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Bay state of the schools: quality education comes from supportive community

By Jon Wysochanski

Bay Village

According to school officials, Bay Village is currently in a good position both financially and academically. The support the schools receive from the community allows them to continue delivery of

quality education with quality staff. Voters approved a 6.9-mill operating levy in November.

On Oct. 11, during a Kiwanis Home Club meeting at Bay Village Middle School, various school officials provided information on the state of Bay Village Schools.

“I’m very proud to say the district in Bay Village has been transparent long before that was a buzz word in the industry,” school board President Amy Huntley told the audience. “We have opened our meeting, we have question-and-answer sessions and newsletters that go out on a regular basis to the whole community.”

 

District Vision

According to Superintendent Clint Keener the focus of the district is always the students.

“Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t understand that education is a product,” Keener said. “The product we’re producing is learning. The student takes what they learn and goes on to explore other opportunities.”

The strength of the school district is a direct result of the strength of the community, Keener said, and the community places a high value on education.

 

Finances

Treasurer Deborah Putnam said the district is running smoothly, thanks to passage of a 6.9-mill operating levy in November. Previous levies were passed in 2003 and 2006.

Bay receives 85 percent of funding through local property taxes, while the state provides 14 percent.

Expenditures for the district are divided among salaries and benefits, purchased services, and capital outlay. According to Putnam, 81.1 percent, or $23,476,342, is expended for salaries and benefits.

Purchased services account for 8.8 percent of the budget, or $2,542,063, and 3.8 percent, or $1,086,469, are spent on supplies. The remaining 6.5 percent of expenditures goes towards other capital outlay.

Although the district is in a good position financially, Putnam said, they could run out of a fund reserve by 2016 if they continue spending at the same rate.

 

Curriculum and instruction

Char Shryock, director of curriculum and instruction whose first day in Bay was Aug. 1, said she considers it a privilege to be a part of the Bay Village City School District.

Bay Village is part of the common core curriculum movement, a state-driven movement on a national level, aimed at consistent quality instruction of students.

States that agree to follow a common core curriculum will have the same set of standards in the core content areas of math, science, social studies, English and language arts.

Within each set of standards, each state is allowed to add 15 percent of their own material to individualize for their state.

“You have that consistency across the country, but you still have that individualization,” she said of common core curriculum.

Shryock said she meets with teachers throughout the district on a monthly basis to ensure that what they are teaching in the district will align with the the common core standards for Ohio.

The district’s goal is to ensure that students at all grade levels are receiving a consistent message. College and career readiness are emphasized to students, Shryock said, and the rigor and depth of the curriculum have been increased.

“In the past we tended to teach a lot of topics with just a little about each of those topics,” she said. “The new curriculum is focusing on teaching a lot about a little, giving the students the chance to really master concepts as they work their way through the K-12 system here at Bay Village.”

Middle school Principal Sean McAndrews said one of the main goals of the district is implementing the “Align, Assess and Achieve” program and curriculum.

The goal of this program is to implement a common vocabulary throughout the district based upon how teachers teach and how students learn.

“Unlike when all of us were in school, teachers want students to know what they’re going to be learning,” McAndrews said. “It’s not a big secret. Gone are the days of the pop quiz.”

Kevin Jakub, assistant principal of the middle school, said online programs like ProgressBook, and other school-home communications, allow teachers and parents to communicate more effectively than ever, which also boosts student performance.

 

Elementary enrichment programs

James McGlamery, principal of Normandy Elementary, and Josie Caputo, principal of Westerly Elementary, talked about enrichment programs at the elementary level.

Westerly Elementary has 369 students and serves grades 3-4, while Normandy has 570 students in grades K-2.

Caputo said enrichment opportunities are supported through multiple facets of the school day. Special ed programs, field trip opportunities and parent volunteers allow learning opportunities for all ability levels.

“Most often enrichment is supported throughout the school day through classroom enrichment, individual studies at the library and our gifted education programs,” she said.

Additionally, students can participate in summer programs, STEM programs and other activities supported through parent tuition.

Enrichment programs are important because all students have different needs and abilities, McGlamery said.

“All children are good at some things, but no child is good at everything,” he said. “We need to make sure that we have diversity in the offerings we provide.”

 

Meeting Standards

High school Principal Jason Martin focused on the Ohio Report Card, SAT, AP and ACT scores, which outline student performance at the high school level.

Bay Village was rated “excellent” on the Ohio Report Card last year, which means it exceeded 26 of 26 grade-level subject area test indicators. The district also had a performance index of 107.4 last year,and the state goal is 100, Martin said.

“This reflects a high portion of our students passing the test at the accelerated or advanced levels,” he said. “This achievement ranked our district at 28th in the state, and there are 609 districts in the state.”

Bay Village meets attendance standards set by the state with a rate of 96.3 percent, Martin said, with a graduation rate of 99.5 percent.

Bay High School encourages all students to take both the ACT and the SAT tests, Martin said, and students consistently score above state and national averages.

Martin said 209 students took AP tests in 2010-2011 and 84 percent scored at passing levels of 3,4 or 5, and 23 percent scored at the highest level of 5.

McAndrews said all the success the district achieves would make one think it would take a break.

“You’d think we would rest on our laurels, but that is simply not the case,” he said.

 

 

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