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Bond + Operational

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Cicero,

You are jumping to conclusions regarding my position. My whole point is that new buildings would be a waste of money if auditoriums weren't part of the plan.  While it would be nice to have new buildings, it would do more harm than good to have new buildings with no auditoriums, since that would mean drastic cuts to our outstanding music program.  In other words, if the new buildings are well thought-out and fully meet the students' needs, I will support them.  If the new buildings are poorly designed and will hinder students' learning, I will not support them.  That is why I am trying to find out from Paula what is included and what is not included in terms of what the state will help fund.

Here's a scenario for comparison - our family currently has a rather oldish mini-van.  It isn't the most efficient in terms of fuel, and it needs repairs from time to time due to its age.  A new vehicle would be more fuel-efficient and would be cheaper to maintain, so if someone offers to pay half of the cost for us to have a new vehicle, should we jump at the chance?  At first glance, the answer is yes, because we would be getting a great deal on a new vehicle, and it would be cheaper to operate due to its fuel efficiency, new parts, etc.  But what if the new vehicle that someone is willing to pay half of is a two-seater convertible - is it still a good deal?  No, because our 4-person family couldn't fit in it all at once, so to get anywhere we would have to make multiple trips.  In that case, we'd be better off with our run-down mini-van than with a brand-new two-seat convertible.

Likewise, if the brand new buildings would be poorly designed and not meet the students' needs and result in classes and activities being cut, then students would be better off with the run-down current buildings that allow them to keep the programs that they currently have.  But we don't know if this is the case until the board provides more information.

So I am waiting to hear back from Paula regarding what is covered in the bond - what features these new buildings will have - because it would be foolish of me to make up my mind without this vital piece of information. 

 

 

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"The exact design plans of the 2 campuses has yet to be created allowing for necessary input from parents and community for decisions."

GambierGal, what campus plan has been created? None.

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Mirth,

I'm not asking for the exact design plans, but basic vital information such as number of classrooms, whether or not there is an auditorium, maximum capacity of each campus, etc.  It shouldn't be hard for the board to provide such basic info.  It is in their best interest to do so if they want to garner enough votes to pass it.

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A few points about the comments:

1) The 15% over four years is correct, but from 2010-2014, the teachers were on a pay freeze.. so it is may be more accurate to say that there was a 15% jump over 8 years (less than 2% per year).   WWTA is not the Teamsters.  Trust me.  I know that a boost of 1% was given to get the teachers to agree to the PBL scheme where they had to work two unpaid days in the summer.  What is interesting is that the district (per board minutes) needs to hire a lot more teachers above Step 10 (which was supposed to be the maximum (maybe not by contract but certainly custom) that they are to pay teachers coming in from other district.).  They apparently have to pay a premium to attract the "better replacements" to take the place of those teachers that "weren't a good fit". 

2)  The actual number of students in music programs using the auditorium is nowhere near 90%.  In my 10 years there, I think it is closer to 30% of all students that are in band, orchestra, choir.  ALL students were required to take 1 credit in "Fine Arts" and that could be fulfilled through visual art classes as well.  A number of those students taking music classes may be double and triple counted.  I do agree with Gambier that the fine arts program is very good.. but.. in truth. ALL schools claim that their music programs are "award winning".   A football team's success can easily be verified by W-L records... which is something most people understand.

That said, WW has an excellent fine arts program and I am friends with a number of the current staff.  The role of fine arts can never be overstated. They are wonderful people that do great work.  BUT.. If folks are looking to pass a bond issue.. they may not want to make fine arts the centerpiece of the proposal.

3)  As for an auditorium (which is really the David Bell Performing Arts Center.. DBPAC), it is possible to keep the current one... but the problem there is that it needs (or needed at the time) a new roof.  A couple of years ago, we had a small lake in the orchestra pit.  

My current HS is going to be "new" ,but it is technically being called a renovation so that the auditorium can be saved since it, like at WW, is an asset that the community wants to protect.. even if the state won't help with any upgrades in that area.    Sigh.  We start tomorrow amidst all of the bulldozers and Earth movers.. for two years :)

I think and wonder what the GYM would look like might be a bigger concern for the residents of WW.   Seriously.  The gym (although it too is functional) is..eh.. well..  Let's just say that WW is not going to be able to make any money off of it anymore.


