An Open Letter to Families Regarding the 2019 State Report Card

Dear London Families,

The Ohio Department of Education recently released its 2019 report cards for each district and school in the state. The annual report card is a collection of dozens of pages of district performance data and is based on federal and state law and the Ohio Department of Education’s interpretation of such. The report card is based mostly on the performance of students on a state assessment on one day last spring. 

Overall, each district is rated on six different components: Achievement, Gap Closing, Improving At-Risk K-3 Readers, Progress, Graduation Rate, and Prepared for Success. Despite a promising trend of improvement on the state report card the last three years, district performance was more inconsistent in 2019. As a school district, London improved on 2 components (Progress and K-3 Literacy), scored lower on graduation rate, and scored the same on the remaining three components. Similar to 2018, the state assigned the district an overall score of a D. 

It is important to keep in mind the state report card is one data point of measuring a successful school district, and it is a data point that is often manipulated by the state. Several years ago, when many districts were receiving performance descriptors which were much more complimentary, the state changed the assessments students were given and the “cut scores” for proficiency knowing that in doing so, student “performance” would drop by 30-40% across the state. 

Knowing that the state report card is a political vehicle, as a superintendent I am less concerned with our current overall scores as I am that we make consistent, sustained progress. The reality is many of our students entering our school district are not always prepared to perform academically. Our job is to ensure all students are making progress academically regardless of where they start. That is why I was satisfied with our prior three years of progress and am equally concerned with this year’s inconsistency.

Besides the state report card, as a district we also measure progress by monitoring enrollment, attendance, positive behavior in our schools, expanding the opportunities for our students and families, improving the efficiency of operations, and demonstrating good stewardship of public funds. To learn more about how we are making progress in each and every one of these areas as well as strategies being implemented to raise student achievement, please visit our Quality Profile page on our district website. 

We are proud that our district enrollment continues to grow as more students and parents choose London City Schools as their school of choice. We appreciate the support our community provides and will continue to work tirelessly to make the London City School District a premiere district in this county and beyond.

If you have any questions about our district performance or the performance of your child, please feel free to contact your child’s teacher, the building principal, or our central office.

Kind Regards,

Dr. Lou Kramer

District Superintendent

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The “Super”intendent and the District Technology Director Dillan “Shu”maker Launch New Podcast

District Superintendent, Lou Kramer, and District Technology Director Dillan Shumaker have launched a new podcast appropriately named The Super and The Shu. The podcast is intended to be a semi regular opportunity to discuss the happenings in the district in a new format. Each episode will include students and occasionally some additional special guests from our schools and the community. The podcast is available on iTunes, Spotify, and will be posted on Dr. Kramer’s superintendent page.

You can listen to the first episode here.

London Publishes Portrait of a Graduate

Over the last four years, LCS has worked diligently to improve the district by establishing a strategic plan based on five main goals. The district is constantly working to make sure improvement efforts match the expectations of our community, colleges, and future employers. During the spring of 2019, the district sought input from students, parents, staff, and the community as to the skill sets and mind sets needed to be successful in college and careers. The result was the district’s Portrait of a Graduate, which will help to guide improvement efforts in the future.
London High School Graduates are Future Ready and…

CRITICAL AND CREATIVE THINKERS AND PROBLEM-SOLVERS. LHS graduates are able to develop, implement, and model effective decision making and critical thinking skills.

EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATORS. Each Red Raider graduate is able to apply positive verbal and non-verbal communication and social skills in order to interact effectively with others and in groups.

APPROPRIATELY SKILLED IN LITERACY, NUMERACY, AND TECHNOLOGY. Grads possess the knowledge and the ability to meaningfully apply literacy, numeracy, and technology skills for success in college and/or careers.

RESPECTFUL TO OTHERS. LHS students demonstrate a social awareness and respect for human dignity, including the similarities and differences of all people, groups, and cultures.

FLEXIBLE AND ADAPTABLE. District graduates explore and approach new situations with an open mind and curiosity. They persevere through challenges and setbacks in school and life.

District to Provide Before and After School Care Options

The London City School District in an ongoing effort to provide greater opportunities for its students and families is partnering with Champions Before and After School Programs for the 2019-2020 school year.  Champions has more than 28 years of experience in providing high-quality programs and is fully accredited by AdvancED.

