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

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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 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.

 

 

Community Meeting Tonight

Common Core and The Third Grade Guarantee don’t just affect Centerville, but the entire state. Don’t miss this important, informational meeting tonight!

Co-Sponsored by the Washington – Centerville Library and Centerville City Schools

Thursday, June 19, 2014 (7:00 – 8:00 PM)

Cline Elementary Auditorium

99 Virginia Avenue

Educational Community Meeting Agenda

Co-Sponsored by the Washington – Centerville Library and Centerville City Schools

Thursday, June 19, 2014 (7:00 – 8:00 PM)

Cline Elementary Auditorium

99 Virginia Avenue

 

  1. Welcome

2. Opening Comments

Dr. Tom Lasley – “Learn to Earn”

Senator Peggy Lehner

3. Presentation – Centerville Schools & Washington –Centerville Library

Third Grade Reading Guarantee

Common Core Curriculum

So what can you DO?

So, you’ve started to get informed. You’re gathering information and concerned about public education. You’ve heard the call. Now what?

Get involved locally:

Email us at centervillecure@gmail.com. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get information on events and resources.

Attend local school board meetings and get involved with your PTO.

 

Get involved state-wide:

Contact the Ohio Department of Education.

Write to Peggy Lehner, Montgomery County’s district 6 Senator and Chair of the Senate Education Committee.

Contact Governor John Kasich.

Contact Congressman Mike Turner, who represents Montgomery County.

Get involved with the UCC’s Justice in Education Mission.

Like Save Ohio Schools on Facebook.

 

Get involved nationally:

Contact Secretary of Education Arne Duncan at the U.S. Department of Education.

Follow and sign petitions with the Network for Public Education.

Join and sign petitions with Parents Across America.

 

 

 

 

Save the Date

Centerville City Schools will host a community forum on June 19, 2014 at 7pm in Cline Elementary’s auditorium. Get information on the upcoming PARCC tests, Common Core Curriculum, the Third Grade Reading Guarantee, and more. Special guest, Ohio State Representative and Chair of the Senate Education Committee, Peggy Lehner. Details to come as the agenda becomes available.