Mandates, facilities projects on tap for district
The South-Western City School District's areas of focus for 2013 will include working toward implementing state-mandated common core standards in English language arts and math and the new third grade reading guarantee, Superintendent Bill Wise said.
The common core state standards will need to be integrated into the district's classrooms by the 2014-15 school year.
The guarantee states that beginning with the 2013-14 school year, third-grade students cannot be promoted to fourth grade if they score below a certain level in reading on the Ohio achievement test.
"We see the new reading guarantee, as well as the common core standards, as an opportunity to look at early intervention measures and to become more aggressive in building our students' reading scores," Wise said.
Another big issue for South-Western and for all districts will be the new model for state funding of schools expected to be included in the next biennium budget the governor will propose in February, he said.
The district plans to break ground in June on the first phase of its Ohio School Facilities Commission project, Wise said.
The first phase will involve constructing new buildings at Monterey, Harmon, Alton Hall and Prairie North elementary schools.
"Those four were chosen (for the first phase) specifically because their sites have the ability to host a group of students from other schools," Wise said. "They will provide 'swing space' for year two of the project."
The plan is for the guest students to attend classes in the old buildings at the four sites while new buildings are constructed.
The first phase will go to bid in March, Wise said.
Another project that will advance in 2013 is the effort to adopt a strategic plan for the district, he said.
Through the process, five long-term goals have been identified, including that students can enter college without remediation; parents actively receive communications; students graduate on time; students exit emotionally, socially and physically prepared; and families are vested in planning their future.
"We've created a 'balanced scorecard' framework which has 14 goals which are tied to those five broad goals," Wise said.
The school board will be presented with recommendations in the spring on how the district can achieve those goals, he said.
In general, the SWCS challenge for 2013 remains "meeting the needs of the students we serve," Wise said.
"I believe we are blessed with outstanding staff and employees and that we've leave 2013 having done even better than we did in 2012," he said.