Wednesday, Jun 29, 2016
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Internal 'report card' focuses on 3 areas of concern for Eastwood

In the Eastwood Local School District, students aren't the only ones who earn grades.

The district itself also is graded twice a year by school board members striving for improvements in six areas.

Superintendent Brent Welker spent about 40 minutes talking about three - student achievement, facilities, and finances - at last week's school board meeting. His presentation was a follow-up to the district's first internal report card, which was released in February.

The last three focal points - transportation, communication, and customer satisfaction - will be discussed in February after results of a community poll are completed.

The Eastwood district needs to improve in social studies and in its programs for special-needs students, according to what officials gleaned from results of the latest student achievement tests administered by the Ohio Department of Education.

The district met 27 of the state's 30 indicators, but fell short of expectations in some areas.

"Overall, I think we were pretty pleased with how we performed academically this year, but there are some areas we need to address some concerns, particularly in social studies," Mr. Welker said. "Certainly we can take some good out of it, and take some actions to make some improvement."

He said the district's strategy is to examine data, worker closer with students, and do a better job of setting academic priorities.

"We've still got room for improvement, and we need to keep striving to be an excellent school district," school board member Roger Bostdorff said.

Regarding textbooks, Mr. Welker said the district will be adopting a new reading series for elementary students as planned. In addition, new social studies, science, and pre-algebra textbooks were purchased for eighth graders, and new science books were purchased for seventh graders.

With technology, the district has hired a technology director, upgraded the computer labs at several schools, installed a server so the main campus will be on one network, and purchased five SmartBoards for classrooms.

In addition, the district has budgeted $200,000 for technology upgrades to invest in new hardware and software to improve the ability of students to learn.

"We're in the process of major upgrades in technology," Mr. Welker said. "We need to have a good textbook replacement program and need to make sure technology programs work together to support student achievement."

The board has not made any decisions on the fate of school buildings.

"There's not a clear preference of which direction to take as far as facilities," Mr. Welker said. "That's a huge focus for us over the course of the next few months."

A task force assigned to identify maintenance needs is planning about 40 small-group meetings through November, as well as three or four larger town hall-type meetings.

"We won't be making any decisions until we listen to what the community is telling us," Mr. Bostdorff said.

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