Batavia Local Schools

Dedicated to Excellence

800 Bauer Avenue
Batavia, OH 45103
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Bulldog Bulletin

Bulldog Bulletin
Keith Millard's Blog Page
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Bulldog Bulletin - December 2, 2017
Posted 12/2/2017 at 10:24:41 AM by Keith Millard [staff member]
A few quick updates for this edition of the Bulletin:
 
First, our winter athletic season is now underway.  The most current schedules can be found on Arbiter Live: http://www.arbiterlive.com/Teams?entityId=1263  Also, any last minute event information is posted to Twitter and can be followed @BataviaSports
 
Second, at the Board of Education meeting on Monday the calendars for the 2018-2019 and the 2019-2020 school years were approved.  Click here to be re-drected to the District webpage where they are posted and available for download.
 
Finally, I want to extend my appreciation to the Board and the entire Batavia Schools family for the opportunity to continue to serve as Superintendent through 2023.  At the Board meeting a new five year contract was approved which begins at the conclusion of the current school year.  On a personal note, I am grateful each day to have the opportunity to work in such a great place, and believe that there are lots of positive things ahead for the District.  A special thanks to everyone who I work and interact with on a daily basis that collectively make Batavia a wonderful learning enviornment for students.
 
The next Bulldog Bulletin will be published on December 16, 2017
 
All the best,
 
Keith 
 
 
Bulldog Bulletin - November 18, 2017
Posted 11/18/2017 at 8:20:01 AM by Keith Millard [staff member]

One of the initiatives for this school year has been to take a close look at Districtwide attendance and put measures in place to reduce absence rates for students.  This has been done partially in response to the new State law on truancy reform (House Bill 410), but also out of a desire to improve overall student achievement and outcomes by examining barriers to strong daily attendance patterns.


This week I provided a report to the Board of Education that looked at our progress so far in the categories of excused absences, unexcused absences, and tardies when comparing last school year to this school year.


At the elementary school, attendance rates in all three categories are about steady with last year when additional student enrollment numbers are factored in (which is a positive considering that half of the District is in this building!)


At the middle school, there has been an almost eight (8) percent decrease in excused absences, and and almost fourteen (14) percent decrease in tardies to school when comparing last year to this year.


The high school has seen the most dramatic decreases so far, with a twenty (20) percent decrease in excused absences, a twenty two (22) percent decrease in unexcused absences, and an amazing forty nine (49) percent decrease in tardies when comparing this point in the school year to last year.


I am proud of the efforts of our teachers, administrators, staff members, parents, and students who have made this a priority, and the early evidence shows that we are making a big impact in an area that will have a positive effect on student achievement throughout the District.


Also this week, another plug for our upcoming Holiday Concert Series.  The website has been updated with these events, and you can access the entire series schedule by clicking on this link.


Finally, it’s hard to believe that somehow Thanksgiving has once again snuck up on us and the holiday season is now here.  As Superintendent, I am lucky to have the opportunity to travel the District each day and interact with so many parents, staff members, and students who are all making a difference and doing great things both inside the schools and for the larger Batavia community.  I am personally thankful each day for the opportunity to serve the school district, and am humbled by all of the great people I get the chance to work with each day.  In this season where we are reminded to count our blessings, there is much to be grateful for within our school district.

We will have school on Monday (11/20) and Tuesday (11/21), then will be off for Thanksgiving Break beginning Wednesday (11/22).  Students will return to school on Monday, November 27th.


The next Bulldog Bulletin will be published on Saturday, December 2nd.


All the best, and Happy Thanksgiving,


Keith


Bulldog Bulletin - November 4, 2017
Posted 11/3/2017 at 8:39:20 AM by Keith Millard [staff member]

This edition of the Bulletin will focus on upcoming important dates as we head into the holiday months of November and December, as well as an update on the next phases of the building project at Bulldog Place.


The turning of the calendar from November to December always brings important dates, including many fine arts performances that will be occurring.  We once again are grateful for the incredible performance space we have at the elementary school, and all performances will once again be in this location.


Monday, November 13 - 4th Grade Concert 6:30PM

Tuesday, December 5 - Middle and High School Choir Concerts 7:00PM

Thursday, December 7 - 2nd Grade Concert 6:30PM

Tuesday, December 12 - High School Band Concert 7:00PM

Tuesday, December 19 - Middle School Band Concert 7:00PM


In addition to our concert schedule, there are also several days where school will not be in session that are worth reminding about.


