The countdown to the first day of school has begun and with a little more than a week before students head into classrooms the Wellington Schools’ teachers and staff are preparing.
This year brings a lot of changes. Superintendent John Nolan and curriculum director Sally Roth said the district will be ready.
The Ohio Department of Education requires each district to organize teams to deal with the new Common Core curriculum.
Nolan said he’s not expecting an outstanding year assessment-wise but hopes the district will get better in coming years.
The Common Core is sweeping the country this fall and Nolan said assembling leadership teams will help the district steer away from pitfalls.
The teams will cover the district, buildings, and teacher needs. Each will work together in all schools to handle the changes on both an individual grade and district level.
It’s important for teachers to have a firm grasp on the upcoming changes so they can be confident when they walk into their classrooms, Roth said.
Roth is scheduling monthly meetings so teachers can be prepared for the assessments.
Some of those meetings will happen Wednesday mornings during the district-wide delayed start.
The board of education earlier this year opted to have all students report one hour later each Wednesday. That time will be used for teacher-based team development.
Buses will pick up at normal times. Students don’t have to go at the normal start time, but neither will they be barred from school buildings.
There will be no delay on the first day of school, which happens to fall on a Wednesday.
Nolan said he’s looking into having retired teachers and community members go in and help kids with their schoolwork and lead them in club-like activities that revolve around science, technology, engineering, and math.
“I’d love to find someone to come in and help kids with college scholarships and applications,” he said. “We have to use that time wisely.”
Nolan is also looking for communication to improve across the board.
He said he wants to reach every student in the district no matter where they are academically. Education is not a one-size-fits-all model.
“Everyone in that classroom has special needs,” he said.
Nolan is encouraging teachers to work around different learning styles.
The superintendent and other administrators also have to work in financial cutbacks throughout the year since the district faces a $2.2 million deficit by 2018.
At Tuesday’s board of education meeting, district legislators approved a number of cost-saving efforts.
They include paying parents whose students attend other schools rather than busing them and a new software for the district’s copy machines to track usage.
The district also entered into a maintenance agreement with Air Force One to provide maintenance services for the elementary and high school’s heating and cooling equipment. The services cost $19,000 but Nolan said the work will save the district from having to perform large and expensive repairs.
Westwood Elementary and Wellington High School will also have new carpeting and paint in some rooms.
Nolan said McCormick Middle School won’t get any costly revamps since a building is under construction.
Caitlyn Wasmundt may be reached at 440-647-3171 or on Twitter @LC_CaitW.