WAYNESFIELD — As a school district that has seemingly seen its share of dark clouds lately, a ray of sunshine came as welcome news.
Preliminary Ohio Graduation Test scores for the class of 2013 showed students met all indicators with double digit improvements in all categories.
“It shows plans that we have put into effect lately are working,” Superintendent Joanne Kerekes said. “The improvement ensures the strategies we have been working on.”
The Ohio Graduation Test (OGT) is the high school graduation examination given to sophomores in Ohio. Students must pass all five sections (reading, writing, mathematics, science and social studies) in order to graduate. Students have multiple chances to pass these sections and can still graduate without passing each using the alternative pathway.
In 2009, the Ohio Legislature passed an education reform bill eliminating the OGT in favor of a new assessment system. The development and transition to this new assessment system will take several years.
In 2009, the same class had registered scores of 63 in reading, 65 in math, 29 in social studies and 44 in science. A score of 82 was scored on tests administered in 2008 in writing. The 2011 scores included 90 in reading 83 in math, 90 in social studies, 75 in science and 92 in writing.
Kerekes credited everyone involved with the marked improvements.
“The teachers and administration are working hard,” Kerekes said. The parents are working with the students. Most of all, the students are working on what they need to do to pass the tests.”
Official final results will be available to the district July 1. However, Kerekes said that the preliminary results all point to the district moving in the right direction. The Ohio Achievement Assessments (OAA) for grades 3-8 will soon be available.
“I am confident that the OAA scores will be improved,” Kerekes said.
“All preliminary data is showing they will go up also.”
A representative of the New Hampshire Community Church addressed the board briefly about scheduling of school events on Maundy Thursday during the Easter season.
Maundy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles and is celebrated the Thursday before Easter. Kalen Turner, representing the church, said that events were scheduled during the school year.
“We would like to ask that you consider not scheduling anything on that day,” Turner said.
Kerekes told school board members that three events were scheduled on that day. School board members unanimously agreed that more would be done to make sure scholastic events were not scheduled on that day in the future.
School district resident Wayne Coder called two school administrative personnel to task during the meeting.
Coder questioned the viability of Elementary Principal Tim Pence’s licensure to be an administrator and the ability of Treasurer Doug Passet to handle payroll in a recent absence of the assistant treasurer.
“I would like to know where you are at (in getting an administrative license),” Coder said. “What can we do to speed up the process here.”
Pence told Coder that while he had not received his certification traditionally, that he had chosen to take the Alternative Licensing Pathway. This allows for certified teachers who wish to get administrative certification to do so over a three-year period.
“I can apply for it at the end of this year,” Pence said. “It is a three-year program. It is not a traditional license but I am currently under license to be doing what I am doing.”
Coder’s questions to Passet involved the hiring of two individuals temporarily in the school district recently. Two people were hired to fill in for the assistant treasurer after her husband had become ill, primarily to handle payroll. The school board hired the individuals when it was believed at the time that the assistant’s absence would be extended. Coder thought Passet should have covered the absence temporarily until the assistant treasurer came back.
“I want someone who can do everything,” Coder said. “I think it is time he learns the job.”
Passet admitted to not being trained in payroll.
“Job descriptions, pay schedules and responsibilities of the treasurer vary from district to district,” Passet said in his defense after the meeting. Board President Tom Brookhart defended the district’s decision to hire the temporary workers.
“We would do it all again the same way,” Brookhart said. “We initially believed that the assistant treasurer would be gone for an extended period of time. We didn’t want his (Passet’s) work to lack in other areas that we wanted him to focus on.”
The assistant treasurer returned after 4-5 weeks, which was earlier than board members expected. Coder felt that due to the short amount of time, Passet could have taken care of the duties until the assistant returned.