Columbus Schools shows progress on monitoring report

Columbus City Schools Superintendent Gene Harris introduced the positive results of the Columbus City Schools (CCS) Monitoring Report at the Sept. 18 board meeting, and plans to continue that progress.

The report contained detailed data to reflect the district’s development by comparing the district’s accomplishments on state assessments from the 2005-06 school year to the 2006-07 school year within the district, and also compared to other urban school districts and to the state of Ohio’s performance standards.

The areas mentioned were considered the "core content areas," which were reading, mathematics, science social studies and writing.

The overall monitoring report results were very positive for Columbus, and the district made gains in the core content areas.

Harris said Columbus has designed methods of continuing to improve district success.

"We also provided our plans to further improve our student achievement in the coming year. So we already have plans in place and we will continue to implement those plans and some of them will be updated and changed," said Harris.

In the areas of reading and writing, Harris said vocabulary stimulation at home is a vital and positive influence on student’s success in these areas.

"A lot of children who do well on these tests, a lot of them are middle class. That’s because they’re getting a lot of vocabulary stimulation at home, they’re reading a lot, there’s reading materials at home. I’m not saying we can’t get it done, it’s just going to take us longer and when we know we have situations like that it means we have to have more fervent focused work," said Harris.

Harris outlined the "action plans" Columbus has to improve students’ achievements in each of the core content areas even further, such as professional development for teachers, curriculum review teams, test material evaluations and different styles of academic intervention for students. These interventions can include anything from individual tutoring, mentoring and small group instruction, among other things.

Harris noted that while the overall number of districts and schools dropped in the local report card ratings, CCS was one of the schools who made significant gains. This progress was recognized at both the state and city level.

"The Columbus City Council did provide a resolution of congratulations to CCS for the move from Academic Watch to Continuous Improvement," said Harris.

In other board news, the took the time to acknowledge outstanding teachers and students. One of those teachers honored was Carole Darlene Moyer for being selected as one of only five 2008 recipients of the Horace Mann Awards for Teaching Excellence.

Harris said Moyer is expected to receive a check for $10,000 at a National Education Association Foundation gala on Feb. 8, 2008 in Washington, D.C.

The board also took time to recognize some unique high school students who conducted and digitally taped oral history interviews that related to the residents and history of the Mt. Vernon area when they were middle school students at Monroe Middle School.  

These recordings have now been made part of the Ohio Historical Archives and the students managed to get historical markers placed at notable sites in the Mt. Vernon area through the support of the Ohio Historical Society.

"The adult Mt Vernon community members braved the winter weather last year to tell their stories to us; their insights and perspectives made the project come alive for us. We were involved not only for the purpose of learning about local history, but we saw the need to take ownership of our collective historical paths. It had made all of us feel like we are a special part of history, and I guess we are," said Keima Smith, now a high school student at Metro High School.

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