By Jeff Gallatin
Bay schools staff and students continue to adjust to changes in educational standards and requirements to help maintain the district’s high standards and performance, Superintendent Clint Keener said during the district’s recent state of the schools presentation.
District officials made the presentation Oct. 29 in the Bay Middle School auditorium. Keener said afterward that because the district has been able to make the adjustments successfully, the district has continued to garner high marks in overall excellence in various categories and rankings for more than a decade.
“It’s part of the process,” Keener said of having to make adjustments in areas such as curriculum, instruction, technology, finances, athletics and other areas of education for a school district. “It’s usually a challenge, but it’s something we expect to do as a district and will continue to.”
Keener said a major part of the current round of adjustments is dealing with changing state common core and learning standards.
“It plays a role in the classrooms and how the curriculum is handled,” he said.
Keener said the new standards have a strong emphasis on students’ understanding of the materials and the actual application of what they are learning.
“We’ve always worked at making sure there is a strong understanding by the students of the material that is being presented to them,” he said. “There is an emphasis now on having the students be able to show what they know on the tests and then retain it for use in real-world applications.”
Keener noted that the district continues to perform well on the annual Ohio Department of Education report card and grades, as well as rankings issued by educational organizations, the media and other institutions. Keener said the district is also utilizing more and more technology in classrooms and district facilities.
“That certainly plays a role in what we’re doing in our classrooms and educational process,” he said.
Keener said the district’s successful passage of the most recent operating levy, as well as a special capital improvements bond levy, both help make the district’s job of educating the students easier.
“We certainly appreciate the support from the community in those areas and will continue our work to let them see how the funds are being utilized,” he said.
In the capital improvements area, Keener said work continues on upgrading district technology and infrastructure needs targeted with funds from the special bond levy. In addition to the HVAC and other facility upgrades, the district buildings will also be able to utilize newer educational technology as well with the facility upgrades.
Referring to the operating levies, Keener said the district will continue its recent pattern of trying to stretch those funds as long as possible.
“For many years, we were in the pattern of seeking a new operating levy every three years,” he said. “We were able to stretch the last one out for four years, and with the one most recently passed, we’re certainly going to go for four years again and might try to stretch it five, if we can.”
Keener said the high level of cooperation between the district staff and administration in working on contract negotiations, health care issues and dealing with educational standards is a major reason why the district has been able to stretch its finances.
“We would not have been as successful as we have in those areas without them being so responsive and willing to work with us for the good of the district,” he said.
Keener said the district also is emphasizing the importance of access to a public education and making sure students and the community have a strong district as a result.