South Range principals offer improvement plans

BEAVER TOWNSHIP- The South Range Local school principals Monday night presented their Continuous Improvement Plans (CIP) being used for the 2012-2013 school year, which emphasize incorporating technology into the curriculum.

The principals, Steve Matos at the elementary, Dan Szolek at the middle school and Steve Rohan at the high school, presented their plans to the school board at its regular monthly meeting. Each plan centered around the common theme of

technology, particularly with the acquisition of 200 iPads at the beginning of the school year thanks to the South Range Local Schools Foundation.

According to Matos, one of the goals of his team’s CIP each year is increasing the amount of technology used by teachers and students and that this year the iPads have been used daily in the classrooms, helping the students become acquainted with a style of learning that will become more prevalent in the future. Szolek reported that his staff has received professional development training to incorporate different aspects of technology into their curriculum, while Rohan noted his teachers have also completed in-service training to better utilize the iPads.

Rohan added that end-of-course exams and graduation tests will eventually be offered online, so staff members need to figure out the best available source for students to take the tests, as well as prepare the students for the change.

Although each CIP mentioned technology, they also had other goals specific to their grade levels.

Elementary: Matos said elementary staff are working on teaching and learning, with a focus on the usual areas of reading and math, and added writing this year, requiring students to explain how they come to an answer. He said staff members from each grade are working together to develop standards and create improvement plans to keep students on track in anticipation of the Ohio Department of Education’s new Third Grade Guarantee, which requires students to perform at a certain level before advancing to the next grade.

Matos told the board that the elementary CIP’s goals also include increasing student intervention, with a binder developed that lays out various intervention plans for students that teachers can consult themselves when needed, as opposed to relying solely on intervention specialists; and encouraging student leadership skills by incorporating projects into curriculum that identify leadership skill sets in students and help build on them while developing the areas that are lagging.

Middle School: At the middle school level, Szolek said the focus is on the Value Added data of the ODE’s local report card, showing a year’s growth by meeting the academic needs of all learners. He said the school is seeking the involvement of county educational service consultants to help teachers differentiate their practices through training sessions.

He said another goal looks to promote a positive school culture which is imperative to meeting the educational goal since students are more likely to learn better in a positive environment. As part of the goal, the school has implemented a bully prevention program, as well as a program that reinforces positive behavior, he said.

Szolek also noted that the middle school staff is working together across grade levels and departments to develop plans to meet new core state standards.

High School: Rohan said the high school CIP includes nine goals, most of which are ongoing because they are a reflection on aspects of the local report card like attendance and graduation rates.

But similar to the elementary and middle school, he said this year the high school staff is working to align curriculum with changing standards, particularly lingering affects of the Ohio Graduation Test. He said teachers need to be able to offer instruction reflecting different standards since they are teaching students who may be still trying to pass a test that others no longer need to.

Rohan said the staff is developing curriculum maps for each department that reflect the new standards.

Kevin Howell can be reached at