Medina City Schools Continues to Move Forward
As the 2019-2020 school year approaches, Superintendent Aaron Sable discussed during the Monday, June 24 regular meeting of the Board of Education several proposed administrative and personnel changes in an effort to continue to move the District forward not only in the coming school year but for years to come.
The central office administrative team has spent the last couple of weeks reviewing and analyzing the progress of the current 5-year Strategic Plan to ensure goals established are being met in a fiscally responsible manner. The plan, which was finalized in June 2017, included a budget in the five-year forecast to make certain the financial means are in place to meet the goals set forth in the plan. This was the major determining factor when setting the amount of the levy passed in May 2018. “Not only is the District making great progress on the goals set forth in the plan but we are doing it under budget,” said Superintendent Aaron Sable. For more details regarding the progress with the Strategic Plan please click this link to view the 2018-2019 update. You may also view the final Community Chat held on June 11 on the District’s YouTube Channel, Medina City Schools Bee TV.
In an effort to better serve our students and provide additional support to staff, some of the funds will be redirected toward initiatives outside of the Strategic Plan. “It is my philosophy that fiscal responsibility within a school district is not just pinching pennies and saving dollars. It is utilizing our financial resources in a way that best serves our students as outlined by our community’s expectations. Our community expects us to utilize their tax dollars to provide the best academics for students in a responsible manner, explained Sable. The following areas will be impacted through these new initiatives; curriculum and instruction, middle school, special education, and athletics.
Upon entering the district in 2016, Sable’s goal was to ensure there is a focus on curriculum and instruction. In his first year, he made several adjustments to personnel at the central office level to create a clearer instructional focus. This occurred through the realignment of those administrators, the addition of Curriculum Development Coordinators and shifting teacher assigned technology coaches to academics. Additionally, it has been a long-term goal to add an additional Assistant Director of Instruction to serve the elementary grade levels. Currently, Tina Cassidy, Director of Instruction, fulfills this role as well as oversight and coordination of the entire District. In a District our size, especially with the increased priority towards academics, more leadership and guidance is needed within this area.
We have had a District Teaming Committee in place over the past year to research the re-implementation of teaming. This initiative grew from the passion of our middle school teachers in providing the best academics and learning environment for our students. This upcoming year the committee will be visiting area schools that currently have the teaming concept in place and will be a professional development focus at the middle schools. It is important that we implement a model that best meets current needs rather than just doing what we have done in the past. The passion for moving this process forward has been impressive.
While committed to working to implement teaming, upcoming redistricting could have a district impact that would affect teaming. We should have a better understanding of the redistricting needs as we move through this coming school year. The money we have saved in the Strategic Plan implementation as we head into the upcoming school year has become an important factor. I am prepared to make the next level of commitment to our Teaming Committee and this initiative by budgeting funds for the implementation of the teaming model. Necessary funds have already been set aside for this initiative.
Special Education is becoming an increased demand not only in the Medina City School District but across the country. Again, with an academic focus, we want to be sure that we are meeting the needs of all students. Intervention Specialist staffing will increase across the District. Additionally, the position of Coordinator of Special Education will also be brought back. This individual will be working at the ground level in providing assistance with the writing and review of IEPs. They will also lead and assist in data collection and progress monitoring.
We will be posting for an Assistant Athletic Director. This individual will oversee middle school athletics and provide additional support to the high school athletic programming. In addition, they will be responsible for the coordination and oversight of all club athletics. This past school year these organizations were moved under the athletic department umbrella to increase oversight, coordination, and develop a sense of connection with other athletic programs.
A review of current Pay-to-Participate fee structure is also underway. “We are not yet in a position to eliminate or reduce these fees, however, we would like to provide some relief to families especially those who have multiple student-athletes involved in various sports,” said Sable. One goal is to offer waived and/or reduced fees for students enrolled in the free lunch program and implement a potential family cap. Currently, an individual student cap is in place.
The District motto during the last levy campaign and throughout the past school year has been “Moving Medina Forward.” Because of the fiscal responsibility, the District has been able to take another large step forward that extends beyond the Strategic Plan without compromising the implementation of the plan or impacting the financial goals that were promised to the community when the levy was passed. Currently, the forecast continues to show the need for a levy in 2022. It is a credit to all of the staff that we have been able to increase services and academics for “Every Student, Every Day” in a fiscally responsible manner. “We will continue to provide the best return on investment to our community as they entrust us to work with their children every day,” explains Sable.