Tuesday, November 7 - No School (Election Day and Teacher Professional Development Day)

Wednesday, November 22 to Friday, November 24 - No School (Thanksgiving Holiday)

Thursday, December 21 to Tuesday, January 2 - No School (Winter Break)

Wednesday, January 3rd - First day of school after Winter Break


Finally, there are two important community events coming up in the District.


Saturday, November 4 (4:00 - 7:00PM) Rotary Spaghetti Dinner at Batavia High School, with proceeds benefitting the Rotary Scholarship Fund for high school seniors.  Tickets can be purchased at the door for $7.00


Saturday, November 11 (7:00 - 11:00PM) 4th Annual Bulldog Social at Norlyn Manor, with proceeds being used this year to complete the scoreboard project at Bulldog Place.  This event is almost sold out...to request tickets please contact Ben Stewart via email at: stewart_b@bataviaschools.org


This week there was also significant news on the next project that will be undertaken at Bulldog Place.  At the most recent Board meeting this past week, the Board of Education approved a resolution authorizing the District to solicit bids for the much needed replacement of the high school track.  This project continues our investment in the campus with a focus on projects that have a community wide and K-12 benefit.  Bids will be opened in early December and should the numbers return favorably the goal will be to complete the project in the Spring of 2018 in order for the Stadium and track to be ready for athletic use by the Summer of 2018.


A more detailed account of this project, and how it fits into the larger work that has been occurring on the campus can be found HERE.


In addition to the announcement of the track project, another piece of exciting news is the decision by the District to select SFA architects as the group that will work with us on the planning for the high school renovation and the construction of a new middle school at Bulldog Place should the November 2018 ballot issue be successful.  Planning for this type of major work has to occur well in advance of a proposed ballot issue, and it is our goal to have enough details ironed out to allow for community presentations early in 2018.  This past week we kicked off the planning process by conducting the first of several detailed walkthroughs of the existing high school, in order to fine tune the scope of the proposed renovation and targeted expansion of the building.


This type of work is always exciting, and our goal is to develop a final facilities plan that meets the needs of our growing student enrollment both from a physical building standpoint but also from a programming standpoint.


Don’t forget to turn your clocks back an hour this Saturday (November 4th) and also remember that this is an excellent time to test your smoke alarms and replace any 9 Volt batteries that may be providing power to smoke alarm units.


The next Bulldog Bulletin will be published on Saturday, November 18th.


All the best,


Keith


Bulldog Bulletin - October 22, 2017
Posted 10/22/2017 at 7:01:42 AM by Keith Millard [staff member]

I hope you have been enjoying the fall weather so far as we move into the last half of October. The updates in this week’s Bulletin focus on the ongoing efforts throughout the District to create a positive and supportive learning climate for students. While it is inevitable that people are going to behave in ways that we may not wish, the staff members at every building work hard everyday on reinforcing positive character traits in order to bring out the best qualities in students and create an atmosphere where all students feel valued and supported.

Specifically, there are three highlight pieces that underscore the work in this important area. First, this year the high school and middle school are engaged with High Schools That Work and Making Middle Grades Work. The partnership with these organizations is part of the commitment of the District to focus on continuous improvement for our buildings. At the core of these organizations are ten key practices that guide the work of buildings on this continuous improvement journey. Specifically, the focus areas of teacher collaboration, targeted student intervention, student engagement, and high expectations are all designed to create a strong learning community where students feel so valued and engaged that negative peer to peer behaviors are significantly diminished. While we realize the loftiness of this goal, the process of aligning the work of the buildings to a set of external, measurable standards is key in our journey towards this ideal state.

Second, this year the District was awarded a grant from the Clermont County Family and Children First Council to implement whole grade level character based days at grades 3, 7, and 10. The first of these days, ‘ReDo Day’, is coming up for our sophomores on Tuesday, October 24th. ReDo (Respect Engage Defend Overcome) Day is a powerful, high-energy program in which student and adult participants are guided through a series of experiential learning processes. The overall goals of the program are to embrace diversity, increase personal power and self acceptance, shift negative peer pressure to positive peer support, and to eliminate the acceptability of bullying behavior (mistreatment of others), violence, and all forms of oppression. The program is designed to unite members of the school and community to carry forth the message of respect and caring for all. We are very excited about this opportunity for our sophomores and look forward to seeing the positive benefits of this day. Later this year, our 7th graders will once again participate in the ‘Courage Retreat’, and our 3rd grade students will have Jim Jones back as a special guest speaker on the power of positive thinking and relationships.

