PORTSMOUTH — Information shared at the the Portsmouth City School District (PCSD) Educational Forum held Thursday at Portsmouth High School was evidence that the District is on an upward spiral in pursuit of not only improvement, but excellence.
Thursday’s Educational Forum opened on a high, positive note, in which Superintendent Scott Dutey recognized two PCSD administrators, Charles Kemp and Dana Pollock, who both recently earned doctoral degrees.
“Charles Kemp and Dana Pollock can now put DRS behind their names, those who have gone through similar type things, and those who haven’t, which I will put myself in that category, the work, and the time and commitment and the dollars that go into that,” Dutey said. “Certainly you are to be commended and we do appreciate them and all that they do for our district as well. We will definitely utilize their talent as we go forth. I wanted to recognize them.”
Dutey, wasted no time in discussing how impact directly affects student outcome.
“When you think about education you think about the impact that specific things have on student outcomes, student learning,” Dutey said. “One of them we’ve talked about quite a bit and that’s the work of the teachers both in the classroom, and in their team meetings. Whether its content-specific, or grade level-specific, the conversations that they have every day about teaching and learning.
Two questions posed, “Where are the kids right now?” and What can we do to either bring them up to where they need to be, or push them forward for those that are there?”
“That’s the conversation that has to happen each and every day, it has a huge impact on student performance,” Dutey said. “The other, when you think about affect, size and impact is leadership. Building leadership. What is going on in the buildings with the leadership teams, and what is going to influence student performance? I can tell you that over the last few weeks, I’ve spent a lot of time working with myself and administrators on things we can do in the buildings ourselves that’s going to have an impact both for our teachers, and our students and our families.”
Dutey went on to disclose one of the tools the District has been utilizing, which is a book written by The Ohio State University football team coach, Urban Meyer entitled, “Above the Line.” He said being OSU fans is not the reason they purchased the book.
“The reason that got this book, and the reason that we’ve been talking about it for the last several months is because of the leadership characteristics, and leadership traits that Urban Meyer and his football team and his coaching staff have been utilizing,” Dutey said.
Josh Morris and Shane Rhea who work as assistant principals in the PCSD, expounded upon the information they have extracted in reading Above the Line.
“Scott mentioned that we have to move forward with our students,with our staff, but the first place when we look at moving forward is have to look is at ourselves if we expect other people to get better around us,” Morris said.
Morris gave a break down of the “Above the Line concept.”
“Above – intentional, on purpose, skillful,” Morris explained. “Below the line is – impulsive, on accident, resistant.”
“In reading the book, Mr. Dutey has instilled in us to get above the line, and the thing that stuck out to me in the book was trust,” Rhea said. “He wants us to trust in each other, to feed off of one another and to help lead our District in the right direction.”
Other information discovered in Meyer’s book, which Morris and Rhea talked about, is “bcd,” or blame, complain, defend.
“If we want to get better, we have to get past this bcd mindset,” Morris said.
Doug Poage, Director of Operations of PCSD, addressed the group regarding safety training.
A tip-line is now a part of the District, which students can anonymously divulge information that administrators through a tip-line that reaches the Ohio Department of Education, and then filters through to Poage. Poage would then notify building principals, the resource officer and all other necessary parties as needed.
Poage also shared that on April 7, PCSD will have an inservice day dedicated to school safety, which will focus on some very critical issues.
Portsmouth High School Principal Amy Hughes updated the group of the advertisting in the Daily Times of PHS student ACT scores. Holding up the advertisement, Hughes explained to the group what the students had accomplished.
“The way we divided it up is, their scores in one subject at least were in the top 10 percent nation wide, this group right here was in the 99 percentile, and we had one student who received a perfect score,” Hughes said.
PCSD is also proud to perform the Broadway musical, “Aida,” the first weekend in April, which fwill feature an African American female student in the lead role, something that has never been done at PHS, according to Hughes.
Hughes also explained to the group on teacher Arthur Lard who was featured on the front page of the February 2016 edition of the Ohio Schools magazine and his award implementation of a financial literacy program in his classroom. Lard was present and spoke to the group as well.
The positive information regarding PCSD continued with an update by first grade teacher, Kathi Cassity of the wonderful progress with the Level Literacy Interventon program being implemented in Portsmouth Elementary.
Principal of East Portsmouth Elementary, Kristi Toppins, highlighted a book composed by third grade teacher at EPE, Sheri Mougey, who completed a book with her class entitled, “Do You Know These Fascinating Facts?”
The last PCSD Educational Forum for the 2015-2016 school year will convene May 12, at 11:30 a.m.
Reach Portia Williams at 740-353-3101, ext. 1929, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.