Convocation sets tone for district's coming year
Bexley's annual back-to-school convocation on Aug. 13 offered a time for school faculty and staff members to come together, welcome each other back for a new year and recommit to the district's priorities.
At this event, marking the start of the 2013-2014 school year, we congratulated faculty and staff for their intentional and focused work during the school year and over the summer to ensure that Bexley remains an educational leader in the region, state and nation.
The preliminary and unofficial feedback listed on the Ohio Department of Education website demonstrates that the school district's performance was among the highest in the state. Following 12 consecutive years of "excellent with distinction" ratings, Bexley's 2013 Performance Index of 106.1 hit the highest level in the history of the school district.
We reported at convocation that U.S. News and World Report and Newsweek ranked Bexley High School's academic performance among the highest in the state and nation. The school was 160th of some 22,000 public schools in 49 states and the District of Columbia, receiving one of Ohio's 19 U.S. News gold medal awards. Newsweek's "America's Best High Schools" included Bexley in the top 10 percent in the United States.
In addition, the national College Board organization announced that 101 Bexley High School students were AP Scholars, those who demonstrated outstanding college-level achievement this year through Advanced Placement courses.
At convocation, we also talked about the data from the Search Institute's 40 Developmental Asset survey that our students took last spring; it offers some compelling feedback for all of us to consider. We are convinced that this 40 Developmental Assets data, combined with our student performance data, will provide a framework to ensure that every child gets the help he or she needs to perform at the highest levels, as well as thrive socially, emotionally, culturally and academically.
According to research and theory, all students approach learning through sensing, perceiving and feeling, as well as through logic and reasoning.
Some students have a style of learning that is dominated by perceiving: they immerse themselves directly in the experience, they understand through their senses, they intuit. On the other hand, some students think through the experience and approach learning logically and abstractly. For all to be guaranteed success, each student's experience must include both reason and emotion, manifested differently and in varying degrees.
Convocation gave us all the chance to focus on pursuing the school district's academic and social/emotional/multicultural priorities. Laura Lipsett, curriculum director, will continue to lead staffers in their efforts to implement mastery learning supported by standards based instruction, formative assessment practices and acceleration through the curriculum.
Kimberly Brazwell, our student community support specialist, will lead the work of addressing the social/emotional/multicultural needs of children in concert and parallel with the work of our instructional staff. We believe that by simultaneously addressing the academic and the social/emotional needs of our students, our school district will achieve and perform at ever-higher levels.
Michael Johnson is the superintendent of Bexley City Schools.