Finally, we are once again participating in the Clermont County Prevention First! Youth Survey (also known as the Pride Survey) this year at the middle and high schools. This once every other year survey is designed to provide anonymous data on student attitudes towards a variety of issues and inform schools and Districts about trends that may need to be addressed within the school community. The value in this data is that it provides a glimpse at trends over time and give us insights into how to best design and implement programs within the school day to meet the needs of students. As the survey is anonymous, results are never linked to an individual student, and all data that comes back is aggregated at the building and District levels. To learn more about the survey, or to request a copy to preview, please click HERE. Should you wish to not have your child participate, please contact your child’s building principal.

On a daily basis there are numerous things that occur which are all designed to make the student experience special and positive in Batavia. The work that is occurring to align practices between the three buildings is focused on creating the best learning climate possible for our students.

I hope second quarter is off to a strong start for you and your family.

The next Bulldog Bulletin will be published on Saturday, November 4th

All the best,


Keith

A quick P.S. this week with a brand new aerial shot of the campus with the completed tennis courts, walkway, and baseball/softball plaza.
 
 

Bulldog Bulletin - October 7, 2017
Posted 10/7/2017 at 10:13:04 PM by Keith Millard [staff member]
This week will finish out the building spotlight series with a focus on the elementary school.  It's hard to believe that it's been over a year since we moved in, and yet in many ways it feels like we've been here for a much longer time.
 
Looking back on 215 Broadway, I am amazed at how much was able to be done with students given the limits on the space that had to be overcome on a daily basis.  The learning spaces at 3 Bulldog Place are fully utilized every day and make such a difference for our students.  In past bulletins we have talked about the classroom spaces and what an improvement they are for learning.  Below are several photos that explore some of the less promoted spaces that benefit student learning each day:
 
 
Our students have benefited from the gym and the flexibility it provides for PE class as well as our playgrounds which provide lots of room for the students to run and play. 
 
 
 
 
The new building contains a number of flexible learning spaces that allows for all kinds of instructional opportunities. 
 
 
 
 
 
The fine arts and library spaces also give students plenty of room to read and explore the arts in ways not possible in the old building.
 
It has been such a successful first year, and we are very thankful for the community support that allowed this building to be constructed and for the benefit it provides to the students.
 
Finally, I wanted to take the opportunity to once again share our protocols for when we will and will not communicate with families in the event of circumstances that could potentially alter District operations.  As senseless events continue to dominate the headlines, it is important to work on keeping a healthy perspective and remember that these events, while horrible, are statistically small when compared to the entire population of the country.
 
That being said, there continues to not be a week that goes by where safety planning doesn't take place in the District, and we continue our commitment to work towards providing the safest and most secure learning climate possible.  For students who are experiencing issues in school or have knowledge of situations that could put the safety of themselves or others at risk, we absolutely encourage telling a staff member immediately, or using the Safe School Helpline to make a report.  Below is a reprint from a Bulldog Bulletin in October 2016 with our communication protocols:
 
In the event that there is a building or campus lockdown, building evacuation due to fire or a credible threat, campus evacuation to an alternative site due to safety reasons, or the cancellation of school due to weather, we WILL use the voice calling feature and the email notification system from One Call Now, the official District and building Twitter accounts, and the District Facebook page.

There will be times however where we WILL NOT use our communication systems to send instant notifications. These include times when students make non-credible or non-actionable threats, instances where investigations occur that do not lead to a lockdown situation, regularly scheduled safety drills, or scenarios where there may be issues near our schools that do not impact building operations or the safety of our students.

The general rule of thumb should be that in the absence of a communication from the District, students are safe, the campuses are secure, and learning is occurring as normal.

Should you have specific questions regarding building safety and security measures, please contact your building principal either by phone or email in order to have your questions addressed.
 
Thank you again for your support of Batavia.  The first quarter ends on Friday, October 13, and we will be off on Monday, October 16th for fall break.  Students will return on Tuesday, October 17th to begin the second quarter.
 
The next Bulldog Bulletin will be published on Saturday, October 21st.
 
All the best,
 
Keith 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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