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  • Superintendent’s Message

    January, 2019

    Dale L. Dickson

     

                    Have you ever heard people talk about how fast time seems to be flying by?  The older I get the more I feel that time is truly passing by more quickly. But is it age that makes time seem to move more quickly?  Or is it the “busyness” of life, our wants, and our desires that causes us to keep our mind so occupied that we fail to enjoy and appreciate each minute of every day?  We get so busy that when we do take time to pause, we look back and say “Wow!” Where did time go?  I recently spent some time recovering from a surgery which “made” me pause from the “busyness” and reflect upon just how much our school district has accomplished in recent years.  Let’s just pause for a moment to consider what we currently have in public education and in our school district.

    1. In Ohio our students are learning more, achieving more and experiencing more success than at any other time in the history of our great state.
    2. Even with the increased rigor of the curriculum, high stakes testing, and social challenges of our times, Ohio’s students are graduating at a rate higher than at any other time in history.
    3. Johnstown-Monroe Local Schools, its teachers, its administrators and board, have continually worked to improve instruction and provide for the opportunities for students to improve academic achievement. Currently we are working to narrow the scope of the vast state curriculum to the most critical concepts and develop proficiency scales so that teachers, administrators, parents and students can track more efficiently what students know, and what students need to know to be successful.
    4. Although we continue to focus on meeting the mandated academic requirements of the State of Ohio, implementing the required testing and curriculum, we also realize the importance of teaching students those skills that we constantly hear from business owners are of utmost importance. Business owners tell us that they want employees who realize the importance of being on time, working in a conscientious way for the good of a company or organization, able to work cooperatively with others on a team of workers, able to pass a drug screening test and be able to walk up to an employer, look them in the eye while they shake their hand, and tell the employer about themselves.  Our students gain these skills not only in the classroom experience; but, through their participation in extra-curricular, co-curricular programs and clubs. Did you know that over 90% of our high school students participate in extra-curricular or co-curricular programs (i.e. band, athletics, choir, musicals, school clubs, etc.)?  
    5. In the past five years the Johnstown-Monroe Local Schools have constructed and opened a new elementary facility and new high school facility. We have completely renovated the high school building which is now used to serve as our middle school.  We have created a compliant and safer stadium facility by re-constructing and re-surfacing the stadium field and track.  We are under construction to replace the stadium facility that was lost to fire in December, 2017.  We have demolished the old Adams and Oregon school buildings and are excavating that 15-acre site for future use in service to our students and community.  We are constructing a new softball field to replace the one displaced by our new high school.  We will be improving underground infrastructure and repaving the parking lots in front of the middle school, Performing Arts Center, and Educational Center this coming summer.  And we are working to make appropriate renovations to the Educational Center to accommodate our growing enrollment of students.
    6. The district has put in place new management practices and protocols to protect the taxpayer’s investment in the schools. These practices and protocols include: improved facility use controls, improved paperless internal business processes, improved efficiency of technology services, improved security systems, improved safety protocols, improved controls on budgeting and appropriations and efficient management of more than $50 million in facility improvement projects.
    7. The district’s student athletes, band members, vocal music students and actors continue to improve and perform in extraordinary fashion. Our community rallies behind our students in amazing ways to support the extra-curricular and co-curricular programs that we are fortunate to be able to provide. 
    8. Our community is amazingly supportive of our schools. Parents, alumni, businesses, village, township and county government officials, and foundations have supported our efforts to improve educational opportunities for our students via donations, passage of our income tax and emergency property tax renewals, volunteering, providing services, and providing quality positive input at many levels. 

     When we pause to reflect upon the many blessings we enjoy in our school district, we realize just how special a place is the Johnstown-Monroe Local Schools.  Great students, great parents great staff and great community.  As with any public service or organization we will always have a certain number of people who want more, will offer up complaints and view the glass as being half empty.  And we as district staff, district administration and board of education must never cease in our efforts to continually improve.  However, it is so very important that along the way we do not become so enthralled in the “busyness” of what we do, or so focused on our individual wants and desires, that we fail to pause and ‘smell the roses’, and perhaps show our appreciation, along the way.  We have much to celebrate in our school district and perhaps time will not appear to fly by so quickly if we conscientiously pause to realize and cherish what we already have.     

     

     

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