Superintendent’s Message – December 2013
As we approach the upcoming holiday season, I’d like to pause for a moment and thank the Wayne Trace faculty & staff and the families in our community for making student-learning the highest priority in our district. We must all remember that what takes place during the regular school day is the most important part of the school experience. We will continue to have high academic expectations for all students, and family support is critical for these expectations to be met.
Speaking of family support, thank you to all family members who attended the recent parent/teacher conferences held at all three school buildings. Remember, you may set up a conference with your child(ren)’s teachers at any time, not just during parent/teacher conferences. As I’ve stated many times, educating a child is a joint endeavor between the school and home.
In academic news, our Race to the Top transformation team continues to emphasize our third goal, the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System, which has gone into effect this school year. We’re also working diligently to provide training for our teachers on student learning outcomes and academic content standards. As stated before, the manner in which Ohio students are to be tested is changing drastically in the 2014-2015 school year, and we continue to stay ahead of the curve by introducing the new standards to both the teachers and students. The Ohio Department of Education is raising the bar, and student success on state-mandated tests may see a sudden decline across the state of Ohio. For example, in the state of Kentucky the state-wide passage rate on state-mandated tests went from 80% in 2010-2011 (with the old system) to 36% in 2011-2012 (with the new system). Ohio has adopted the same test that Kentucky is currently using. Obviously, we will work very hard to prevent such a drastic decline in our students’ performances, but the tests are clearly going to be more difficult, forcing all Ohio school districts to expect more from their students in upcoming years.
In other academic news, we extend much appreciation to our local farming community for nominating our JH/HS for the Monsanto Grant, a grant given to schools with rich farming traditions. This exclusive grant, totally $25,000 this school year, has allowed us to further upgrade our technology department by adding several more lap tops for use by our students. We now live in a world where a great deal of learning and daily-life revolve around technology and the Internet, so the addition of more computers is greatly appreciated by staff and students alike at Wayne Trace JH/HS.
Turning to school transportation, we are approaching the time of year where our hazardous weather situations are likely to turn from fog to snow and ice. When it comes to making decisions about whether to delay or cancel school, the good news is that snow and ice seem to be a little more consistent and predictable than what fog is. Although bad winter weather may set in after buses are out, this is less-likely to happen than with fog. With that said, please demand that your student-drivers slow down and use caution during the winter season. Likewise, we will continue to use common sense when calling school delays and cancellations with the safety of our students of utmost importance.
Congratulations go out to Miss Sharon Spinner, Mrs. Joni Wenninger, Mrs. Judy Snook and the entire performing and visual arts departments for the outstanding Fine Arts Festival held at the JH/HS on November 9. Countless hours of behind-the-scenes work goes into making such an event a success, and we’d like to thank the teachers and the Wayne Trace students for their work. We’d also like to express our gratitude to everyone who attended the festival and for their support of our performing and visual arts departments.
Thanks also go out to the staff members who organized this year’s Veterans’ Day assemblies at each school building and to the Veterans in our community who attended one of the assemblies. From everyone at Wayne Trace Local Schools, thank you for your service to our great nation.
With the approaching Christmas season, Wayne Trace student organizations will be sponsoring various food, clothing, and gift drives. If you are able, please consider helping those less fortunate than you are. Helping others is the real gift of life.
As always, if you have questions or concerns about your child’s educational experience at Wayne Trace, feel free to contact your building principal or superintendent.
Stephen Arnold, Superintendent