4)  Gambier and Cicero and Mad B all have good points on one part..and its a part that I know all too well.  WW community forums are a sad waste of time.  Pretty much everybody there is on the district's payroll.   

Edited by equalizer

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THE ONLY PRACTICAL ANSWER IS "NO"!!!!  JUST LIKE GREENHILLS AND FOREST PARK MERGED YEARS AGO, IT'S TIME TO MERGE ONCE AGAIN. THESE COMMUNITIES DO NOT HAVE THE MONEY!!! FOR GREENHILLS, WE JUST MIGHT END UP WITH A GOOD ELEMENTARY SCHOOL -- - AND THAT WE CAN WORK WITH!

IT AIN'T ROCKET SCIENCE...

The message is NOT accurate regarding the suggestion of merging school districts,  

Prior to the name change of our school district in 1992, our same school district existed and still exists as it did when I first attended kindergarten in 1966 was known as The Greenhills Forest Park City School District,. At that time, the only HS of the district was Greenhills HS and families who lived n FP attended this HS along with all the areas that are still within our school district boundaries.

With the rapid population growth of FP, a second HS was built in FP around 1972 for the same ONE school district. So our relatively compact community was the home of 2 separate High Schools within the SAME school district.  The decision to consolidate the 2 high schools within the same district was made.by the district and the renaming to Winton Woods City Schools was the result of this consolidation of the Greenhills High School and Forest Park High School - both schools within the same, common school district. So while the school district name changed, the legal entity did not. 

Merging schools buildings within a common jurisdiction is very common and under the domain of the district.  This is a vastly different circumstance than the thought of combining separately run, independent school systems each governed by its own community. So to casually remark that this idea is an option similar to the consolidation of 2 high schools within the commonly governed school district is extremely misleading.

Also glad you like the idea of an elementary school within Greenhills- under this new proposal, The WInton Woods School district positions within Greenhills on the current middle School location  PrK- 6th elementary school campus. For Greenhills residents, this affords great convenience and appeal for families. All day Preschool and Kindergarten are key areas to focus for a strong academic foundation. Additionally, if you want to keep your individual local income tax lower, the increase of employees who pay local payroll tax within GH increases and our school district who is the largest employer within our community of parks, churches and homes, this is a welcomed asset. 

PS-  Voting YES to support your schools and community is imperative ultimately saving millions of tax dollars while revitalizing our community with the infusion of $50 million for much needed infrastructure, This is money that works for you every day staying in your neighborhood delivering tremendous value. 

 

 

Edited by paula

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Also glad you like the idea of an elementary school within Greenhills- under this new proposal,

 

And when that doesn't work, they'll reconfigure once again!???!!!!!!?????  It doesn't end!  It never ends! It never will end!

  • Where is the analysis to merge with another district?
  • Where is the plan on how the money will be spent?

None of this makes any sense?  If I were to give you $1,000,000 toward the purchase of a New Home, would you put in the other $1,000,000?  No, because you probably don't need a $2,000,000 house and the biggest reason is that you couldn't afford that $1,000,000.  So, saying "I'll give you "X" amount" makes no sense if you're going to go into bankruptcy anyway.  Would you spend that $1,000,000 without a solid plan?  No, because it's common sense not to spend your money unless you know exactly what you're getting.  THE BOARD NEEDS TO REVIEW ALL OPTIONS, INCLUDING MERGING WITH ANOTHER DISTRICT.  VOTE NO -- FORCE THE BOARD TO LOOK AT ALL OPTIONS -- NOT JUST SPENDING OUR MONEY!!!

The problem with the schools is"leadership", or "lack of leadership".  Doing the same thing over and over again -- and expecting different results!  STOP! Identify and truly understand the real issues and work on solutions that address those issues.

Hint:  Demographics
Solution: Uplift the demographic in all three communities, specifically Forest Park and Greenhills
How: NOT by building structures that we can't afford and that makes our communities "UN-affordable" to a higher end demographic.

You want to do these kids a favor?  Strengthen their communities!   

Edited by Christine

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What value?  5 F's in the report card? ...And the neglect of F several years in the gifted category?  ...The gifted category which is a mandate under the State of Ohio and by Statue?

