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EXPERIENCE

Lorain City Schools

Superintendent  |  August 2015-December 2017

Lorain City Schools District Profile

Lorain, Ohio

City School District (LCSD) serves approximately 6,500 culturally diverse students with a poverty rate of more than 90%. The LCSD team includes 50 administrators, 550 licensed professional and 650 classified staff members. The district was placed in Academic Distress by the Ohio Department of Education in 2012. On the day after of hire, the State passed House Bill 70, resulting in the state takeover of the district and introducing a CEO, thus prematurely ending the position of superintendent.

Recreating the District

  • Initiated an Equity Audit of the district with collaboration from staff, families and community partners to identify areas in need of improvement, creating a dialogue surrounding how and why we do things in Lorain.

  • Initiated research-based comprehensive community engagement process to secure stakeholder investment in the recreation of the district, gathering input from students, parents, residents, business owners, staff, elected officials, and faith-based leaders.

  • Established Titan Wellness wraparound services in response to community-identified need for better access to healthcare. As a part of this program, the district opened three School-Based Health Clinics in Fall 2016 in partnership with Mercy Health, vision care is now offered in partnership with North Coast Eye Care, and mental health clinicians are located within each school in partnership with the Lorain County Board of Mental Health.

  • Created a new Academic Recovery Plan in collaboration with the Academic Distress Commission, staff and community with a focus on six priorities:

  1. Graduation for College & Career Readiness

  2. Instructional Standards & Academic Rigor

  3. Professional Learning Communities

  4. Communications & Community Engagement

  5. Cultural Competency

  6. Staff Recognition & Retention

  • Engaged staff and families in a comprehensive redistricting process to balance schools and reconfigure grade bands resulting in ten elementary schools serving grades PreK-5, three middle schools serving grades 6-8, and the opening of the new Lorain High School serving grades 9-12.

  • Initiated the overhaul of the alternative education program with the National Dropout Prevention Center resulting in a more personalized school-home partnership, expanded opportunities for students, and multiple pathways for students to graduate.

  • Redesigned the special education program to assure Least Restrictive Environment by serving students in their home schools.

  • Improved and expanded English Learner programming by adding additional learning sites with the ultimate goal of serving every student in his or her home school, and providing bilingual supports within each school

  • Initiated Cultural Competency initiative to engage staff and stakeholders in the richness of the diversity of Lorain’s students, community, and staff

  • Initiated Universal Preschool for all students in the City of Lorain

  • Created the Lorain Community/Business/Schools Partnership with more than 500 members to better match local resources to the needs within our schools


Improving Communication

  • Created a Communications and Community Engagement plan built on a foundation of providing transparent communication which accomplishes the following:

    • Monthly open-door sessions to meet individually or in an group setting with community members

    • Monthly Student Advisory Council meetings to work collaboratively with students on driving the future of their schools

    • Monthly Parent Advisory Council meetings to develop parent leaders as school-to-home engagement ambassadors

    • Regular visits to buildings and meetings with staff during their scheduled lunch periods to answer questions and learn about needs and progress

    • Weekly e-newsletter updates to 7,000 families, staff, and community leaders

    • New media protocols to deliver messaging through a responsive website, robocall, text, email,

      mobile app, and social media platforms

  • A strong working relationship with the mayor and other key community leaders

  • Successful communication with all district unions

  • Weekly meetings with media to provide transparent, open and honest communication with

    our stakeholders

  • Delivery of all district- and building-level communication in English and Spanish

Responding to District Academic Needs

  • Initiated the TitanUp! Attendance campaign to (1) recognize good and improved attendance; (2) engage students and parents; (3) monitor attendance data and practice; (4) provide personalized outreach; and (5) develop programmatic response to barriers

  • Expanded college and career readiness initiatives resulting in the development of a Career/ College Pathway for each student in cooperation with ODE; 500 students earning college credits on campus in grades 7-12; 13 Career Technical Education pathways offered within the high school; space allocation at the new Lorain High School for the Lorain County Community College Outreach Center

  • Secured critical union concessions allowing the district to remove impediments to management rights that had not been positive for district progress over the years

  • Upgraded professional learning through a collaborative structure to provide ongoing professional learning and development of staff, prioritizing Instructional Framework (planning, delivery, assessment, and feedback), inclusive practices (RtI, Co-Teaching, and Inclusion), and Cultural Competency

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