Keith Millard's Blog Page
Bulldog Bulletin - June 18, 2018
Posted 6/18/2018 at 9:27:29 PM by Keith Millard [staff member]
This evening at the Board of Education meeting Mr. Tim Derickson was officially approved as the next Principal of Batavia High School. Mr. Derickson has served as the Assistant Principal at the high school for the past three years and brings over fifteen years of successful classroom experience to the position as well.
The process for selecting the next principal was informed in large part by input from staff and community members. A strong vision and sense of purpose for the high school, an innovator's mindset, the ability to clearly communicate, and an understanding about future trends in education were all qualities highly valued in the staff and community feedback and are all strengths that Mr. Derickson possesses.
I am excited to have Mr. Derickson assume the principal’s role, and believe that he will do an excellent job continuing the initiatives currently underway at the high school and working collaboratively with the staff, students, and community to chart the future direction for the building.
This fall the new learning commons, new fabrication studio, and new engineering classes will all be coming on line at the high school, along with expanded course opportunities in our English and Science departments. It is an exciting time to be a Bulldog at Batavia High School and I hope you will join me in extending a warm welcome to Mr. Derickson as he transitions into his new role as building principal.
All the best,
Bulldog Bulletin - May 25, 2018
Posted 5/25/2018 at 3:07:16 PM by Keith Millard [staff member]
There are several notable sharing events that have come up in the past week that are worthy of a special edition of the Bulldog Bulletin.
At the Board meeting on Wednesday night approval was given for three important partnerships. First, I am happy to announce that beginning this fall the District will have a full time resource officer, which will be provided through a joint partnership between the Village of Batavia and the District. Work has been going on in the background for the past six months to make this a reality, and we are grateful for the support of the Village in our ongoing efforts to provide safe and secure learning environments for our students. Second, the Board approved an extension of our partnership with Mercy Health for athletic training services for the next four years. This partnership will continue to enhance opportunities for student athletes, and also paves the way for the potential of a school based health clinic in the future once the master facilities plan is completed. Finally, the Board formally approved the scope of the master facilities plan with the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission, which will allow our project to be considered for approval at the State level this July. This important step moves us closer to the November ballot issue in order to make the final phase of the master facilities plan a reality.
The next piece of big news comes from the high school, were Mrs. Grooms has announced that she is stepping away from the principalship in order to return to her previous role as one of our high school counselors. Over the past three years Mrs. Grooms has dedicated herself in tireless service to the building, staff, and students, with the high school making major strides under her leadership. As she shared with the staff at the end of the year meeting on Thursday, being the Principal of a high school takes an extraordinary time commitment, and with a family that includes middle and high school age children of her own, she felt the time was right to take a step back and be able to focus on continuing to serve the students of Batavia while also being able to better balance her personal life. I am deeply appreciative for Mrs. Grooms service over these past three years, and I am glad that she will be continuing in her service to the District in the high school guidance office. We are currently working on outlining the process for identifying candidates for the high school principal position and will be working to have a candidate in place for approval by the June Board meeting.
Finally, the students have only been gone a little over 36 hours and a major campus project has been checked off the list. With so much foot traffic at Bulldog Place, a number of barren spots in the grass have appeared (including a giant one where our elementary students play kickball each day!). Our maintenance and custodial staff spent the past two days spreading load after load of topsoil, and then applied seed and straw to ensure we have the maximum amount of time over the summer to establish the grass before students return in August. We are well on our way to having the campus look better than ever when the school year starts. For pictures of this project, click here.
Similar to the past few summers, the Bulldog Bulletin will take a bit of a break, and will be published on June 30th and July 28th before resuming the normal bi-weekly publication schedule on Saturday, August 11th.
Wishing you and your family an enjoyable summer,
Bulldog Bulletin - May 19, 2018
Posted 5/19/2018 at 6:35:19 AM by Keith Millard [staff member]
While every graduation day is special, the ceremony for the Class of 2018 will be remembered for the conferring of a diploma to Mr. Ed Shinkle, Class of 1958, who left high school after his junior year to serve our country in the Navy and returned 60 years later to complete his Batavia High School journey. It was a very touching moment, and special thanks go out to the members of the Class of 1958 who attended the ceremony in support of Mr. Shinkle. In addition, the evening featured an outstanding senior class address by Mary Bradburn, and a special commencement address by Representative Brad Wenstrup that focused on the importance of committing to service and ideals above self. A photo gallery from Channel 12’s coverage of the evening can be found by clicking HERE, and the social media feed from the evening can be found HERE.