The Before and After School Program will be located at London Elementary School and will be available from 6:30 – 8:30 am before school and 3:15 – 6:00 pm after school. Options for two hour delays and weekdays in which school is not session will also be available.

The program will provide a fun and safe learning environment as students explore their curiosity through activities in creative arts, math and construction, library time, puzzles and games, and STEM activities such as coding and robotics. Time will also be set aside for homework help, physical activity, and healthy snacks.

In order to register your child, please visit www.discoverchampions.com or contact the contact the Champions Family Support team at 800-246-2154 or by email at ChampionsHelp@kc-education.com for more information.  Our local area manager is Shari Paquette, who can be reached by email at spaquette@discoverchampions.com or by phone at (513) 680-2564.

We are very pleased to provide this additional opportunity for our families.

November 5th, 2019 Renewal Levy Information

The London City School District Board of Education approved a request to renew the district’s income tax levy be placed on the November 2019 ballot. The income tax levy, which was originally passed by voters in 2005, has been renewed on two other occasions and will NOT raise taxes. The revenue represents 17.4% of the district’s budget and is imperative to supporting district programs.

School funding in Ohio is designed for school districts to have some highs and lows and to periodically go back to the local community for support. During the middle of last school year, LCS began to spend more than it was taking in. This was mainly due to inflation and the fact that London has not passed a new money operating levy since 2008.

In order to meet the budget shortfall for the coming years, the district implemented a very aggressive fiscal wellness plan, which included strategies to reduce expenses and raise revenues. These strategies included but were not limited to reducing eight (8) staff positions, revamping the district’s facility rental process, and launching a new Before and After School Program, which will provide an additional revenue source for the district. These strategies resulted in $772,000 in annual savings. Because of the fiscal stewardship efforts this past year, the district should be on stable financial ground for the next few years, if the renewal levy is passed.

Community members are greatly encouraged to contact the district office and ask to speak to the superintendent or treasurer with any questions regarding the district’s financial status.

Argonauts Wanted!!

The London City School District is partnering with JASON Learning to provide a once-in-a-lifetime experience for one London Red Raider this year. Named after the mythical Greek explorers, the chosen Argonaut will have an opportunity to experience a STEM expedition sometime during the 2019-2020 school year or possibly the summer of 2020. Below is the description of the program from the JASON website:
JASON’s Student Argonauts—named after the band of explorers in Greek mythology who accompanied the hero Jason in his quest to find the Golden Fleece—travel to locations around the world to work side-by-side with scientists and engineers.
 
In doing so, they become the eyes and ears for their peers back home, experiencing firsthand what it’s like to pursue a STEM career, sharing that knowledge when they return to their local communities, and making critical real-world connections to the STEM topics they’ve learned about in the JASON classroom curricula.
The Argonaut expedition is an incredible adventure and can be a life-changing experience for participating students and teachers. As such, each spot on the team is highly coveted. Every year students and teachers apply for the program through JASON, competing against candidates in their district and around the world for the chance to be on the next JASON Argonaut team.

Argonauts collaborate with the JASON team to document and share their expedition experiences with their communities back home and others throughout the world through a mix of photos, videos, blogs, and live events. Expeditions are shared via social media and the JASON website, generating awareness and excitement about their adventures.

During October and November, students at LMS (aged 13 and over) and LHS will be encouraged to complete the Argonaut application. All applications will be due on or before December 13th, 2019. A final decision on the successful applicant will be made before January 1st, 2020. For more information, please visit the Argonaut webpage.

Super Update: July 2019

Late in 2015, our school district began using the hashtag #londonpossible. The idea behind using this phrase was to describe one of our main district goals of providing opportunities for all students to have success. Recently, I came across the following quote from the science-fiction author, William Gibson, “The future is here, it’s just not evenly distributed.” I cannot think of a better quote to describe the reason our vision of #londonpossible for each student is so important.

Our school district is currently working on updating our strategic plan in order to help ensure students become “future ready.” In essence, this simply means we are working to provide the right teaching and learning tools in order to provide experiences that students can use in college or directly in their future careers, and we are doing it by looking critically at a few areas of how our district operates. Some of the areas we are reviewing include leadership, partnerships, curriculum, instruction, and assessment, professional learning, use of space and time, budget, resources, infrastructure, data, and privacy.

I am looking forward to reconnecting with many of you as the school year begins. As always, if I can do anything to assist you or your child or to answer a question about our district, please do not hesitate to let me know.