Who do you think you are kidding? Do you really think the residents/taxpayers of Greenhills are that stupid?  Why do you think that there are so many home schooled children in the district?  Why do you think that there are so many parents with vouchers (given by the state of Ohio) to send children to other schools?  Why do you think that many parents with children are not moving in?  Why do you think that many parents with children are moving out?  Do you really think this is a fad like the hippies during Woodstock?  Do you ever wonder why neighbors of many of the home schooled are graduates from Winton Woods but refuse to send their children there?  Several neighbors have told me why.  Perhaps communications is a must that you'll should consider if you really want change to happen. 

Not all Winton Woods fall into the category of "the happy few" who will succeed no matter where you place them.  You have to fight for the 85 % who are not blessed to have the benefit of parents who are involved to the max into their children's programs. 

Do you know what our statistics would be with all the students that go to Roger Bacon, St X, John Paul II, Country Day, Mt. Notre Dame, the home schooled, and even the ones who transferred to Princeton and Finneytown?  Do you realize the Brain Drain that has taken place over the last decade?  I know of a very bright young lady who after her Freshman year at Winton Woods her parents transferred her to Princeton and greeted me as I walked into the High School Building as a guest one day. 

It is about time that the New Board of Education and the Superintendent take the ship and turn it around before asking for more money. 

 

The Mad Botanist

Edited by Mad Botanist
Added on.

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EQ,

I understand there was a freeze on salaries etc.  But the freeze was on everybody.   My total increase in 4 years has been 6 %, and prior to that I was also in a freeze of salary. 

I wish you a great 16-17 school year.  I know you will have it.  Where ever you go you will be contributing and increasing the learning curve.

As of the new program at Winton Woods...time will tell, as it always does. 

The Mad Botanist

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While the freeze was indeed on everybody (agreed), it was widely known (at least among the teaching staff) that the administration at WW is in the upper 1/3 of administrator pay in similarly sized schools in Ohio while the teacher salary is in the bottom 1/3 of similarly sized schools in Ohio.  LOL  It wasn't until 2013 that we started reading board minutes and EMIS data. I have long said (on here) that nobody forced me to work for WW each and every year that I showed up.  But I think there is this perception that the teachers are greedy and they really aren't.

One can do their own comparisons, but that was the normalized total that we teachers calculated a few years ago as part of our due diligence for negotiations.  This was during a time when WW has a lot more veteran teachers than it does now.    Of course, we all left before we had the chance to make the point at the big oaken table. 

To be clear.  I DO NOT blame that on the administration at all for this disparity.  I blame this on WWTA.  Historically speaking, they fold more than the day shift at Springdale Cleaners. It was very frustrating (as one of the Bldg. Reps.) sitting in a room with other teachers that had such low expectations for pay/benefits/respect.  Cynically, I think that mentality bled over into their practice.  I play to win!  My colleagues often said "I'm just lucky I have a job".  Sigh. Could you imagine your attorney talking like that?  Or your surgeon?  Our stock broker?

 If the teachers don't want to fight for the money, might as well spend it on the brass.. and more people in that role ;)   Lately, it looks like they are sweetening the pot for new teachers entering the district.  I don't blame them.  It's exactly what I would do.   Even if they freeze pay for 5 years, those new teachers really won't feel the pinch since their raise is baked in.  

I don't know who runs WWTA nowadays, but our "deals" were not something that would impress Mr. Trump.  Believe me.

I just wanted to clarify the point about who is making the big bucks at WW.  It really isn't the teaching staff as much as it is the brass.  While I would make the case that they deserve to be taken care.. of.. eh.. so did I.  Sadly, my colleagues wouldn't fight.  If someone wants to do their own number crunching, they certainly should.  Some argue that the gap is higher, but I prefer to stick to a conservative estimate.

-------------------------------

The 2016/2017 is off to a great start.   Our leadership is working very hard to ensure that we are happy and have what we need.  

Edited by equalizer

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To our voters and my neighbors -  you have the choice to cast a vote that will strengthen our  community with a YES vote for much needed construction to replace aging, costly school buildings with  $49 million contributed ( nearly half) by the state to offset this local cost. You will save yourself valuable hard earned tax dollars and will also allow these dollars to work directly for your community. This revitalization offers more relief to your wallet as it will also reinvigorate your home value and with equal importance invest in the future of our country. I will tell you -this vote will strengthen your property value while delivering much needed funding new school buildings for a nominal .67 cents per day per $100,000 home valuation, 

The voices who are loudly spewing hatred and casting insults toward their neighbors while destroying the fabric of our community are extremely self absorbed with their own personal agendas. Do you ever wonder why?  I will tell the number of meetings I had to endure listening to those individuals who love to hear the sound of their own, overbearing voices while disrespecting the voices of other parents. I ask Mad Botanist this question to her who within a very sparsely attended student achievement meeting rudely ignored and interrupted the comments of a parent when she felt her thoughts were more important during this time by getting up to talk to an administrator.  The parent looked with disgust at the total disregard of one who professes to care about our students? 

