Johnstown Independent

Possible May bond issue

JM officials seek input on facility needs

Northridge plans leadership teams

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Facilities, a new superintendent and teachers contract are on the agenda for Johnstown-Monroe Local Schools this year.

Neighboring Northridge Local is entering into 2014 with a new vision, mission, values and initiatives to offer students optimal opportunities for success.

Johnstown-Monroe residents are in the process of hosting meetings to discuss potential building-improvement projects.

All interested residents are invited to attend meetings at the Johnstown Village Council chambers, 599 S. Main St., from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 5, and Wednesday, Jan. 15.

A survey regarding facility needs and financing also is available at the Mary E. Babcock Library, 320 N Main St., and online at Facebook.com/JohnstownSchoolsFacilitiesForum.

District treasurer Tammy Woods said paperwork must be filed by Feb. 6 to place a bond issue on the May 6 ballot. She said that would require two separate board meetings for required legislation to be filed by Feb. 6.

Woods said negotiations for new teachers contracts should begin sometime in February, too. The existing contract expires June 30.

Also this year, Johnstown-Monroe is also expected to hire a new superintendent.

Woods said the board extended the deadline to March 1 for candidates to submit resumes.

The district is looking at an Aug. 1 start date unless the selected candidate is available earlier, Woods said.


Northridge Local has new vision, mission

Northridge Local Schools Superintendent Chris Briggs said the district has a new vision, mission and Viking value statements.

He said the vision is to ensure that every student reaches his or her fullest potential.

The district's mission is to empower all students with the knowledge and skills necessary to be college- and career-ready.

Briggs said Viking values are trust, communication, leadership, collaboration, respect, integrity and accountability.

Heading into the second half of the 2013 school year, Briggs said, the district has a lot to be proud of in the communities that make up Northridge schools. He said new learning standards, new report-card rankings and new testing all stand to challenge students and ensure that the district is more accountable to parents and other residents.

As Northridge superintendent, Briggs recently finished his first year on the job.

"As I reflect upon this time, one thing is clear: Great schools mean a lot to people, and communication is a key part of our success," he said.

As a means to increase public awareness and transparency, Northridge has created a newsletter so community members -- parents, staff and students -- are informed about what's going on within the schools, including achievements and challenges.

As a Race to the Top district, the district's Teaching and Learning Department facilitates the scope of work and professional development plan.

Race to the Top is a federal program that works through the Ohio Department of Education to provide funds to districts that meet certain criteria.

According to the ODE's website, the program provides "guidance for sponsors' and community schools' implementation of their Race to the Top (RttT) grant strategies aligning with the Ohio Department of Education's (ODE) vision of a world-class education system in which all students will graduate with a sense of purpose and be college and career ready."

Key items include the development of courses of study and curriculum maps, using student data to inform instruction, and the implementation of the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System, Briggs said.

Other current initiatives include the establishment of a district leadership team, building leadership teams and teacher-based teams; response to intervention; the Third Grade Reading Guarantee; and high-quality professional development opportunities.

Briggs said the district also is working to improve gifted programming and evaluating course offerings.

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