Miami Trace Local Schools’ officials shared the district’s strengths as well as their plan for the future during the “State of the District” presentation on Monday at Miami Trace High School.
The event began with a presentation from the administration of the current and upcoming plans for the students. Starting off the presentation was Miami Trace Superintendent David Lewis, who welcomed those in attendance and explained the State of the District. After reciting the district’s mission statement, Lewis discussed the current strategic plan and how it will look going forward.
Among the strategies in the current plan, Lewis discussed how even though they have one of the largest districts in terms of geographical size, it has been their goal to create an environment that encourages a “sense of community and pride in all that we do.”
The second strategy is ensuring the district meets the needs of all of the students by expanding curriculum, continuum of offerings and placements for students with disabilities, gifted students and high achievers. This has led to such decisions as opening the Miami Trace Learning Center, which serves the district as a behavior unit and alternative school for the district, and creating opportunities for students with disabilities to participate in elective course offerings such as: vocal music, visual arts, and career technical courses.
Another important aspect for the district is equipping the students with “the necessary tools to be successful in a global society.” This effort has been assisted by instituting a one-to-one initiative in which all students have their own device to work with and students at the high school even use theirs at home for assignments. Another skill the district wanted to prepare students with is managing social behaviors. Miami Trace developed a checklist of expected social behaviors that was shared with all staff at the opening day meeting and stressed the importance to them of infusing these behaviors within daily curriculum and time with students.
The next strategy Lewis mentioned was creating an environment that fosters open communication with all stakeholders. This means the district has worked to ensure that anyone who has a tie to the schools can see all aspects of the district. With this in mind, the district adopted “Hootsuite,” which allows them to manage all social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using one platform and is redesigning the district website. Additionally, principals use parent email lists regularly to communicate information related to their building.
Next, the district strives to provide a safe and supportive learning environment for staff and students. This directly led to the completion of the high school and the culmination of years of efforts to make Miami Trace one large, modern district. This also helped in the development and implementation of a comprehensive employee recruitment, professional development, compensation, evaluation, and retention plan designed to attract and retain the highest quality staff members. In this vein, administrators attend several yearly recruitment fairs and also have exit surveys completed by staff members leaving the district.
“We really have such a great staff who are dedicated to supporting our students,” Lewis said. “Without the work of everyone involved we would not be as successful as we have been over the years. From great administrators who work tirelessly, to the transportation department ensuring the kids are here on time, to the food service department keeping them well-fed, every person has worked hard to make this district as great as it is.”
Finally in the current strategic plan, the district is dedicated to remaining current with educational initiatives, trends and best practices. Using surveys, the district has worked to determine the needs related to such initiatives and practices and provide high quality, job-embedded professional development opportunities for staff. From a district-wide transition to Google Education (G-Suite, a program educators can use to create opportunities for learning, streamline administrative tasks, and challenge their students to think critically—all without disrupting current work-flow) to “Behavioral Intervention Training,” the district continues to stay with good trends in educational practices.
Lewis then finished by explaining that with a committee (comprised of staff, students, administrators, parents, business leaders, board members and others), they will determine new goals, action steps and more to provide the district with a road map from July 2020 to June of 2025, about six months earlier than planned due to such success with the last five year strategy. Meetings for this new committee will begin in March of this year and the new plan will align with the Ohio Department of Education’s (ODE) Improvement Process or OIP.
The OIP — according to the ODE website — when viewed as an organizational strategy rather than an exercise in compliance, gives districts a template through which focused and intentional action can take place. The process brings educators together through collaborative team structures to learn from each other, and it facilitates communication and decision-making between and across levels of the system.
Stay with the Record-Herald for more coverage of the Miami Trace State of the District that will include presentations from many administrators and departments across the district.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy.