Why does it say 3/7?

3-7 SignWhen the first phase of the ELPP (Expedited Local Partnership Program) OSFC (Ohio School Facilities Commission) project was completed in 2007 the Chillicothe City Schools were part of a state program that offered the district a certain amount of money, based on a certain enrollment for a building project with a certain amount of square footage (sf) for a specified number of students.  When the state revisited the district’s master plan, and due to a number of factors which I probably cannot adequately explain, there was an allowance in state programs for square footage for 7-12 construction.  The District had two options:  either roll that sf into the PK-6 construction program which would now be part of a CFAP (Classroom Facilities Assistance Program) project, or hold that sf in abeyance and use it the next time we sought the state’s assistance for construction at the 7-12 building complex.  There is some risk with the second option as after 20 years, the OSFC may be approaching its “end of life” as a state program as hundreds of school districts now have updated and have state of the art facilities as a result of their efforts.  While there still may be a few, there aren’t many “poor” districts whose facilities have not been updated by now.  After careful consideration it was decided to roll that sf into the 3-6 building project.
If you drive by Arch Street and see the construction sign you will note that it says 3/7.  It says 3/7 because that’s how the district is able to get the funds and also able to use the specifications in the Ohio School Design Manual (OSDM) to get some spaces which are larger/better.  A perfect example would be the cafetorium.  In a PK-6 OSDM cafetorium the allowance for a co-funded project is 15 sf per student.  In a 7-12 cafetorium it is 17.5 sf per student.  In our case that means we can have 2,192.5 sf more in a 3-7 55% co-funded by the state than if we had a 3-6 cafetorium.  Another example would be the gymnasium.  An elementary gymnasium with our enrollment would be 4,700 sf and any seating would have to be 100% locally funded.  In a 3/7 scenario our gym will be 8,000 sf and 55% co-funded. When completing the Program of Requirements our Executive Design Team understood and quickly realized the opportunity and the advantages of a 3/7.  When you consider the state will co-fund a movable wall this means our gymnasium and cafetorium can be “opened up” to seat more than 1,300 people.  Though not as large as Hatton Gym, this space will be the second largest space in the district for hosting concerts, assemblies, and other programs with large audiences.
Likewise the OFCC calls our K/2 the PK/2 because a district MAY use that space for pre-school as well.  The Board of Education has chosen NOT to put PK in that building and have clearly spelled it out that the building on Cherry and Mill will just be a K/2 and that pre-school will be located at Mt. Logan beginning with the 2018-2019 school year.
So hopefully that explains why our buildings are listed as PK/2 and a 3/7.  In the fall of 2018 we will hope two beautiful, new, state of the art buildings which will serve students in K/2 and 3/6 in spite of what the signs may actually say. It’s a Great Time to be a Cavalier!
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R-E-S-P-E-C-T

respect-blue-simple

Growing up a Cavalier – I always had the utmost respect for those in authority.  Well, almost always.  There was that time when I showed off in second grade and made a gesture to my lunch girl, Sarah, that I didn’t even know what it meant.  It did not matter if I was showing off for my friends; it was not one of my better days.  My mother, who taught in the district at the time, taught me a really good lesson about that right away.  If you read this Sarah, please know I am very sorry for that unkind gesture – I had no idea what I was doing.  Outside of that I don’t think I ever directly showed disrespect to anyone in authority over me as a student.  That lesson stuck with me.  I was certainly no angel, but I was taught from a very young age to respect my elders.  It was expected of me.  And if I ever forgot that lesson (which like anyone I did from time to time) my mother and a bar of Dial soap were able to remind me of what was appropriate and what is not.  Things were much easier back in those days.

Today our children are inundated with images and words that are inappropriate.  During my childhood about the strongest language a child would hear on TV was Potsy telling Ralph Malph to “sit on it.”  In 2016 a child can see and hear very graphic images and language that is not only impolite and inappropriate, but there is plenty of language that is hateful and violent.  The modern media comes at our kids day and night from many different sources and more destructive ways than ever before.  Whether it is music, movies, television, netflix, or online there is far more inappropriate content for our kids to see and hear.  We’ve become so permissive that like me in the 2nd grade, they do not always even realize what is and what is not appropriate.

All this makes the life of a public educator pretty challenging.  So in the CCSD we emphasize the very simple idea of Respect.  We try to teach our students to Respect themselves, to respect others, and to respect their school.  Whether they are online, in class, in the hallways, the cafeteria or the field of competition we try to remind them of this simple idea of Respect.  We all make mistakes and from time to time there are consequences for those mistakes.  Our idea is not to punish our way to improving behavior, but to model it and use positive reinforcement to encourage it.  We hope the entire Chillicothe community will model this for our kids – for if we do, we CAN make a difference for not just our classrooms or our schools, but for our entire community. Thanks to everyone who models RESPECT in Chillicothe everyday.  And once again, Sarah, you were a great lunch hostess – I hope you’ve forgiven me!

As we approach the holiday season I hope you’ll consider the words of one of my favorite artists – Stevie Wonder – and what this song has to say what we need more of today!

Building Chillicothe

screen-shot-2016-08-05-at-4-11-10-pmAs a career educator, I continue to learn.  I continue to grow and look for ways to improve myself, my district, and my profession as a whole.  Being that many of us are very visual, my team and I put this model together.  In our district we are about to literally break ground on two new elementary buildings.  But in all actuality we’ve been building our school district for several years now.  After a review of our district a couple years ago by an outside firm and after a visit to an exemplar district who has made amazing improvements in the past ten years we have come up with our “formula” for SYSTEMIC EXCELLENCE.

This “formula” is based on 5 major beliefs with the foundational belief being in doing what is best for kids.  If our decision-making process is not embedded in that fundamental core belief then none of our other beliefs, actions, or processes will matter.  There is no substitute for this first belief.

The pillars of SYSTEMIC EXCELLENCE are accountability, relationships, high expectations, and using data to drive our decisions when it comes to instructional practices.  We have seen these beliefs in other school districts and it is our belief that if we can focus our efforts to improve on these beliefs we will indeed have success.  The challenge for us is avoiding the distractions that are caused by being pulled in so many different directions because of the many other challenges that we face.

Good leadership is imperative towards reminding others of our beliefs, and more importantly ensuring not simply that we believe certain things, but that we DO certain things.  As we work to build a better Chillicothe School SYSTEM, we must commit our minds to the beliefs and our bodies to the actions that will help our students be successful.