I challenge the effectiveness and ability of any and all elected local officials who are NOT an advocate of our local public schools.   You have to ask yourself how is this action beneficial to me as a resident that my elected council member does not comprehend the importance of working to strengthen the education of the children of families to whom they profess to represent.  I will tell you - they are NOT working for a constructive solution but rather destructive ends. 

Edited by paula

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There is NO option to merge with other school districts so let's all be clear of the real choices and real solutions on the table,   And should we even indulge in this fantasy "solution" offered,  what would make us think a "foreign" district will invest to build a state of the art local school right in the heart of Greenhills? None, i tell you.    

I do agree with you the solution is strengthening OUR communities. We all live here and share our common victories and challenges.And one of the key factors will be investment in new buildings.  

I am proud to work for academic change and improvement for our children, Without this educational opportunity from our community,  many children and their futures could be lost. But also know, there are an abundant number of your neighbor's children and your own who are outperforming the highest school districts. I believe this opportunity can and will exist for all our families of our community, The work is to extend this opportunity to every child. This is hard, worthwhile work of humble citizens who want better for the next generation, 

Edited by paula

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Paula,

A few takeways from the canvassing:   Mad B's approach notwithstanding...

1)  So many members of the community (taxpayers, parents, students, staff) don't feel that they really are a valued part of the WW community.  One of the chief obligations of any school Supt. is to be a unifying force for all of the "stakeholders" in the district.  Mr. Smith is in his fourth year at the helm.  In my personal dealings with him (primarily through WWTA), he certainly is an impressive person.  BUT.. does he have the team or the mandate to take WW where it needs to go?  You can't assume (not that you do) that PBL is the solution.  It is a huge step in the right direction.

 I know Mr. Smith speaks to a lot of people.. but how enduring are the connections to the community .. not to just pass a bond issue.. but to have an enduring base of support?    YES, I know there is a support structure.. but how can it be improved?   He really needs to be out front and center during this campaign and not delegating that role to his subordinates.  The reason what I say that is because I think he has credibility that can resonate.   If your meetings and campaign is 85% run by the staff, I don't see how anything will ever pass.   What is Bishop Bobby doing these days?

2.) WW has endless community forums. Nobody can say that WW hides things from people.  But does anyone (aside from Cicero, Mad B, and about 12 others) really (again) feel like any of it matters?  I have read the comments on here for 8 years.  The  perception is that when WW has forums. the brass filibusters and throws chart after chart at them, gives half--- answers to the concerns, and moves on.   Part of it is the transiency, but part of it is a "don't let the door hit you" attitude that I experienced first hand when teachers left over the years.  They tried to send you a message in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013....   This is NOT your fault.   But if folks aren't honest about themselves they will never get over that hump. 

Your teaching staff knows to keep its mouth shut and stick to the hymnal.  The ones that do speak up are..eh.. encouraged to keep their mouths shut in the future.  While I don't suggest that teachers air dirty laundry, I know that (internally) the school really could benefit from much more HONEST communication inside the walls.  Don't blow off concerns as just whining and complaining from a bunch of lazy teachers.  (And yes, this is the perception that I got when I had to meet as the Bldg. Rep.)

I only point that out on Junedale because.. a lot of former teachers do interact with your former voters.  You have a second chance with the new teacher that were hired.  PLEASE get to know them  It really does P*ss me off that the Board Pres. is running for another office when this important issue is on the ballot because she made a commitment that people honored, and now she has.. in a sense.. moved on.  Don't think people don't notice.  NOT YOUR FAULT, but I'm sorry...  It has to be said. 

And again, from what I know, this is common issue with A LOT of schools in the U.S.  The administrative team becomes isolated and empowered over the years that they take their roles for granted.  I only bring this up because if you have teachers that have an emotional investment in the place, it will make a huge difference.   Yes, WW has SOME engaged teachers.. but I am friends with probably all of them at the HS.... DO NOT take them for granted.  I hate to use the word "nurture", but it may be benefit WW to develop talent that is inspired.. not just "serving out their days" because they have a continuing contract and no other district will pay them $78K. 

