Schools face major challenges in 2013
Marysville Exempted Village Schools face major challenges in 2013 according to School Board President Jeff Mabee.
Transitioning to the new common core curriculum, the implementation of the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System, coping with the new state budget, dealing with the district's fiscal outlook, and getting restructured and ready for the new school year with reductions in place, are among the challenges facing the district, Mabee said.
The hottest topic is the need to cut $2 million from the budget after the failed November levy attempt.
The district submitted a plan to the Ohio Department of Education on Dec. 21. The cuts include four positions from administration, 13.5 classified positions, more than 20 certified positions including all department/grade level chairmen, and two positions under contracted services. The plan creates a few different positions in an effort to bridge gaps.
The district has not heard back from the state on whether it will approve the plan.
MEVSD will not only have to adjust to the reduction in staff but continue to transition to the new core curriculum.
Superintendent Diane Mankins said that it calls for a change in instructional practice to encourage teachers to see who is doing the cognitive work in the classroom.
"We're pushing that work to the student where the teacher becomes the facilitator of the learning. It becomes more project based, more discovery, inquiring based learning," said Mankins.
The district is working on a strategic plan it hopes to have in place by the end of this school year which brings together all those pieces.
"That will be one huge shift for us on the horizon," said Mankins.
The district has to adopt a policy for educator evaluation by July 1, 2013, under the OTES.
Bunsold Middle School Principal Kathy McKinniss and Marysville Education Association President Juliet Litzel presented the model to the school board at the Dec. 20 meeting.
The evaluation model is based on teacher performance and student growth measures. The district also has to implement a new principal evaluation system and new accountability system, HB555, which is an entirely new way of evaluating school district performance.
The new report-card system grades schools on an "A-F" scale instead of using ratings such as "Excellent" and "Academic Watch."
The current school year is the first year the new report cards will award schools and districts grades in each one of several areas. Schools will receive a single, overall letter grade starting in the 2014-2015 school year.
The new report cards will make it harder for schools to earn top grades, but many of the details of how report-card grades will be determined have been left up to the State Board of Education.
Mankins and Mabee seem to be in tune on a long-range plan for the district. The board is also focusing on its future.
"We want to continue to grow as a team and get to the point where we are a highly functioning board. We need to make sure we are focused on not only this year but three to five years down the road and build on the fiscal plan that we put together this year," said Mabee.
The board will hold its organizational meeting for 2013 on Monday, Jan. 7.
Adjustments to the budget cuts, transitioning to the new Common Core and the OTES are the three major points of concentration for the district.
Both Mankins and Mabee say they will continue to focus on building relationships through the transition phase.
"It is a huge year of change for us," said Mankins.
"We need to make sure we continue to foster and grow our relationships with our parents, community members and business partners to find ways to help each other succeed," said Mabee.