The Greenfield Exempted Village School District held its second annual State of the District presentation on last week spotlighting district details, new and ongoing programs, how information is shared, and updates on projects.
This year’s event was live and held in the McClain auditorium and streamed live on Facebook.
It included an update from Superintendent Quincey Gray on several projects in the school district.
Gray said the locker room and new gym lobby expansion, which began last fall, is almost finished, but is running about 10 weeks behind schedule. That’s due to things like product availability and worker illness.
Another project update was regarding the development of the practice field that includes the addition of a multi-purpose facility, new athletic fields, sidewalks, and new basketball courts. This project is currently out for bid, she said, with a bid opening anticipated for mid-February.
Gray also talked about the development of the school’s property off of north Fifth Street to include soccer, softball and baseball fields. She said plans are nearly ready for the project.
The renovation and remodeling of the current bus garage into an indoor athletic facility is the final part of the development plan, she said. While the district has an athletic building, it is something it has outgrown. “We look forward to being able to utilize the bus garage in a different way to benefit our students and staff,” she said.
Gray circled back to the practice field development and pulled up a slide that asked, “Why the practice field?”
Some of the reasons provided were that it is owned by the district and can be used to address several needs — maintenance, transportation, athletics and storage, and it is in close proximity to the McClain campus. Also, the district has worked for more than a year with the village on things like curb cuts, sidewalks, storm water flow and lighting. The goal is to continue the collaboration.
She also addressed the question about not putting the new bus garage on the property off Fifth Street, which was the plan in the pre-design phase. What was found, she said, is that it wasn’t cost-efficient to put the bus garage there and still accommodate the athletic fields. Gray said there had also been questions about the Mill Street extension and the district’s involvement in that, but that was solely a village project, she said.
“As a district we have been very fortunate that we have been able to provide to our staff what we need for education,” Gray said. “We are here to educate kids. And our staff is blessed to have the resources that they have. But in addition to being able to educate kids, we are also here to support kids in other activities that they are involved in and so we want to be able to provide for them and our staff members, too.”
Gray shared a slide of the practice field development plans and noted that the building is designed with a brick facade so it looks like the rest of the district’s buildings. She pointed out the addition of sidewalks where there currently are none, and said the goal is to make the practice field “a safe area that people can access and walk and enjoy time outside.” The field areas will continue to be open to whomever wants to use them for play, the same with the basketball courts. It is well known how the community uses the practice field and Gray said the district wants that to continue.
The superintendent then provided a brief update on COVID-19, displaying numbers from this school year versus last school year, with this year’s being much higher. She said handling the variants this year has been a challenge, but that the goal continues to be to keep students in school and to maintain activities when it is possible to do so safely. The district continues to maintain a COVID tracker. Go to www.greenfield.k12.oh.us, then mouse over the “Our District” in the banner. The tracker is in the drop-down menu.
The program began with Gray highlighting topics including enrollment that is is around 1,900 students across the three elementaries, the middle school, and the high school; the district spans about 164 square miles; 13.7 percent of students are those with disabilities, which Gray said was typical of districts in the region; and 48.65 percent of students are economically disadvantaged.
The superintendent talked about the district’s vision — a Legacy of Leadership. Gray said she works with students about what it means to be a leader and how anyone can be a leader.
The district continually works to accomplish the mission, she said, which is to grow students to be whole, contributing citizens, which means going beyond academics and also supporting their social-emotional well being and making sure students have a plan after graduation.
She spoke about the district leadership team, which consists of administrators, teachers and certified staff. The team meets monthly to review data, hear input from building leaders, and make important decisions for the district.
The team concept, she said, extends across the district, with building leadership teams and teacher-based teams. The system ensures that information flows, that there is balance, and that everyone has the opportunity for input.
Director of instruction Alisa Barrett provided an update on the district’s multi-year visible learning plan begun last year. The first year’s focus was on learner dispositions and clarity in teaching and learning. In building on that first year of visible learning, this year staff and students began on feedback, both learning to provide it and receive it, and then to use it.
The objective of the visible learning plan is “to build a culture of visible learning and a legacy of leadership that empowers all students and staff to embrace challenges, persevere, take ownership, and continuously grow as engaged learners,” Barrett said.
The learner dispositions – taking ownership, embracing challenges, persevering, continually growing and being engaged – were detailed more in the presentation by Greenfield Elementary Assistant Principal Lindsay McNeal. She talked about PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports), which is a shifting from punitive measures to positive interactions and changing the mindset of how desired behaviors are achieved.
Special programs director Heather Dratwa spoke about the district’s autism team, which is new this school year as part of a pilot program with three other school districts. The district is involved in the program so that administrators, teachers and staff are better able to address the unique needs of all students in the district. The team, as well as a support person in each building, will be able to provide guidance and resources to teachers when they have a student experiencing challenges. The program is supported through the Region 14-Hopewell Center in Hillsboro and Ohio Coalition of Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI).
Gray discussed transportation and safety. She said that every day 18 buses and two vehicles cover more than 2,000 miles and transport more than 1,000 students. This year the district has been able to maintain in-town stops for elementary students. The department consists of 16 full-time bus drivers, 10 substitute drivers, two mechanics, a van driver, an office assistant and a supervisor. The transportation office can be reached 937-981-2620.
Gray said safety is continually assessed. Recent activity on that front has included additional cameras and vape detectors, the latter of which detects when a vape is being used in its vicinity. Safety drills are also an important part of the district plans so that everyone is as prepared as possible in the event of an actual emergency.
The superintendent discussed recent vulnerability assessments that evaluate how vulnerable a building is to a specific threat. The assessments were done as a requirement for a grant application. The district’s buildings, she said, scored “pretty high.”
To watch the 2022 State of the District presentation, go to the district’s Facebook page.
Angela Shepherd is a correspondent for the Greenfield Exempted Village School District.