On November 14-15th, I had the pleasure of attending the 61st annual Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) Capital Conference and Trade Show at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. More 9,000 people attended this year’s conference, which included nearly 150 sessions of panel discussions, workshops, one-on-one assistance and nationally renowned speakers addressing a variety of educational issues.
Over the two days, I had the opportunity to attend the following sessions in order to gather information that I could bring back to better serve the Crestview Local School District and our children. On Monday, the 14th of November, I attended a session titled “Change Happens - 10 Successful Strategies” that addressed methods to ensure that change, which is inevitable in education, does not reduce the opportunities for success. While change is uncomfortable, and sometimes viewed as constricting, it can be beneficial in the long run when it is allowed to blossom as a result of the strategies that were outlined in the session. I also attended a session on “Poverty - The Real Educational Indicator” which identified the correlations between poverty and student performance in the academic setting. The presenters discussed the social, political, and cultural manifestations that are a result of poverty and the amount of stress that our students are under because of those things that are beyond their direct control. Various methods of support were mentioned from a school standpoint that could support those students who are struggling. Things such as “wrap around” support from local agencies through the school’s intervention, student partners or mentors to be role models for success, goal setting with each student to help them focus on what they want or hope to achieve, and school/community partnerships.
On Tuesday, November 15th, I attended a session on “Spotlight Behind-the-Scenes Departments” using our current resources such as social media and our website. The focus of this session was to take time to identify those people, or departments, that work outside of the classroom but are just as important in supporting the successes of our students and our district each and every day. This is an endeavor that any staff member can partake in simply by taking a minute to recognize the support that they, or a student, has received through the efforts of their daily duties. It goes a long way in making everyone feel a part in the educational processes that take and have a positive impact on our school, our students, and our community. Also on Tuesday, I had the opportunity to attend a rally at the statehouse with numerous superintendents, board members, and community members from around the state as we gathered to offer our help and assistance in addressing the education crisis in Ohio in regards to assessments, report cards, and graduation requirements. Between 300 and 400 people heard from five other superintendents regarding the negative impact of state accountability mandates on schools and the long term potentially negative effect on students. We offered our expertise as professional educators to join with the legislature and the State School Board to correct some of the unintended consequences of past legislation. We are at a crossroads in Ohio regarding public education and we are offering our help as well as solutions.
I want to thank our Board for allowing me to attend this conference. I look forward to sharing what I have learned with the Board as well as our district leadership team so that we may work together to make Crestview Schools and the Crestview community an even better place to live and learn.