3) As I have said a million times.. I still care for WW or I won't post so damn much.  The place matters and the people matter.  The points you make are all valid, but (if I was doing a Frank Luntz focus group), are they resonating with that single mother living in FP who scratches and claws to send their kid to a private school (and I met one)?  Are your canvassers just a "bunch of white people" going into the I section of FP.  (And yes, that was brought up a few years ago.. but the fact is.. nobody from that section ever stepped up.

I think the world of you Paula.  You are one of the great ones that, sadly, they need more of.  I'm rooting for you.

Edited by equalizer

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Look around!  We are one of the only school districts who has not taken advantage of the great opportunity we have been given to build all new schools with only having to pay a little over half of the cost.  Do you believe our children deserve the best or not?  I have noticed that many of the nay sayers have no children in the district.  It is the same people over and over who criticize EVERYTHING the district does.  They love to be part of the problem but never part of the solution.  As a teacher who has been in the district for over 17 years, I cannot express how disheartening it is to read the comments on here.  

Make no mistake about it, Winton Woods is a great school district!  Many of you don't get to see the awesome things that go on day to day in EVERY building across the district.  I have read several comments about the administration and WWTA.  With the exception of the former WWTA President, relations between the teachers and administrators could not be any better.  Unless you work for the district, please stop making false claims!!  

Stop the blame game.  Stop the excuses. Stop the false narrative.  Do what is best for children and vote YES for the bond!!!

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Junedale Administrators:  There's a post that said "Christine said" on 8/11/2016 -- I didn't say that!  It was probably Paula -- looks like a possible glitch.

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Mirth,

I'm not asking for the exact design plans, but basic vital information such as number of classrooms, whether or not there is an auditorium, maximum capacity of each campus, etc.  It shouldn't be hard for the board to provide such basic info.  It is in their best interest to do so if they want to garner enough votes to pass it.

You should be asking for the exact plans.  We should all be asking for the exact plans.  Did you purchase your home without knowing what you were buying?  No.  Did you buy a home you couldn't afford?  No.  Why does common sense go out the door when people are spending someone else's money?  It doesn't make sense. 

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Christine,

Reading your post it reminded me of a famous line from the Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher " the problem with Communism and Socialism is that eventually we will run out of other's people's money".  And that is a very simple fact. 

On another subject.  First day of Princeton HS meetings the words were:  No ear buds at any time, anywhere with the exemption the cafeteria at lunch PERIOD."  That includes teachers in the classroom and hallway passing.  If you want them to listen to music while painting or doing a project it will be done from the smart board PERIOD.  At any time an administrator sees ear buds when passing by, it will be the teacher's problem for not following the mandate.  No texting etc. as well....pretty much same standards as Finneytown.

The Mad Botanist

 

 

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Considerations:

  • The answer may not be "yes" because the Board has not done their "due diligence" reviewing other options
  • New buildings do not always "enhance our community and your home value" -- just look at Potterhill Homes
  • You're struggling to find resources because the Board refuses to remove their blinders.  Career academies have funding, capital improvements for historical buildings have grants, special funding is available for minority demographics, etc.
  • You are correct, it's not up to the Board to hold back the vote.  It should be on the ballot because the communities should decide,  However, it is up to you to review all alternatives, it is up to you to provide an actual physical plan with cost analysis, it's up to you to provide all the facts.  The school district is in the business of merely tugging at the heart strings and calling people child haters and racist if they don't agree to spend $61,000,000.
  • You don't know if it's in our best interest because an analysis has not been completed against all others communities with regards to taxes and school ranking.  I personally have completed this analysis and it doesn't look good.  The Board can easily do it too.  There is a chance that the Board has already done a comparison, but they do not want to share the results with the public.  I completely understand that because I wouldn't want to share it either if I was trying to market for $61,000,000 in funding.
  • With regards to "economic development" -- show us the numbers.  Show us the increased tax revenue analysis, show us the new jobs.  Show us how these new jobs would differ when compared against the "alternatives" (but those would need to be identified first).
  • With regards to ROI (Return on Investment) -- I'd like to see those numbers too.  With every $1 we spend in taxes how much will the value of my home increase?  If every $1 spent generates $10 in home value, I should expect an immediate $5,000 value-add, $10,000 value add?  You talk about ROI so it's fair to show the taxpayers the analysis.
  • Yes, great things can be accomplished, but you "better your community" by changing the demographics.  How are these schools going to specifically uplift the demographic we currently experience?

