Dayton student athletes screwed all over again

Apparently a new “policy” came from the State today- kids at charters who participate in sports at public schools- must play for the school closest to their home, not the school closest to their other school.

Kids who go to DECA and have played at Belmont for years, now are being told they have to go to Meadowdale.

Only two slight problems- DECA gets out at 3:30, Belmont gets out at 3:40 and Meadowdale, all the way across the city- gets out at 2:30. DECA is literally a 10 minute bike ride to Belmont.

Beam me up Scotty, no signs of intelligent life here.

Supposedly this came down from OHSAA, which has no idea of how convoluted our district is.

This isn’t about the kids, it’s not for the kids, it’s payback for DPS hiring Mark “the cheater” Baker to a two year contract.

It’s time this entire board goes, Baker goes, and someone gets fired for stealing the money from the gates of whatever sporting events were stolen.

The buck, literally, has to stop somewhere and soon.

This policy is insane, as is the entire premise of local control if this rule is allowed to stand.

Parents are livid. Kids are crying. Who benefits from this policy?

Update: 9:45 PM- here is the actual rule from the State. It was created for 2007-08 school year- but updated April 2017

In other words, our District AD knew back in April (or should have) and sat on it.

Rule 1- if you don’t want to download the PDF (Which I’ve attached) here is the key language:

“For a matriculating 9th grade student whose parents live within the district and the student is a nontraditional/specialty student, home educated student, community school student, STEM school student or a non-public school student wanting to utilize Bylaw 4-3-1 exception 4 or 6 to participate in athletics at a high school where they are not enrolled, the district shall assign these students to the high school nearest to their parents’ residence within the district or, if separate attendance zones have been created, to the closest high school within the attendance zone of their parents’ residence regardless of whether that member school is poor performing. (* **See “notes” for additional information regarding non-public school students and home educated students). Note also that parents who live outside this multiple high school district may choose to send a 9th grade student to a non-traditional/specialty school within the district. Such a student shall be assigned for athletics at the district high school which is closest to the parents’ residence outside the district.

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PDF_ click to download


Dayton Public Schools has changed

As he’s getting ready to slip out of town, Dr. Kurt Stanic is owed some accolades. If you’ve met him- you’d probably realize he’s the epitome of public servant: he does his job with passion, and doesn’t like to take the credit. While he’ll probably be remembered by most for wanting to tear down Julienne, his real legacy is the progress made at the high school level.

All of the Dayton Public School high schools are now engaging students and running tight ships. No more wild kids running the buildings- no more questions of who is in charge. Learning is taking place and the scores are bumping up.

It all starts with the principal- and Erin Dooley at Stivers was the first to set things straight. It was also going on at DECA- with Tim Nealon, but as a funky joint venture- they were sort of off the radar. Next came Dooley protegee David Lawrence at Thurgood Marshall- and Marlayna Randolph at Dunbar. I predicted Lawrence’s transformational skills on this site- only to be laughed at. With Gates scholars, higher test scores, better attendance and even championship basketball teams, Thurgood Marshall is becoming a school of choice- not last resort.

Today the DDN reports on Dunbar:

The state report card released last August showed the Wolverines moving up to continuous improvement, the equivalent of a C. That’s after a decade of mostly Fs. The 600-pupil school also improved in every subject area on the Ohio Graduation Test from the previous year.

So what’s different at Dunbar these days?

“We’re really trying to focus on student engagement, doing a lot of activities centered around making (lessons) relevant to real-life situations for them,” said Principal Marlayna Randolph, who’s in her second year in the job.

via Dunbar’s classroom standing on the rise.

The progress is happening with the same student population, the same teachers for the most part, and some would say the new buildings are helping too. While new paint and walls do send a message, I’m betting that new buildings are only a small part of the answer (although the security systems and monitoring are much better than in old buildings).

The real change has been leadership- from Stanic on down. Even the school board has a new found belief in goal setting and management by objective. While the board still can’t figure out the advantages of open government and properly holding meetings and doing bids properly, they do understand that you have to let the Superintendent exercise his power.

The last remaining problem is image. Busing was finally totally over last week- after 40 years of failure. The damage was done- and its effects will probably stay with us the same as a limb amputation (it caused economic segregation to replace racial segregation within the district). The only thing that can undo it is for all the schools to have Stivers like performance, and to restore the perception of safety in Dayton proper.

A tall order.

Dr. Stanic has named Lori Ward as his replacement. The true mark of any leader in my book is how well they’ve prepared their successors. If Ward accomplishes half of what Stanic did in his short reign, Dayton Public Schools will be taken seriously as a system of choice.

