September 2014

September 5, 2014

Happy Friday Ravenna Staff,

Why do the shorter weeks often seem like the longest?  Regardless, I hope everyone had a great week and is settled in with their students.  Hopefully issues such as transportation, lunches, schedules and the like are nearly resolved and we can start to hone in and focus on the important academic pieces at hand.  We have accomplished much in the past three years and we need to continue to work together, share effective instructional strategies, assessments and data analysis tools that will guide our work.  Our mission is clear, the evidence indisputable.  We are a school district that it is improving academically by leaps and bounds!  I am very proud of all of us!

I would like to provide some information on several other happenings around the school district:

Free, healthy breakfast and lunch program – As all of you are aware; The Ravenna School District was approved for a Federal grant that will allow all of our students to have a free, healthy breakfast and lunch every day at no cost to families or to the school district.  This truly is a good thing for all of our students.  Please know that our ability to continue this program for the next several years depends on our school’s participation in the program.  Please encourage all of your students to eat the breakfast and lunch EVERY day.  We also know that well-nourished children are better learners.  Thank you for your encouragement with this.

Calendar for the 2015-16 school year –    Please know that I am working with Portage County Superintendents to devise a calendar that will be beneficial to all students in the district..  If you read pp. 31 and 32 of contract, you will note that the Superintendent shall develop two calendars for the upcoming school year and the staff will vote on those.  I plan to follow the contract and offer two options for the staff to vote on, one of which will be recommended to The Board of Education for approval.  Please know that both of these options will have much earlier start dates for next year.  The rationale is that our students need as many instructional days as possible.  We have lost as many as 15 instructional days in the past.  This simply is not acceptable.  I hope that each of you are able to support this for our children.

“White Out” planned for 9-19-14 game versus Field HS - Please support the stadium fund and show your school spirit by purchasing a white “Ravenna Strong” t-shirt.  New staff, this is a great “Friday, dress down day” way to show your Raven Pride.  Please e-mail  to place your order and make payment arrangements.  We have all adult sizes and you can purchase as many shirts as you would like!  The price is still only $5.00 per shirt.  Also, plan on attending the first home, conference football game versus Field HS and wearing your white t-shirt!  Our goal is 2,000 Raven fans in the stands with white t-shirts.  “It’s going to be a white out!”  Be part of the fun and support our students! 

Rest well my friends and colleagues!  Enjoy time with family and friends!

September 12, 2014

Happy Friday Ravenna Staff!

Today is the official release of our “A-F Report Card”. The number of “Grades” received by each district should be nine. The Legislature and ODE had planned on increasing the number to ten this year. However, after confusion on their part, they have decided not to release the tenth “Grade” (K-3 literacy). That having been said, we have had some successes but still have much work to do. Your Principals will be working with our Directors and Technology staff todisaggregate the specific data and to continue with our plans for moving the district forward academically.

In general, we received: 3 A’s, 1 B, 2 C’s, 2D’s and 1 F. We have shown growth and achievement in several areas. I would encourage all of us to continue to be positive and speak thoughtfully about our school district, students and staff. I am proud of the many accomplishments of the school district!

Never to be used as a crutch or excuse, please understand that we have numerous, challenging variables. We missed around 15 instructional days prior to the assessments last year due to weather, a late start and piloting several tests. Our student population remains around 65% free and reduced lunch, 20% special needs, 30% transiency. And, there is close to 70% rentals in the city. Once again, these are challenging variables (not excuses) that I believe that we can all overcome if we continue to collaborate, stay together, stay focused and work hard.

A few other items:

Levy Meeting– We have scheduled a levy meeting for September 23, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. atRHS. Please attend if you are willing to help. We will have a few assignments available for those willing to participate. I will send out a summary e-mail to all staff after the meeting.

“GOOGLIZATION”- Please understand that we are not moving backwards or away from the Google platform. There are growing pains (I experience and hear of these every day too!) that we are working through. This is the best decision for our district. We will continue to support our staff and students as we move through this ever-changing, 21stcentury technological world. Please do your part by reading e-mails and performing tasks that you can achieve within the system. Our technology staff is working double time and needs all of us to meet them halfway. The benefits far outweigh the struggles.

“White Out” planned for 9-19-14 game versus Field HS- Please support the stadium fund and show your school spirit by purchasing a white “Ravenna Strong” t-shirt. New staff, this is a great “Friday, dress down day” way to show your Raven Pride. Please e-mail to place your order and make payment arrangements. We have all adult sizes and you can purchase as many shirts as you would like! The price is still only $5.00 per shirt. Also, plan on attending the first home, conference football game versus Field HS and wearing your white t-shirt! Our goal is 2,000 Raven fans in the stands with white t-shirts. “It’s going to be a white out!” Be part of the fun and support our students!

Have a great weekend!

September 19, 2014

Hello Ravenna Staff:                      

I hope that everyone had a great week with our children.  Although we have had numerous distractions to begin the school year, I once again applaud your professionalism for staying true to our work.  Although our test scores do not always reflect the time, effort and dedication that each of us put into our work, we need to believe that we are doing many of the right things and our direction and tenacity will pay off in the long run.  I urge each of you to stay positive and continue to challenge and push the children, yourself and each other.

 As it seems in our “Labor of Love” (education), one event and challenge leads into the next.  For those staff participating in “Balloon A-Fair” this weekend, thank you.  Your dedication and willingness to give of your time is noticed and appreciated!  Don’t ever think that your efforts do not make an impact and an impression on our students and parents.  They do!  We also have a great night of fun tonight planned for our students.  I hope staff is able to participate in the “White Out” and show support for our students at the stadium for the football game at 7:00 p.m.

Thank you and I look forward to seeing everyone at some point throughout the weekend!  Go Ravens!

September 26, 2014

Hello Ravenna Staff:                                                                                                      

GREAT job at Balloon A-Fair!  GREAT job with spirit/Kent week!  I am continually impressed with the dedication and determination of our staff, students, parents and community.  Let’s stay together and persevere!  Go Ravens!

I hope everyone has a restful or productive weekend!