 

 

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Warriors In Peril  =)  Good to have you in the ring again.  Hopefully, you can take on Cicero and company for a bit.  I have some things to do this week.  But.. change your handle.  "Warriors In Peril" isn't the name of someone that is going to promote the place.  I am glad that you are here though.

But to clarify a couple of things.

1)  The WWTA president that you speak of was.. bar none. the #1 teacher proponent of the Bond issue back in 2014-2015.  The current board president LOVED this guy.  I think we all have a lot of proof of that.  She actually addressed the WWTA asking for support for the bond issue in the fall of 2014... at his invitation.  The school board (again) thought very highly of him and frequently came to his room for NTN presentations.  Moroever, this guy really knew a lot of people in the community.

2) Part of the reason why the teachers hated him was because he backed this issue when so many teachers did not want to get involved.  I remember this very clearly, and I actually agreed with the faction of the WWTA (at that time) that did not want to donate money to CEPSI for the 2nd try later that year.   I did go out and dodge barking dogs and a a crazy guy over at the Luxury Apartments that wanted to whip one of our principals for slapping a flyer in his windshield.  Good times.   There were, to be fair, a number of teachers that actively tried to undermine him because their candidate lost  (The election was very close that year.. the HS ran up the score).  We can call him Donald Trump if we want.. but.. sigh.. quite a lot of backstabbers out there as well.

3) Part of the reason why the administration hated him was because he actually reviewed the law and the various codes of conduct which apply to teachers, he cited labor law, he did what you would think a WWTA president should be doing.  Remember, your HR director is an attorney... which is extremely rare for an attorney to be in an HR role.   The brass hated him for challenging things.  They hated him for correcting an administrator about Wiengarten Rights. Oh man. Ugly.  I think they were used to previous leaders who "stayed in their lane"... but how did that all work out for Winton Woods in terms of test scores?  You can't say that they hated him because of what he did as a teacher.  I have met very few teachers that are as accomplished.  Yeah, he had no problems getting community members to judge student presentations. (I did mention that the Board President loved him right?)

--------------------


Right now, you probably have a "sugar high" of new teachers that may get this bond issue passed. They need to.....  but they aren't going to stick around if they see better offers down the road.  Princeton and Colerain look pretty attractive if you want to teach in a similar school. 

 You know this.  I was surprised (when I was there) to see so many good teachers leave because they felt that they weren't being heard either by WWTA or the brass or both.   Not everyone is in a position where they are "stuck" because no other district will pay them Step 20, etc.  If folks could earn the same money and still go somewhere else, I wonder what the turnover would be.

The role right now is to retain teaching staff to gain consistency.  Consistency will be required to improve student performance.  Improved Student performance leads to community unity which is what you need to build your school.   Speeches won't do it.  Fads won't do it. PBL won't do it.  You have to have a real base of love and appreciation for who you have working there.   Things Gambier is doing will help.  Cicero and Mad B will help.  Christine shows up to these forums.

My suggestion would be for the current WWTA to take a poll on the pulse of the teaching staff.   Tease out the issues and fix them.   

Keep fighting the good fight WIP.  You are part of the solution going forward.  I am rooting for you and I really hope that WW goes back to the place that it was when I hired in.   I want you all to have the things you deserve... even if it means that some people need to reflect on their practices.. much the same way that I am expected to on a regular basis =)

Edited by equalizer

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EQ,

I marvel at the equanimity by which you rationalize with each one of us.  My hat goes off to you!  You DO give to Caesar's what is Caesar's, and you do not suppress the freedom of speech with wrong accusations just because some one does not goes along with your opinion.  As many hours as I have helped when called and continue to accept the call for help at Winton Woods, I understand what you say and you understand what I say.  I saw that many things that go on that we do not want it to go on.  We want WW to be a center to propagate knowledge which will grow, and we want this for ALL.  We want this for the home schooled whose parents are paying taxes into the WW School System, but not using it, for the gifted whose parents are paying taxes and paying for a private education, and for those who should have those options and don't. 

Maybe I misunderstood  you, but what I noticed is  that the Special Education is not moving ahead and neither is the gifted.  Both ends which by Statue must be revised.  That does not mean that I do not give a hoot about the middle.  I have always contended that the middle should move many steps up. 

