In his first year as superintendent of Dublin City Schools, David Axner visited each of the 19 school buildings before the year began to address the staffs, rather than bring them together for a combined convocation.

In his first year as superintendent of Dublin City Schools, David Axner visited each of the 19 school buildings before the year began to address the staffs, rather than bring them together for a combined convocation.

Accompanying him were other administrators and leaders from the district's two unions.

When it was all over, Axner said, Asa Schreck, president of the Dublin Support Association and head custodian at Olde Sawmill Elementary, walked up to him and said the superintendent gave "a wonderful speech, but do I have to listen to it 19 times again next year?"

This year, the staffs of all district schools, along with those from the district's central office, came together at Dublin Scioto High School for the Aug. 20 convocation.

"We are here as one team, one district, one Dublin," Axner told his staff.

He began his short address with the news that Dublin had met all 30 indicators on this year's state report card, met the AYP (adequate yearly progress) requirement, improved its performance index score and received an "excellent with distinction" rating from the state. The "excellent with distinction" rating is the highest possible on the Ohio Department of Education report card.

The success was the result of a "team effort" of every employee who comes in contact with students, he said.

"In 2007, some of our schools started to drop in rating and our district was on its way to 'continuous improvement' (on the report card), and you went to work," Axner said. "You tore the data apart. You came to school early. You stayed after school. You tutored on the weekends. You collaborated. You never give up on our children. I stand before you as a very proud superintendent."

The 2008-09 school year will be challenging, he said, because the district must continue to improve on its report card to maintain its rating and also must pass a combined bond issue and operating levy.

The staff also heard from school board president Gwen Callender, who related two stories that she said emphasize the type of caring staff that Dublin employs.

The first concerned her son when he was entering first grade after a year in private kindergarten. The week before school a postcard arrived from his teacher telling him how excited she was that he was in her class.

"I will never forget that that teacher took the time to make my son feel special and include us as parents," she said.

The other story concerned her son, who is going into eighth grade and attended a leadership seminar this summer at Stanford University.

When she met him at the airport "he walked taller and with a confidence in his step that has stayed with me to this day," Callender said.

She said all this was possible because her son's seventh-grade math teacher recognized his leadership qualities and submitted his name for the seminar.

Callender thanked those teachers and all of the district's staff "for all of the hard work and commitment you give to provide a safe, meaningful and rigorous education for all of our students."

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