Highlights of 1/21/16 school board meeting

Milford students performed well on last year’s revised state standardized tests
New technology will enhance student differentiation & achievement
City of Milford buys property from Milford Schools
BAC recommends selling Milford South
Athletic Update
Extracurricular Update

Highlights from the board meeting follow here:

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Highlights from 12/18/14 school board meeting

All-Day Kindergarten pilot program to be added next school year
Existing Seipelt land to be transferred to Miami Township

Happy Holidays!  Cards from Seipelt Students

I apologize for not yet having the Athletic & Extracurricular updates for this month:  my email apparently ate the file; I will upload them once school is back in session in early January.  In the meantime, here are the highlights from the 12/18/14 school board meeting: Continue reading

All-Day Kindergarten pilot program to be added next school year

kindergarten-clip-art-kinAfter reviewing a number of options for All-Day Kindergarten (ADK), the board voted to implement a pilot program beginning next school year. One class will be added at each school, with the option to add another class if demand requires. Continue reading

Language arts requirements far more advanced

By David Yockey

Milford has recently initiated a new language arts curriculum in grades 6-12.  This curriculum was designed and written by our teachers and is directly aligned to the New Learning Standards in Ohio.

Text complexity has increased at each grade level in order to align to the National Learning Standards.  For example, texts that in the past might have been a grade 9 or 10 text now align with the grade 8 text complexity requirement.  Writing expectations have increased significantly (although Milford has a long history of high expectations in writing) to align with the focus on informational/expository writing as well as argumentative writing. Continue reading

The cost of an extra bottle of perfume

By Andrea Brady

Seth Godin, a marketer, author and one of my favorite bloggers, recently wrote an article about marginal cost.  In it, he asks, “How much does it cost Wikipedia to have one more person read an article? How much does it cost Chanel to produce one more bottle of perfume? How about one more digital copy of a Grateful Dead concert?”

Marginal, or incremental, cost is of great concern to school districts, too.  The standard measure of “how much it takes to educate a student” is the state’s calculation of expenditure per pupil.  However, this is not an accurate number for several reasons.

The way expenditure per pupil is calculated is to take total expenditures (in categories as defined by the state) and divide this by the total number of students served that past year.  If you understand what is in this number, it is a good way to compare districts and get a feel for a district’s efficiency.  And, I’m happy to say, Milford’s expenditure per pupil has been lower than not only other excellent districts, but also the state average, for quite a few years.  In addition, when you adjust the number to account for costs that shouldn’t be included because they aren’t truly expenses (see my article here), we look even better. Continue reading

Closing the gender achievement gap

By Gary Knepp

“We collected a great deal of data and what we saw was there was a significant achievement gap between boys and girls and that seemed to grow as students went from first grade to seniors in high school.”

This quote is from Ms. Nancy House, Director of Secondary Curriculum & Instruction for the Milford school district, in a June 2010 video produced by Clermont County Today (found here on YouTube, and another video from 2011 found here on YouTube).  It refers to work done over a period of about three years total through a committee of community members, parents, teachers and administrators in the Milford school district.

This committee originated when I became concerned about gender learning differences, sparked by a book review of Peg Tyre’s The Trouble with Boys.  After reading the book from cover to cover, I began to collect research papers on the subject and review statistics from the U.S. Department of Education.  They bore out Ms. Tyre’s conclusion that there is a crisis in boy’s educational achievement.  Based upon several months of research, I recommended to the Board of Education that a committee be established to study this issue at Milford.  The Board approved that recommendation and the committee was established. Continue reading

Milford’s Teaching Professions program honored as “outstanding program”

By David Yockey

On Thursday, October 10, at the Fall Conference of the Southwest Region of the Ohio School Boards association, Milford’s Teaching Professions program was honored as an “outstanding program.”  This program is taught by Jennifer Shay-Norsworthy and is a “satellite” program of the Great Oaks Institute of Technology and Career Development.

Students in this program recently made a national impact with a presentation on learning disabilities that wowed the judges and earned them first place in the nation at the National Future Educators Association conference in Orlando.  The Teaching Professions students earned the right to attend the conference as national semi-finalists based on research they did on learning disabilities.  In Orlando, they gave a 15-minute presentation on how to make learning attainable to students with disabilities.  “These students did so well in the presentation that the judges stayed for almost two hours after the competition in order to talk with them,” said instructor Shay-Norsworthy.  “They told the students that they came across as professionals already working in the field, not as high school students.” Continue reading

Does size really matter?

by Gary Knepp

The relationship between class size and student performance has been a controversy for years.  And it has become an issue in this year’s Board of Education race.  One candidate has charged that “Milford is breaking the law” because one class at McCormick exceeds the mandated 25 students to one teacher ratio.  He claimed that he has threatened to sue the district over this alleged infraction.

Does he have a case?

Ohio regulations state that in grades K-4 there shall not be more than a 25 student to 1 teacher ratio on a district-wide basis.  The key term is district-wide.  The regulation, therefore, allows for some individual classes to exceed the mandate.  The figures provided by the administration show that it complies with state regulations.  The district is not “breaking the law.”

Does size really matter?  Do students perform better in smaller class settings?  It depends upon what expert or research study you consult. Continue reading