That is why a lot of suggestions have been given and ignored.  Contrary of what you have read here, I have attended every Student Achievement Committee meeting from the time that Eric Thomas started it.  I have missed 2 when I was told to go to the hospital to be with my husband after Eric Thomas left. 

The voices here are not screaming hatred but frustration due to being ignored.  Public Elected Officials are trying to connect with the Board of Education but there is no conversation between them.  They have continuously asked but were ignored.  Questions were officially sent, yet no response.

EQ, I am still here and trying to do what is the right thing to do.  I am so glad that you are also providing some information from the Union side since that is a part which does not involve me in any way.

Hope you have a great first week!

Most sincerely,

The Mad Botanist

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Posted · Report post

There seems to be a sentiment by some that just because we are critical of the Winton Woods System, that I and others are against public education.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The late Senator Taft once said that Public Education is the great equalizer.  I agree with this.

Unfortunately it fails its function when the system is dysfunctional as the state scores show for the Winton Woods System. Three parties are responsible for this, the Board of Education, the Administration and the Teachers. There is obviously is no adequate cooperation among all three.

 

Cicero

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Thank you for the kind words MB.

Special Ed. used to be a strength of WW.  However, over the last three years, they lost a LOT of that staff too.  We have always had Special Ed. turnover at the HS.  The year I left they lost 7 (one left in middle of the year) out of maybe 14-16 total. Three had 10 years of experience each.  This year they lost another 4 (one retired).   So.. at the HS, you lost about 1/2 of your staff in just the last 2 years.  Back in 2012, 2013.. I would put the Special Ed. staff up against any in the city.   It was told to me that (at one time) WW Special Ed. dept was one of the strongest in Hamilton County... if you can believe that.

They say that turnover is a fact of life in city schools. I get it.  It isn't all WW's fault.  

 A couple of the reasons were because teachers wanted to teach regular ed. and (the year before) two went into admin/coaching.   BUT.. it was Anthony Smith himself that claimed that he only lost 4 teachers (aside from retirements) in his years at Taft.  I was there when he said it.   Special Ed. is a critical piece by which the school will be judged.  This is one dept. that really could benefit from community discussion... particularly since that Director is leaving at the end of the year.. after having that job for (I'm guessing) 15+ years.   How do you properly support teachers who are teaching the most challenging students?  I know we focus a lot on gifted here.. but students at the low end of the academic spectrum are really the ones that need some attention.  Tutoring is just one piece of a huge puzzle.

 

 

 

Edited by equalizer

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EQ,

Tutoring is just one piece but an important piece.  I have proposed different possibilities of tutoring and until now every idea proposed was responded with the "No we can't"  answer.  Back then when you had it on Saturdays it was successful, but then stopped.  I believe that Dr. Nasbe was still there.  I wish some one would of continued to run with that one.  I sure tried and still trying and still nothing.  There are several models I favor if the Saturday 8 to 12 was not popular, but I agree with you it is an important component yet ignored by the powers to be.

The Mad Botanist

 

 

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We had Saturday tutoring in AGS for the first year.  One of the early requirements was that if you had a "D" or lower in two or more subjects, you had to attend the Saturday tutoring since knowing what you were doing was important to advance in the AGS program. 

They cut the tutoring piece the second year.  No real explanation. I think it was money.

WW's approach has been to increase the amount of scrutiny on the teachers through expanding the administrative ranks.  The district hired (over the last 3 years) a number of "coaches" (which are classified as administrators and not part of the bargaining unit).. but my experience was that the staff largely distrusted their influence.  There was a perception that they were reporting back to the administration on the teacher's sin without consulting the teacher.  If they did consult the teacher, it was often viewed as confrontational and.. almost.. like a disciplinary hearing.  You have to remember that some of our teachers actually teach their subject at the college level.  Just because someone has a higher "rank" does not mean that they are intellectually superior... unless we are going to apply the old Steel Mill "Do as your told" approach.   

This was a huge source of rancor during my final year there which drew the attention of the association.  Trust Trust Trust.  No, you don't have to get the teacher's permission to do much of anything.. but 21st century organizational management 101 is not based on the Andrew Carnegie principle of beating your people into submission with a 21st century version of the Pinkertons.

Maybe this has improved over the past year, but I know that there was a lot of angst among veteran teachers over a model that we had no faith in and even less influence over.  Bear in mind, that teachers have a rating that is stamped on their forehead each and every year.  The coaches (and most upper level administration) do not.