DECA: part 2

The Dayton Early College Academy or DECA is an innovative high school that is taking at risk students and pushing them to complete a 2-year associates degree by the time they graduate high school. I’ve had students from the school intern at my business and have been a guest at the school several times.

It’s located in an old NCR building on Brown Street, what used to be across from UD- but since they bought more land- I guess we could call it in the center of campus now.  Because of the levy failure, Dayton Public Schools was going to close it- so UD took it over and now it’s a charter school.

Not too many high school students get a former Governor for a teacher, but the group I listened to on Wednesday did. Their assignment was to take a politically charged subject and make a presentation- using powerpoint to support their presentation. The topics were tough: immigration, convict to citizen, stem cell research, crime in Dayton, racism. The presentations were supposed to be 10 minutes in length with a few minutes after each one for questions. It was required that they had to do research from multiple sources, cite their sources and establish a position.

Sometimes the hardest part was naming the presentation- or writing the headline. The presenters on convict to citizen started their presentation with the title “Felonies” which didn’t properly prepare the audience for what was to come. It’s a difficult subject to say the least, but starting with a weak lead makes it harder to have a strong presentation. I’ve tried to tackle this subject myself on this site Esrati on prisons. They started out with a story, using students from the audience to give faces to the characters, but, I instantly knew they were telling the story of Derek Farmer before they told me they were. The picking of the exception to use as an example to prove a point isn’t always the strongest solution. After one of the presentations- probably this one, I asked the audience how many of them knew someone in prison- when over half the kids raised their hands, it was clear that this school is working with a different demographic than Oakwood.

By the end of the presentations, with the exception of talking about stem cell research, most of the topics were ones I had covered at one time or another here in one form or another. Universally, the one thing that I’ve always thought was common practice was missing- the final slide, either thanking the audience, or reinforcing the final position. Great presenters work hard at building to a conclusive end, these presentations almost always ended with closing the power point presentation. Continue reading

Hanging out with former governor Taft at DECA

I spent a few hours listening to student presentations today at DECA. That’s the former conversion high school that was jointly run with UD- but is now a UD run charter school.

Some of the students showed exceptional poise, all of them had done their homework, and it was good to see them digging into the issues.

As always, I was questioned for my actions when I stopped a team who had run 50% over their time and were no where near their close. Apparently I hadn’t gotten the message that the 10 minute times clearly marked on the program- weren’t to be applied and that this wasn’t a competition or about grading.

I’d like to write more about this- however it’s 12:45pm and I have to teach Websitetology in the morning. So, check this post again in a day or two. I hope to have some additional thoughts to add. Thanks to Devon Berry for the invitation and to Principal Judy Hennessey for the opportunity to be involved with such talented students.

Dayton Public Schools- Now what?

Reality: the big levy got whupped, programs were cut, more students will leave because of program cuts, funding drops as students leave, and now- because the skip to “Continuous improvement” was because of an incentive portion of the scoring system, not an actual huge gain, you’re one year away from State intervention- with no real plan in place to turn the schools around.

Place a bet this where Dr. Mack cuts and runs (retires or takes a job elsewhere)- throwing the system into even more turmoil. Here is part of what the DDN reported today:

Dayton schools slip in report
Dayton was rated in academic watch based on test scores, attendance and graduation rate — the fourth of five state rating categories. Last year, the district leaped to the middle category, continuous improvement, after years in academic emergency.

The district was second worst in Ohio for both the number of state standards met — two of 30 — and for performance index score, the state’s measure of test performance across all grades.

Even though DPS has some shining examples of success, like Stivers- one of the others, DECA- got tossed aside when the levy failed. You can’t attract quality students when you cut your options on quality programs.

Surprisingly, today, Oakwood announced that they are placing a levy on the November ballot. Why can Oakwood place a levy on the ballot at the same time as the precious Human Services Levy- and Dayton can’t? Because Oakwood voters know and understand the value of their schools- and there aren’t enough Oakwood voters who would be choosing between groceries and property taxes. However, it’s sad that DPS has been banned from the ballot box for at least a year because the people who believe they are in charge of this city- said don’t do it.

Here is the thing: No amount of new taxes are going to save the Dayton Public Schools as long as they keep doing what they are doing. Second worst scores in the State says the “reforms” aren’t really working.

