Posted January 08, 2016 by Minority Caucus
Lorain City Schools officials and local lawmakers today announced plans calling for community stakeholders to participate in open dialogue sessions to develop a plan to improve educational achievement for students and take proactive measures to avoid further state control.
“Our goal is to develop a community-centered plan that allows the school district to continue its progress toward improving student achievement,” said State Senator Gayle Manning (R-North Ridgeville). “A change in direction at this point would only disrupt the progress that is already being made locally. Involvement from this diverse group of stakeholders demonstrates that the Lorain community supports their schools and is committed to being part of a solution that ensures students are provided the best opportunities for their futures.”
“Community-based solutions that put our children’s future first can’t only come from Columbus,” said Representative Dan Ramos (D-Lorain). “That is why it is so important that local leaders, lawmakers, educators, parents and students come together to put forward a plan that works by giving all of our children an equal opportunity to earn an education that puts them on a trajectory toward success.”
In April 2013 the state superintendent, in accordance with state law, established an Academic Distress Commission for Lorain City Schools. The commission quickly developed an academic recovery plan that was implemented and approved by the Ohio Department of Education (ODE).
Dr. Jeffrey Graham, hired as Lorain City Schools superintendent in August of 2015, has worked collaboratively with ODE to help improve academic achievement in the district. In collaboration with state officials, the district developed the "Six Priorities" to focus the district's efforts on the areas considered most impactful and pervasive district-wide.
With changes in state assessments, Lorain City School District is unlikely to meet statutory requirements that would prevent a state intervention in the school district, under Ohio law.
“Research shows that whenever you alter an assessment, there is a dip in performance,” said Superintendent Jeff Graham. “We’re in a special situation, in which all other school districts are held harmless for their scores on the new tests – all districts except those in academic distress, like Lorain. We have the most on the line right now.”
In order to sustain the progress being made, Lorain City School officials and local lawmakers are seeking input from a variety of stakeholder groups, which will include parents, students, administrators, business leaders, community, civic and faith-based organizations, residents and teachers. Open dialogue sessions, an online survey, and personal interviews will gather input. Information on this process can be found on the district’s website at lorainschools.org.
“This initiative comes at just the right time,” shared Tony Dimacchia, President of the Lorain City Schools Board of Education. “We feel our administration, board, and commission are on the same page – things are happening as a result. We just need time to keep things moving in the right direction and to do it the right way – with the input of our stakeholders.”
Senator Manning and Representative Ramos welcome members of the public to submit their comments and suggestions to their offices for them to share as community stakeholders work to develop a comprehensive plan that provides Lorain City School students the best opportunity to receive an excellent education while maintaining local control of the district. Suggestions may be submitted to Senator Manning's office electronically at Manning@OhioSenate.gov or by mail to Senator Gayle Manning, Senate Building, 1 Capitol Square, 1st Floor, Columbus, OH 43215. Suggestions may be submitted to Representative Ramos’ office electronically at Rep56@OhioHouse.gov or by mail to Representative Dan Ramos, 77 South High St, 10th Floor, Columbus, OH 43215.