Using coaches is nothing new.  Some schools do this.. but their role is clearly defined as one to help the teacher and their counsel doesn't include reporting to the administration.  Sometimes that teacher is actually part of the teacher's association.  My teacher leader (at my new school) observed everyone in our department last year and sent me an email with the findings on my classroom.  I appreciated it since I wanted to do better as a teacher. 

Teachers love thoughtful, non-threatening feed back... if they are any good. I love the challenge.  BUT.. again.. who the hell wants to be cussed out by someone that they don't know over things that they don't really understand in the first place?  It was bad enough being given teaching advice by people that never did the job themselves.. let alone an outsider that doesn't even know you. 

Now, you have a lot of teachers with less than 5 years in the district.  I want to say that it is well over 1/2.  I guess you can do whatever you want with teachers that are new to the profession, but at some point, you have got to trust them and back them up.  I only point this out because I think academics would improve if your staff had that sense of trust in people being paid to "help" them.  The troublemaking veterans aren't your problem anymore =)  WW spends a lot of money on professional staff to supervise the operation.  Are they getting a good return on the money?

I am being told that people believe that the brass finally "gets it" this year.  I really hope so. I am hearing good things.. but I really hope I keep hearing good things 2, 6, 12 months down the road.  Organizational management is not a thing you do once or twice a year.  A lot of young people have their careers riding on good leadership.   Again, in any discussion about academics.. you MUST address this piece.  You can tutor, invest in PD, do PBL,   arrange pep rallies, do whatever.. but if you are ignoring the professional needs of your staff.. you really are building a mansion on quicksand... and the taxpayer will be stuck with the bill for the bricks, mortar, labor, and blueprints.  

Edited by equalizer

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EQ,

Yes, it was Saturday for the first year of AGS.  Yes, I was there.  No, I did not get paid.  I did it because Mr. Jones asked.  No, I do not think it was a question of money.  I think it was a question of PR.   No, last year the situation with the coaches did not change...and in front of me a male student called a coach a B and got away with it.  Correct, Administration does not get an evaluation as the teachers do.  Perhaps they function on the Good Old Boy's Club model.  If the BRASS gets it this year...better late than never...as of last year they did not get it, they were clueless.  Maybe it is a 21st century miracle.  Yes, about the quicksand, you are already fighting to get out...and yes the taxpayer is always stuck with the bill.

I wish you could see how Princeton operates such a tight ship.  All administrators on board the whole day.  Side by side with security at every hallway.  Princeton do not allow backpacks, purses, satchels.  Policy for classroom is on a wall in every classroom.  Teachers just have to point to the wall.  Administration backs the teachers. 

Student attendance last year was 93%.  Teacher attendance last year was 95%.  Aiming this school year for teachers: 97%.

The Mad Botanist

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Mad Botanist,

Just curious - why no backpacks, purses, or satchels at Princeton?  I'd have to hear more to make a judgement on that, but at first glance, I think that policy is detrimental to the kids.  My younger child said that last year they had to leave their backpacks in their lockers - not allowed to carry them in school from class to class - and his back hurt on some days when he had to carry a stack of books in front of him rather than in a backpack which is ergonomically better.  Also, my daughter would be mortified if she didn't have a purse or bag to put certain feminine products in and instead had to carry them loose.  What's the purpose of banning things that would help the students carry their items?

I do agree with previous statements that you have made that cell phone use should be banned in the classroom.  It is a cop out to say the students need the phones for "technology use" - that's why they are provided Chromebooks and laptops.  My kids have said that some students use their cell phones for non-school activities constantly in the classroom (for example, they say they are "researching" when they are actually watching youtube videos, playing games, or texting friends) and that it's a big distraction for other students who are actually trying to learn.

It's interesting what you say about Princeton administrators being "on board the whole day.  Side by side with security at every hallway" because my daughter has remarked more than once that she doesn't understand why the high school administrators don't man all the entrances at the start of the school day to catch dress code infractions as the students arrive rather than expecting teachers to lose instructional time in dealing with dress code infractions.  I agree with her that dress code regulation and enforcement is a responsibility of the administration, not the teaching staff.

You mention attendance statistics at Princeton - I have no reference point to know how those compare to Winton Woods.  Could you please also provide Winton Woods' attendance statistics?

 

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