-4093-875c-090e160b187f/Guidance-on-Student-Participation-in-State-Tests.pdf.aspx

While we may not like the mandated assessments, we have an obligation to our students, our staff, and our community to perform to the best of our abilities to administer the assessments and provide the best possible testing environment for our students.  We continue to believe that quality instruction is the best way to prepare students and I am proud of how our staff has tried to protect instructional time with our students by spending as little time as possible on test preparation.

With that said… I have to be honest in saying that the assessment mandates have proven to be challenging. We, like most other districts have devoted countless resources in technology infrastructure, technology devices such as Chromebooks, personnel, planning and preparation. The amount of instructional time dedicated to these assessments is also a worry. While we understand the need to be accountable, we may be at the “tipping point” of reason with the number of testing hours vs. loss of instructional time.

As Superintendent, I would like to share that Centerville City Schools has been a member of the Alliance for High Quality Schools for many years. As a member of the Executive Committee, I can share with you that our mission is to proactively engage the legislators and members of the Department of Education in dialogue and discussion. While I cannot promise what the future will hold… I can tell you that we are working hard to engage those who can affect change. As a public entity, Centerville Schools is bound to follow the law, and that is what the District will do but, we have a voice and we want all of our voices to be heard as well.

As always – thank you for your support. We are fortunate to live in a great community with great kids, great parents and an outstanding staff.

Sincerely,

Tom Henderson, Ph.D.

Superintendent

Opting Out of State Tests

At CURE, we are against high-stakes testing attached to Common Core. When starting to unravel all of the information regarding what is happening in public education, it’s important to understand there are many different political sides rallying for common interests but for different reasons. Some groups want the CCSS gone entirely, removing the federal government from the equation. Some want CCSS gone for specific curriculum reasons. Others may be against the standards, but for privatization.  So when we share information from varying groups, like Ohioans Against the Common Core, we want to make sure to state that we don’t necessarily support all of a group’s ideas. Our goal is to help parents make aware enough to make their own decision.

That being said, the Ohio Assessments start next week, including the first round of Third Grade Guarantee testing. At some point, Centerville parents, Ohio parents, local parents, are going to have to take a stand regarding what’s happening on the federal level. Is opting out of the test the most effective way to make a stand?

We at CURE we are very hesitant to do anything that undermines our local school district and teachers. What are the repercussions of opting out ? How will it affect my child, our teachers, and our district? It’s something to start thinking about. What will you decide?

 

http://ohioansagainstcommoncore.com/what-you-can-do-today-to-stop-common-core/

November 2014

Elections are just around the corner. Please take time to educate yourself. When it comes to public education, corporate reformers come in all shapes, sizes, and political parties. Take time to read up on the candidates for Governor and for the State Board of Education.

To find out information about registering to vote, where to vote, and who is on the ballot, visit the Montgomery County Board of Elections.

The 3rd District’s State School Board candidates are:

A.J. Wagner: Former judge appointed by Governor Kasich in August 2014.

Sarah L. Roberts: Former teacher and OEA member opposed to high-stakes testing.

Mary Pritchard: Conservative who opposes Common Core.

Charlotte D. McGuire

 

 

2013-2014 Ohio State Report Cards

See how your district did.

 

http://www.mydaytondailynews.com/data/news/2013-14-state-report-card-area-districts/?ecmp=daytondaily_social_facebook_2014_sfp

Ohio House Bill 597

An overview of what’s happening:

http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2014/08/common_core_opponents_take_ano.html

 

You can read the full bill here.

 

 

More Ohio Common Core News

The debate over Common Core is heated in part because there are several drastically different political groups opposed to the CCSS for a variety of different reasons. At CURE we are not attempting to promote any particular party’s opposition to Common Core. Our goal is to disperse information, create discussion, and use our voices to support public education, teachers, and our children, who we believe, should not be defined by test scores.

 

http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2014/08/bill_to_kill_common_core_limits_foreign_and_modern_authors_religion_and_science_rules_are_unclear.html

Ohio Lawmakers Debating Common Core State Standards

Important things happening in Ohio.

 

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2014/08/19/ohio-lawmakers-educators-debate-common-core-standards.html

Community Education Wrap-Up Part 2

As promised, Centerville’s Director of Curriculum has posted his presentation from June 19th online. You can view his PDF presentations on Common Core and the Third Grade Guarantee here.

Community Education Meeting Wrap-Up Part 1

Last night, CURE was present and live-tweeting from the Community Education Meeting Co-Sponsored by the Washington-Centerville Library and Centerville City Schools. Approximately 100 members were in the audience. Superintendent of Centerville City Schools (CCS), Dr. Tom Henderson, opened the meeting commending CCS on the results of the Third Grade Reading Guarantee.

Within CCS, only 10 children failed to pass the Third Grade Guarantee. 9 of those children had exemptions such as English as a second language.

Dr. Tom Lasley of Learn to Earn spoke next and gave some background on why the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are being implemented in Ohio. He emphasized that the future of the United States depends on a skilled and educated population and that in order to have a useful community discussion “we need to set aside politics and offer a sufficient skill set to students. We need to engage thoughtfully and critically.”

Senator Peggy Lehner began by emphasizing how the U.S. is facing an “education crisis threatening the future of our country.” She stated that “American students are falling behind” in the international workforce.

Senator Lehner addressed several members of the audience as people she has seen before who oppose Common Core. Lehner stated that the development of the CCSS has been happening for years and that the state of Ohio alone held 18 hearings regarding its development.

Rather combative she added, “teachers have been learning about CCSS for years and out of the blue there is now an anti-Common Core movement.”

She stressed that state standards are not the same thing as curriculum and that “there is nothing wrong with the Common Core that we can’t fix,” and said that the CCSS implementation time-line in Ohio has been extended because “we expect scores to drop while we all adjust.”

She finished by suggesting that “we are seriously threatening years of work and millions of dollars spent by schools because of the political arguments about the Common Core.”

During the Question and Answer segment after the presentations, a CURE member asked Senator Lehner why the state isn’t footing the bill for the Google Chromebooks required for state mandated testing, but instead is passing that bill onto Ohio schools? In Centerville’s case, PTO’s have then been asked by Principals to fund some of the burden.

Lehner responded by suggesting that because the Chromebooks are useful technology that will be utilized in environments other than for state testing, the state was not necessarily required to provide them.

Following Senator Lehner was Vice-President of the Ohio Department of Education, Tom Gunlock. Gunlock stressed again that state standards are not the same thing as curriculum and that he firmly believes in the Common Core. He was adamant that curriculum belongs to the local school districts, “have concerns about the standards? Call me.”

We encourage you to do so:

Tom Gunlock

10147 Putterview Way

Centerville, Ohio 45458

Phone: (937) 609-6951

E-mail: Tom.Gunlock@education.ohio.gov

 

Part 2 of our wrap-up will focus on CCS Director of Curriculum, Jeremy Miller, and his presentation regarding the Third Grade Reading Guarantee, it’s components, and assessments.