WCHCS talks ‘state of the district’


At Monday’s Washington Court House City Schools (WCHCS) Board of Education meeting, a “state of the district” address was given, and several students were honored for their testing performances.

During his presentation at Liberty Hall, WCHCS Superintendent Dr. Tom Bailey spoke about some of the stats and figures regarding the district. According to Bailey, there are currently 2,071 students enrolled in the district. The high school has 691, the middle school 454, Belle Aire has 450, and Cherry Hill has 476 students. Bailey then spoke about revenue per pupil.

“Right now, our revenue per pupil, and this is out of 607 school districts in the state of Ohio, we ranked 583 in revenue per pupil. That means that we bring in one of the lowest amounts of revenue of any district in the state of Ohio. So, the district that brings the most revenue in per pupil would be ranked number one, and the district that brings in the least amount per pupil is 607. That’s based upon taxes. So, we are a good bang for your buck, if you want to say, in what we offer for what we collect. Median income per pupil we are 546. So, looking at the income of all the residents of the district, you add that up and divide it by the number of pupils we are 546 out of 607 districts, and likewise assessed valuation per pupil we are 561st. This means that if you were to sell all the land that’s in the school district and come up with that price, what it’s valued at, and divide it by the number of students, we are 561st. Right now, we stand at about 57% of our students are economically disadvantaged, based upon free and reduced lunch forms.”

Bailey then spent some time discussing the cultural blueprint of the district and the different phases within the blueprint.

State Report Card

The Ohio Department of Education uses data reported by districts and schools to analyze performance in several categories, according to Ohio’s education website. The types of data are collected into six components: Achievement, Progress, Early Literacy, Gap Closing, Graduation, and College, Career, Workforce and Military Readiness. With the exception of the College, Career, Workforce and Military Readiness Component, the components receive 1-5-star ratings based on performance. This helps give Ohio parents and schools a snapshot of the quality of education being provided to students.

A five star rating in a single category means that the district significantly exceeds state standards in academic achievement. A four star rating means that the district exceeds state standards in academic achievement. Three stars means that the district meets state standards in academic achievement, two stars means that the district needs support to meet state standards in academic achievement, and one star means that the district needs significant support to meet state standards in academic achievement.

WCHCS received 13 stars overall on the report card. The district received three stars for achievement, one star for progress, three stars for gap closing, three stars for early literacy, and three stars for graduation rate.

Dr. Bailey then gave an update on the progress of the Historic Washington Auditorium project.

“The old middle school obviously has been torn down if you have not been over there. It’s now a big hole in the ground, but soon it will be filled in. We will have parking for upwards of 100 cars over there. We are working on closing the back end and making it look nice. We’re going to be renovating the six classrooms that are next to the auditorium; we have to include an additional set of egress stairs there. A grant is going to be paying for that and we’ll be getting some new front doors, which the grants will be paying for that. We’re getting some HVAC over there, which there’s no heating or air conditioning over there in those classrooms. A grant is paying for that. So, we are doing a few things that are going to be coming out of the general fund but for the most part, almost all the renovations over there are coming from federal grant or state grants. So, we’re really pleased with that. Once we get this project done, hopefully by the summer, the only thing left on the property that we’ll have to do is then the renovation of the auditorium itself.”

Diana Wayne and Stacy Forby then came up to speak about curriculum, followed by Shannon Caplinger who spoke about special education. Dr. Bailey came back up and shared some more numbers and statistics with those in attendance.

According to Bailey, WCHCS currently has 100 students in the district who are homeless. Five live in a hotel or motel, four live in a homeless or transitional shelter, and there are 91 who are housing with others and do not have a home of their own. Sixty of the homeless students are actively being mentored by 47 employees in the school district. There are currently 12 students in the district who are English learners, meaning English is not their primary language. Three of those students do not speak any English at all. These 12 students receive a minimum of 45 minutes per week of tutoring. WCHCS also has 47 students who attend school in the district who are in foster care.

