Tri-Village News

School district has a lot on its plate in coming year

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

The new year promises to be filled with decisions on both finances and learning in the Grandview Heights City School District.

In fact, Superintendent Ed O'Reilly said 2013 is shaping up as the busiest year since he became superintendent.

The school board will decide during the first half of the year whether the district needs to return to the ballot in November, he said.

"When we last went to the ballot in 2010, we promised we would maintain the excellence of our program and be fiscally responsible and that the levy would last three years," O'Reilly said.

The district has been able to keep those promises, despite losing about $1.4 million in state funding over that time, he said.

The school board will need to decide on the levy by July in order to meet the filing deadline for November, O'Reilly said.

On the teaching and learning side, the district will work to implement state-mandated changes to its teacher evaluation system by the start of the 2013-14 school year, he said.

Teachers will be evaluated in equal measure by student growth and by their own performance, O'Reilly said.

Because the contract Grandview teachers ratified last year includes a provision that each instructor must develop an individual set of performance goals, "we are ahead of the curve" in developing the framework for a new evaluation system, he said.

Work will continue this year on revamping the high school's core offerings based on the Central Ohio Compact and an emphasis on making sure Grandview graduates are prepared for college and careers, O'Reilly said. These changes may include offering more Advanced Placement and dual enrollment courses.

The district also will work toward adopting the Common Core curriculum in math and English by the 2014-15 school year and evaluating its diagnostics ahead of the implementation of the state's third-grade reading guarantee next school year, he said.

Like all districts, Grandview is assessing the impact of a new state report card program that will evaluate districts using letter grades, O'Reilly said.

"One of the most significant changes is that the state is raising the report card's standard (for how many students pass state achievement tests) from 75 to 80 percent across the board," he said.

An important ongoing concern is working to ensure "the social and mental well-being of our students," O'Reilly said. "That entails so many aspects of their growing up outside of academics.

"We will continue to collaborate with our community to make sure our students are mentally healthy," he said.

With so much work ahead, O'Reilly said, he also is concerned about the stress being placed on district administrators and teachers.

"They are being asked to do a lot in a very short period of time," he said.

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