In addition to the North Royalton School Board’s regular January meeting, the board conducted its annual organizational meeting and budget hearing. The organizational meeting accepts nominations and elects a school board president and vice president for a one-year term and establishes much of the structure in which the board functions within.
Dr. John Kelly received the nod for another year as school board president and Anne M. Reinkober was nominated and sworn in as the board’s vice president.
Kelly thanked the board members and the administrative team for their cooperation and efforts over the past year.
“For me, this past year was one of nervous apprehension taking on the role of board president in my first year on the board,” he said. “I am honored to again accept the role of president in 2013. I can assure you I do not take lightly the expression of confidence shown by the board and I pledge to work even harder to provide Mr. [Ed]Vittardi (superintendant) and the rest of the district effective leadership.”
Committing to fair and open discussion, Kelly applauded the board for the strides they had made as a team over the last year.
“In my opinion, this board has developed a process over the last year that is quite effective and something for all of us to be proud of. My goal in 2013 is to build on that foundation and provide an opportunity for even better discussion and decision making as we move ahead,” he said.
As the newly-elected president, Kelly nominated Reinkober to the position of vice president.
“Reinkober brings to the board a calm and reasoned approach to decision making that is a huge piece of the process that we follow. Her experience and analytical mind are invaluable,” said Kelly. “Personally, she has been an adviser, incredible resource, and many times a guardian angel to me over the past year.”
Treasurer Rich MacIntosch laid out some of the district’s budget concerns.
“We have experienced a net $28 million reduction in valuation following reappraisal which equals 2.6 percent of our total valuation,” MacIntosch said. “This will result in a revenue loss of $547,000.”
While the district stands to gain funds from casino revenue, the $95,000 the district will take in does not significantly offset the $3 million in state funding reductions the district has incurred over the last two years.
No school May 7
Superintendent Ed Vittardi informed the board that the district has scheduled a professional development day for the instructional staff on May 7.
“This day will be the culmination of work that has been ongoing in the district over the past two years. School will not be in session on this date for students,” he said.
The professional development is in response to a number of educational changes put into place by Ohio legislature and the Ohio Department of Education. These new initiatives include the adoption of the Common Core academic standards that are universal with a number of states, and reflect a more rigorous commitment to college and career readiness.
According to Director of Curriculum Bruce Bradley, other initiatives include aligning student data to instructional practice through the development of common assessments and the use of teacher teams to analyze student data and measure student growth. The district has been working on these initiatives over the past two years using half-day professional development days in November, early release days in September and March, and meetings during the school day and after school.
“This professional development day on May 7 also was chosen because it is Election Day and the district normally aligns its professional development in-service days on Election days. It also adds the benefit of avoiding disruption to the school day with polls being located in the buildings,” said Vittardi.
In addition to their monthly work and regular meetings, board members sit on several district committees. This month’s board meeting designated board members to the committees: Business Advisory Council (Kelly and Zindroski); City Recreation, Buildings and Grounds (Kelly and Langshaw); Curriculum and Instruction (Zindroski and Dolezal); Partnership for a healthy North Royalton (Reinkober); NR Educational Foundation (Dolezal); Policy (Langshaw and Kelly) and Transportation (Zindroski and Reinkober).
Curriculum and instruction
Heidi Dolezal, board member and curriculum and instruction committee liaison, reported that over the next several weeks, students with limited English proficiency will begin the process of taking a series of assessments called the Ohio Test of English Language Acquisition (OTELA). State and Federal law requires an annual assessment of all students in grades K-12 who have limited English proficiency.
The OTELA is based on the test item banks and scales from the English Language Development Assessment (ELDA) that was developed through the Council of Chief State School Officers. Ohio was one member of a multi-state collaborative effort to develop the field test of the ELDA. The testing consists of four domains: reading, writing, listening and speaking. Students in grades 3-12 respond to a number of multiple choice questions, writing prompts and speaking tasks. Students in grades K-2 are assessed by the test administrator who observes the students in a variety of settings.
English Language Learners are identified through a screening assessment and are provided specialized instruction by ELL teachers and the regular education classroom. Students must score a proficient level to be mainstreamed out of the ELL program. Students in K-2 must remain in the program, regardless of the score on the OTELA.
Dolezal also updated the board on events scheduled at the Cuyahoga Valley Career Center (CVCC) including dinner with Dr. Roebuck, Tuesday, Jan. 29 from 6-7 p.m. Parents of middle and high school students will have the opportunity to learn about CVCC programs offered to North Royalton students.
The CVCC will also host College Goal Sunday, Feb. 10 from 2 to 4 p.m. where parents can learn how to complete the FAFSA form for their student attending college in the fall of 2013.
A lunch and learn is scheduled at the CVCC, Thursday, Feb. 21 from noon to 1 p.m. Attendees will enjoy a free lunch and listen to a presentation by the Cleveland Clinic on how to cope with stress.
Students who are looking for summer employment will not want to miss the CVCC’s Student Job Fair, March, 7 from 3:30 to 6 p.m. The event is open to all students in the CVCC districts who wish to interview for part-time, summer and seasonal jobs.
Dolezal also congratulated the LPN Basic Nursing class who had a 100 percent pass rate.
“This is the first time for a 100 percent passage rate allowing students to move on to an advanced nursing curriculum,” said Dolezal.
Anne Reinkober, board member and transportation committee representative, reported that the transportation department has applied for a grant that would replace three aging buses. The department hopes to hear if the grant will be awarded to the district by the end of January.
The district’s bus drivers will collect non-perishable goods for the North Royalton Food Bank through their annual Stuff the Buss campaign, March 15-16.
Building and grounds
Kelly reported that Valley Vista Elementary School’s boiler replacement project is nearing completion. The North Royalton Middle School installed a new sump pump with a backup system that includes an alarm in an effort to prevent damage due to excessive water intrusion.
Dan Langshaw, board member and legislative liaison, cautioned about the state budget.
“The upcoming State Biennium Budget is something we will have to watch closely as it is bound to impact funding to our school district,” he said.
Langshaw expressed an interest in testifying before the General Assembly to ensure the concerns of the community are heard.
North Royalton School Board meetings are held in the North Royalton High School community room and are open to the public. The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 11 at 7 p.m.