Individual school updates

Each building administration team was called up to the stage, beginning with Cherry Hill, to share a presentation with those in attendance.

Cherry Hill administrators Craig Maddux and Megan Anderson spoke about the school’s mission statement, PBIS system, and social and emotional learning. Anderson spoke about the Cherry Hill culture.

“Our culture is established from the time teachers are new in our building. We introduce them through a staff email and then our annual staff retreat. From our one-to-one family orientations to rolling out the red carpet on the first day. For our students, our kid friendly environment is a welcoming culture where every child can and will succeed both academically and behaviorally through a PBIS system. Our culture is not only a student first mentality, but also a family first framework in how we partner with PTO and how our teachers are effectively communicating daily and weekly with families through our PBIS app and online newsletter.”

Belle Aire principal Brian Cartwright spoke about PBIS points and the perks that students can earn, and then spoke about the Ohio report card that Belle Aire received.

“We are above the state average in third, fourth and fifth grade ELA. We are above the state average and third, fourth and fifth grade math. In gap closing we had five out of five stars. So, we significantly exceeded the state standards in closing educational gaps. Achievement, we were three out of five stars. We met the state standards in progress, we were three out of five stars, and we met student growth. We are proud of this, but we’re not going to stay excited about it too long because we want to continue to grow. Our big thing is how do you go from good to great, and that’s one thing we want to work on.”

Washington Middle School administrators Eric Wayne and Brady Streitenberger highlighted some new things going on in the building. This included grade checks every Monday for all students, Wednesday morning reading time — where all students are to put away electronics and read for 30 minutes — and Naviance on Friday mornings. Streitenberger explained Naviance to the audience.

“Naviance is a career and college readiness tool. It also ties into some social emotional learning for our kids. Students complete weekly lessons, and then they’re rewarded with PBIS points. Some of the paths that they’ve already been working on are how to build self-esteem, different career paths, how to make responsible choices, and it’s all tiered and developmentally appropriate.”

Streitenberger and Wayne also discussed some clubs that students can take part in at WMS, and talked about Hope Squad, a peer to peer suicide prevention program.

Washington High School administrator Jen Miller spoke next about building a seamless transition for students from WMS to WHS. She spoke about the Hope Squad at the high school, and a program called “Bring Change 2 Mind”, a mental health and anxiety awareness program that was started by Ms. Dye. Miller talked about PBIS and how the high school is trying to implement these positive behavior intervention supports.

“I’m going to be honest with you, the high school isn’t where we should be or need to be. I looked back at the feedback from last year as far as areas that we needed to grow at the high school. With that, we created and really revamped our committee for PBIS. The committee meets every Friday. We are really reinforcing the expectations of staff and students in different areas within the school, whether that be the classroom, the cafeteria, the bus, or the hallways. We are working collaboratively with the middle school, trying to bridge that gap to make things similar and a smooth transition between the two buildings. The committee right now includes staff, students and parents. Once we get to where we need to be on PBIS we will back off to monthly, but right now we are having weekly meetings for that.”

Athletic director Greg Phipps was next to speak. He talked about the increase of athletic involvement from last fall to this fall. According to Phipps, approximately 20 more middle school students competed in a fall sport and 15 more high school students competed in a fall sport. He also shared the purpose of Blue Lion athletics.

“Our athletic program provides student-athletes the opportunity to become men and women of empathy and integrity who will lead, be responsible, and change the world for the good. Our goal is to win on the playing field and most of all, win in life. The key is not the will to win. Everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important. We are preparing them to get ready when they play on the field, but also preparing them for life in general.”

Students honored

Select students who earned perfect scores on their 2022 Ohio state tests were honored. Those students were Arrington Medder, Alli Moore, Hannah Preston, Luke Matson, Avery Parsley, Emmersyn Frederick, Sophia Rivera, Lucas Bailey, Benjamin Johnson, Champ Walters, Alessandra Racine, Garret Creamer, Hayden Lester, and Tyson Parsley.

The Washington Court House City School District is set to hold its next school board meeting on Monday, Dec. 12.

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