At the June 17 meeting of the Boardman Board of Education, the board approved three waiver days throughout the 2013-2014 school year for the purpose of teacher training on new state mandates. The waiver days approved are: Sept. 3, Jan. 27, 2014, and May 9, 2014.
During these waiver days, all students in the district will have the day off from school as teachers assimilate training on a new teacher evaluation system called the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System.
Director of Instruction Dr. Linda Ross, said that the overarching theme of the training will be to help teachers become comfortable and familiar with OTES. Teachers will not only learn about the new measures, but will also have a chance to do some practice exercises, before regrouping for feedback and questions.
"There are a lot of initiatives that the state is implementing and we have a large staff," Ross said. "We have to have everyone understand what the initiatives are, first - and then, how it relates to them."
Unlike other Ohio districts who have already been required to implement the new teacher evaluation system, Boardman will be able to a take a whole school year to both learn and prepare before implementing OTES during the 2014-2015 school year.
"We're very fortunate in Boardman to learn about something prior to implementing it," Ross said.
Throughout the school year, Ross said that Boardman School District will be talking with school districts that are already implementing the system so they can learn from their experience as well.
The new OTES, Ross said, is part of a national move for continual growth and improvement of teacher evaluation and performance.
In addition to approving the three waiver days, the board approved payment to three teachers for the purpose of creating a new math curriculum for Boardman High School students.
Math department chair Albert Dohar said that the department had searched and simply could not find an existing math textbook/curriculum that supported the new Ohio mandates for student learning.
Teachers Carrie Davis, Michael Gerthung, and Kristopher Reash, the writers of the new curriculum, presented the board with their first unit.
Davis said that the new standards aim toward a more integrated approach to math, showing students how subjects like geometry and algebra are interrelated and applicable to real life.
"The integrated approach gives a little mix of everything all through the years, so they really get to see the relationship between everything, which is the way math actually is," Davis said. "There is not very much disconnect."
In order to help students understand the applicability of math to real life, Davis said that story problems will include examples like Dunkin Donuts, Tinseltown, Twitter and Instagram.
The new textbooks will be for Integrated Math 1 Advanced, Integrated Math 1 College Prep, and Integrated Math 1 General. The curriculum will include both a pre-test and post-test.
"This is an opportunity to have curriculum materials that really meet the needs of our students and our teachers in that it will be directly fitted around the new standards in Columbus [Ohio Board of Education]," said Superintendent Frank Lazzeri.
In addition to a hard copies, Davis said that teachers will receive a digital copy so can make changes over the years, like changing story problems even 10 years from now to reflect what is relevant to students at that time.
"In the long run, we'll have a textbook, which we could use for the foreseeable future, especially considering there isn't a textbook out there that meets the needs of the new math standards that are out there," Lazzeri said.
Approval was given for $4,000 to be paid to each teacher in increments as phases of work are completed throughout the summer.
In other business:
- The board gave recognition to Boardman Schools Treasurer Richard Santilli, and the employees of the Treasurer's Department for receiving the Auditor of State Award for exemplary financial reporting in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principals for the year 2012.
- The board accepted an invitation for membership to the All American Conference League for all sports competitions beginning in the 2014-2015 school year.
- The board approved a new Student Acceptable Use policy, which now includes language about the acceptable use of social media.
- Lazzeri congratulated Boardman High School Director of Bands Tom Ruggieri for being named a quarterfinalist for the Grammy Foundation Music Educator Award.