Here is a shortened version of a turnaround plan:

  • New brand name: Dayton Public. It doesn’t sound like much- but it can bring a new attitude to a school district that has no business calling itself a “School” until it’s not the second worst district in the State. New logo too- Tough- not the childlike blocks and scrawl they have now. Maybe LA Raiders Black and Silver. We’re not some pansy’s here with baby blue and gold.
  • New Technology: All students will be issued an Apple MacBook. All textbooks, educational materials will be delivered digitally. All tests will be taken via a computer. Total elimination of paper. Why Apple- because it’s the computer of the “creative class”- and it’s easier to support and it can run Windows if need be. The iLife application suite that comes with a standard Mac outperforms anything on Windows. Yes, they cost more- but you get more.
  • WiFi for Everyone: The city will implement an ultra-hi speed wireless Internet for all citizens in the DPS. Students will have free access on their computers. City services will have access- Police and Fire etc. The rest of us will have the option of buying access for $10 a month. This system will be faster than DSL or Roadrunner. The system will be run by students as a profit center to support the school system. It will be an educational resource and a community resource- and it will help make the need for levys less severe- and offering the taxpayers something in return. The system will have logins for everyone else who doesn’t pay the fee- but they will be subjected to local advertising that is sold by the students to help raise revenue for the schools. Note: UD has Flyer Enterprises, where students run the mini-mart and coffee shops on campus. Similar model. Also- along with selling ads for the Wi-Fi network- students will be able to sell ads on School buses- and be the agents for selling ads on RTA buses with all revenue going to DPS. (The RTA director already was willing to write off the bus ad revenue- so why not give it to support his biggest customer?)
  • Sports: Dayton is the largest district. Dayton has the largest pool of top athletic talent. So, instead of fielding 5 high school football teams- with the talent divided- let’s have ONE TEAM. Yes, I know you’ll immediately cry about less participation- but, that’s not true. We would have multiple “reserve” or “JV” or club teams. We would also participate in more High School Sports. Right now- no Dayton High School would be able to support a gymnastics team- and barely a swim team- but with the One Team- we could have more opportunities for more sports. Besides starting to win every sport in the state- and gaining pride in our Schools- we’d also start seeing parents who want their kids to go off on sports scholarships transferring to the DPS.
  • Sports Facilities: Although it is too late to stop building gyms in new schools- all efforts would be centralized on the Parkside homes location- The Dayton Sportsplex. This facility, in combination with the existing Kettering fields, the coming Kroc Center, would be a place where the entire region would come together for sports. Coupled with 5/3rd Field, the UD sports complex surrounding UD Arena and Welcome Stadium- anyone driving through Dayton on I-75 would think they’d just passed an Olympic Village. Sports tourism would take off- and Dayton would be a leader in Youth sports. The facility would include a true Olympic pool, a velodrome, ice rink, speed skating rink, gymnastics facilities, indoor football practice field, indoor and outdoor soccer facilities, indoor and outdoor weight training facilities (think Venice beach)- etc.
  • Centralized tutoring, enrichment, A/P building: Directly connected to Sportsplex would be a central after school education facility for the whole district. Community volunteers would be able to reach kids across the city- in one place. In order to use the sportsplex, kids in academic trouble would first have to complete extra credit in the EdPlex. This building would also house the new Dayton Public Main Library. Arts activities would be conducted at the Dayton Playhouse/Riverbend Arts center, Science could be conducted as an extension of the Boonshoft Museum. All could be linked with a futuristic tram or monorail. This would be the afterschool destination for kids- instead of Third and Main.
  • Rewards for Academic achievement: All students would be tracked with a “Health Index” much like a video game- a concept kids fully understand. Missed classes, missed assignments, poor grades will lower their health score, achieving – will increase it. This score would be held on a student swipe card- that would grant access to the sportsplex- or to other benefits, like special access to online communities on their laptop. No Show- no myspace or facebook. Whoa. If a student graduates- and has maintained at least X on his “Health Index” s/he would be eligible to keep the laptop- and continue to Sinclair on a full ride- as long as the “Health Index” remains healthy. Note, points would be deducted for negative behaviors such as getting pregnant, arrested, failing drug tests etc- throughout this program. Kids understand how rules work in video games- they understand how they work in real life too if they are clear.

This was the brief brain dump.

If Dayton Public presented this plan as part of a levy campaign- with giving all residents tangible benefits- not just a school system that educates, the levy would pass- and our kids would have a fighting chance.

If you’ve got a better plan- or a better idea- feel free to enter it below. You can snipe, sneer, whine all you want, but, so far- no one has come up with anything that doesn’t sound any different than what has been done before. And, that, as we know- defines insanity.