2021 – 2022 Safe Learning Plan for The Ravenna School District (RSD)
WHAT’S HAPPENING IN OUR DISTRICT?
Message from Superintendent Dr. Laura Hebert – August 24, 2021
Hello, this is Laura Hebert, Superintendent of the Ravenna School District. Thank you for all you are doing to get our school year off to a great start! I am calling you with an update to our mask guidelines. Based on the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Portage County, and the low vaccination rate of Portage County residents, the Ravenna School Board voted last night to mandate mask wearing for faculty, staff, students and visitors in all buildings regardless of vaccination status. This will be in effect through October 31, 2021 when the Board will meet to review transmission and vaccination rates, and vote to extend the mask mandate or let it expire.
Mask wearing is required beginning tomorrow, August 25, 2021. We need to focus on limiting the spread of the virus. When we do, we also limit the disruption to our day-to-day lives. We want our students in school, participating in sports, actvities, and clubs. We don’t want you to have to take time off of work to be with a student if they have to quarantine because they were exposed to COVID-19.
The CDC, the Ohio Department of Health, and the Portage County Health Department all recommend the following three ways to avoid getting COVID-19 and having to quarantine: 1) vaccination if eligible, 2) masking, and 3) practicing social distancing. We must do all we can to keep everyone safe, and present in school by living within the guidelines of health experts.
Please contact me if you have any questions. Remember, mask up, wash up and back up! And stay – Ravenna Strong!
On June 29, 2020, the Ravenna School District (RSD) Board of Education passed a Resolution condemning racism. This resolution was a direct result of the community bringing forward their concerns as it related to student experiences in the district. From that resolution, the district went on to create a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force. The Task Force distributed a survey to students and parents to determine their feelings and opinions about their experiences in the district as it related to racism. On the heels of the RSD Resolution, the Ohio Board of Education in July of 2020, passed their own resolution: Resolution to Condemn Racism and to Advance Equity and Opportunity for Black Students, Indigenous Students and Students of Color. Within this resolution the Board stated that Ohio’s educational system has not been immune to problems associated with racism, and called out for a culturally responsive curriculum and for school districts to begin a reflection and internal examination of their own school community with a focus on curriculum, hiring, staff development and student discipline. In July, 2021, the federal government also issued an Executive Order echoing the State Board’s commitment to advancing racial equity. Further, the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System’s rubric requires documentation (through observation) of lesson plans that recognize and celebrate the diverse nature of our student community. This is often referred to as “Culturally Relevant Teaching”, and while it may share the same initials, it is definitely not the same as Critical Race Theory – a philosophy that examines race at the university and college level.
The RSD DEI Task Force met throughout the 2020-21 school year to begin the work of ensuring that the words of the resolution became the culture of the district, specifically: “the Board will continue to progress as an equity-oriented organization by continuing to identify actions to further enhance diversity and ensure anti-racism in education”. It is important to note that this work is not about teaching Critical Race Theory in any classroom, or at any grade level. It is not about writing Critical Race Theory into the curriculum. Rather, it is about ensuring that our policies and procedures exist to ensure that all students have a school experience that supports them, reflects them, and moves them forward.
When Task Force meetings were paused due to the end of the school year, a Steering Committee was formed to keep the work of the Task Force moving forward during the summer. The Steering Committee, made up of Ms. JaCari Parks, RSD administrator and two School Board Members, Mrs. Pat Dennison and Mrs. Pam Calhoun were joined by then Superintendent Dennis Honkala and now, me, and together we worked to create a structure and process to empower the members of the Task Force to examine current practices and make recommendations to the district for positive change. The addition of Dr. Gooden as a facilitator has helped the Steering Committee create the framework for not only this meeting, but for the future as well.
The Steering Committee recommended the creation of three distinct subcommittees (as part of the Task Force) to examine Curriculum, Hiring Practices, and Staff Development. These three committees will have separate “charges” or foci of interest. All three will consider how to infuse their work with community engagement opportunities to make the work, and the resulting action plans more meaningful and robust.
On September 16, 2021, the Task Force met for the first meeting of the 2020-21 school year. During this work session, the three committees met to create a vision statement for their specific committee. Each committee (with anywhere from 8 – 12 members) worked to construct a statement that reflected the specific focus of the committee and was aligned to the overall mission or goal of the task force: to reflect and examine our current policies and procedures in an effort to create a sustainable, systemic plan that will engage students, faculty and community members and address diversity, equity and inclusion.
The three committees presented their first draft of a vision statement to the task force at the end of the meeting. These will be revisited as the year progresses. Below are the three different statements, all a work in progress:
Curriculum: We will ignite our students’ and community’s transformative educational experience by elevating our curriculum to embrace the diversity of our students. We will instill a passion for lifelong learning and creativity into all aspects of their lives.
Hiring and Retention: We will ensure the success of all students and meet the needs of families and community members; through the intentional recruitment, hiring and retention of a diverse, inclusive, and culturally competent group of faculty members.
Professional Development: To support and empower staff to develop their use of inclusive, culturally responsive practices to intentionally recognize and serve all children holistically.
Our next meeting in October, will involve Diversity Training, led by Dr. Gooden. The November meeting will be devoted to analyzing current board documents related to Curriculum, Hiring, and Professional Development through the lens of diversity, equity and inclusion. Action steps, if any, will be created during the next few months, with the goal of reporting findings and recommendations to the Superintendent during the April and May Task Force meetings.
On Thursday, September 23, 2021, RHS Service Learning class met with Ms. Carol Lucio, Ohio State Coordinator for Students Against Destructive Decisions (S.A.D.D.). Ms Lucio shared a variety of program ideas and activities, and offered support to the student...
Students in Ms. Martin's science classes enjoyed a project on the phases of the moon using Oreo cookies!
The RHS Varsity Volleyball team is making great strides this year. We are so proud of their progress, hard work and support of each other!
A beautiful start to the day at Ravenna High School this week!
Students in Ravenna High School's Honors Government class recently "broke out" of an escape room in a box by solving clues based upon the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution.
The Environmental Science classes have been busy learning about recycling and have recycled hundreds of pounds from RHS.
TONIGHT'S GAME V. FIELD HAS BEEN CANCELED. WE ARE NOW PLAYING A LEAGUE GAME AT NORTON. If you bought a ticket for the game at Field, you will get a refund over the next 10 days. Tickets are on sale for the game at Norton on their website or download the Hometown fan...
The RHS Family and Consumer Science Advanced Cooking classes completed the first lab of their yeast bread unit with French baguettes and homemade butter. Regional and Global Cuisine classes started their tour of the world by making one of Africa's most iconic...
Free After School Tutoring and Counseling Every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday Starting September 20th 2:30-4:30 Get help in any subject Free snack Free bus ride home
First Day of Kindergarten The first day of kindergarten at West Park School was a great success! It was so wonderful to see so many smiley faces enter our building. Our kindergarteners were excited to be at school. Our staff was eager to welcome them into our school....