By Rick Palsgrove
The Groveport Madison Board of Education approved an approximately $7 million, five year student achievement plan designed to address the academic needs of students at all grade levels.
“As promised during the last levy campaign, additional funding is being used to provide the additional support and resources necessary to help all of our students reach their maximum potential at every grade level,” said Superintendent Bruce Hoover. “It fulfills our commitment to the community to get on the right academic track.”
Added Board President Nathan Slonaker, “This represents our promise to the community. We’ve had to cut and gut programs for years. Now we’re in a position to bring things back. We could have brought back the same programs, but the administration has done a good job of addressing our needs and building something stronger than what we had before. This will help us turn the corner academically.”
Money to fund the plan comes from the levy district voters approved last May.
“This is an investment of a little more than $7 million over four years aimed at school improvement efforts across the district,” said Hoover. “The plan also enables the district to maintain its pledge of having a $3 million carryover at the end of 2017 as well as keeping its pledge not to go back to the voters with a levy request for five years.”
“We’re definitely in good shape to handle this financially,” said board member Libby Gray.
The plan calls for the hiring of 28 additional classroom positions including: 13 teaching positions at the high school for the Pathways program, three additional teachers for the middle school math acceleration program, two additional teachers for the gifted program, one gifted consultant, two elementary teachers, two additional school improvement coordinators (there are eight now and this would put one in each building), three for response to intervention, one for the early learning initiative, and one social service coordinator.
About the student achievement plan
The plan’s goals are: to make college affordable and accessible for students, to become better partners with teachers to increase student achievement, and to strengthen the community by developing educational results to attract and retain families to the area.
The plan includes 10 new programs:
•Early Learning Initiative – This aims at helping preschool children develop the basic skills needed to enter kindergarten at or above reading levels necessary for long term academic success. It offers parents tools and training to help their kids and includes a digital preschool option.
•Expand K-5 Intervention Services – This program seeks to decrease the number of students in special education intervention by providing additional reading and special education instruction.
•Improve Core Instruction – This program reorganizes and refocuses the school improvement office. It provides teachers and principals with additional training and support to help increase student achievement in areas where students are below comparable district and state levels.
•Middle School Math Acceleration – The program seeks to improve algebra readiness by grade seven.
•Expand Gifted Instruction – This offers support for the highest achievers by providing gifted education programs for grades 3-12. The goal is to engage students in learning by providing more rigorous content to challenge them to reach their full potential in and out of the classroom.
•College Credit Plus – This is geared to expand college opportunities for students.
•Technology Integration – The plan is to have computers available to each student. Hoover said the district is on a three year trend “to get to where we need to be.”
•Expand Middle School Athletics – This expands middle school sports by adding seventh and eighth grade volleyball and seventh and eighth grade boys and girls basketball teams at each of the three middle schools instead of fielding one combined middle school team for these sports as is being done now. District officials believe this will help increase student and parental involvement and achievement.
•High School Pathways – The goal is to increase student opportunities for technical and career development.
•Social Service Support – Partnering with ADAMH, this program offers mental health support for families and students to improve student success.
“These programs put the support right at the school building level and increases the accountability, as well as the support and training, for school improvement,” said Hoover.