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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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/

Like sheep to the slaughter

THIS is what we fear will happen.
THIS is what corporate education reform is forcing unknowing parents towards. Teachers will be forced to protect their livelihood by teaching to the tests, parents will get frustrated at the wrong people because really, at this point, what else can we DO? Then parents ultimately do exactly what corporate reform wants us to do which is pull our kids from public school. We MUST find a way to organize our protests so that this option doesn’t become the norm.

Teachers Hit the Common Core Wall

From NPR

 

http://www.npr.org/blogs/ed/2014/06/03/318246129/teachers-hit-the-common-core-wall?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=npr&utm_term=nprnews&utm_content=20140603

Why parent voices matter

Teachers are having their livelihoods tied to test scores and toeing the line. We don’t have the same restrictions. It’s our duty as parents to speak up for our kids and their teachers.

The deafening silence of teachers