This coming Wednesday is the final day of school for the year, and classes for the 2018-2019 school year will be resuming on Wednesday, August 15th. Over the next few months there will continue to be lots of activity at the buildings, as summer maintenance gets underway and we host a number of summer sports and activity camps. Information on these events will continue to be posted to each building’s website. Of note for all athletes in grades 7-12 is the opportunity to obtain a sports physical for only $20 at the High School on Monday evening (May 21st). The athletic department is once again partnering with Mercy Health to offer this required physical at a low cost to all athletes. The flyer for the event along with a link to download forms can be found HERE.
Just as a reminder, the Board Meeting has been moved from its normal Monday spot to Wednesday, May 23 at 6:30 in the high school library. The next Bulletin will be posted on Saturday, June 2nd and I will be writing about several additional school safety steps that will be in place for the coming school year, along with providing an update on all of the exciting learning space transformations currently underway at the high school.
All the best,
Bulldog Bulletin - May 5, 2018
Posted 5/5/2018 at 9:17:31 AM by Keith Millard [staff member]
Just a few quick things for the Bulletin this week as we head into the home stretch of the school year.
Every day there are communications sent out via Twitter from throughout the District that promote a variety of academic, athletic, and extra curricular events. In order to make this information even more accessible, a page has been added to the website that displays these posts. Also, we continue to post electronic versions of flyers that promote opportunities for students and families both inside the District and throughout the community. Below is a screenshot that shows how to navigate to these pages on the website:
This coming Friday from 7 - 10pm the Boys Basketball team will be hosting the annual Father/Daughter dance at Batavia High School. This is always a highlight of the spring and a great community event. For more information please contact head coach Aaron Brose at email@example.com
Finally, we are a little less than two weeks away from graduation, which will be held on Friday, May 18, 2018 at BB&T Arena on the campus of Northern Kentucky University beginning at 7PM. We have a very impressive class that will be graduating this year and certainly wish them all the best in their future endeavors.
The next Bulldog Bulletin will be published on Saturday, May 19th.
All the best,
Bulldog Bulletin - April 21, 2018
Posted 4/21/2018 at 7:13:47 AM by Keith Millard [staff member]
Hopefully the snowflakes we saw on Wednesday morning will be the last, as it looks like spring is finally here to stay.
The last several weeks of the school year are always full of activity as the current school year draws to a close and planning kicks into high gear for the coming school year.
One of the areas we are currently working on is planning for the relocation of the current learning lab at the high school. This move is taking place to allow for the new fabrication lab to be created in the current learning lab space. This lab will be used by our new engineering class, our robotics club, and will also be available to students and staff members who like to tinker and build things. A special thank you to Hutamaki for their financial support in creating this new exciting fabrication space for students.
Over the summer the back half of the library will be converted into the new high school learning commons. This space will be used by the learning lab and individuals and small groups of students sent by classroom teachers for project based work. In addition, our College Credit Plus students who travel offsite for classes will have this space available to them, and the learning commons will also be open to all students each day after school.
The new learning commons will contain multiple small group project spaces (including flat screen tv’s to view projects and collaborate on assignments), flexible furniture that can be arranged at the direction of students depending on the task, counter height project tables equipped with supplies students can self select in order to complete assignments, and lots of whiteboard space for brainstorming. This space is being paid for with funds available from the Federal Government that are designated for student success initiatives.
We are excited about the learning commons and the potential it has for students. The thinking regarding transforming the library really began at the end of the middle school library refresh project that happened in the summer of 2017. Having a place where students can direct their learning and have a variety of work space options is critical as we continue to focus on personalizing the student learning experience. We are looking forward to completing this project and seeing how it impacts student academic engagement and achievement.
Turning the attention back to the current school year, I jotted down all of the major events that are upcoming in the District in order to keep my calendar straight. As many of these events involve student performances and/or recognitions, I included the list below:
Spring College Athlete Signing Ceremony
Monday, April 23rd 6PM
Board of Education Meeting
Monday, April 23rd 6:30PM
Elementary Art Show
Tuesday, April 24th 5PM to 7PM
Honor Society Induction
Thursday, April 26th 6PM
1st Grade Musical
Thursday, April 26th 6:30PM and 7:30PM
Saturday, April 28th 8PM to 3AM
High School Band Concert
Tuesday, May 1st 7PM
District Choir Concert
Tuesday, May 8th 7PM
3rd Grade Musical
Thursday, May 10th 6:30PM and 7:30PM
Boys Basketball Father/Daughter Dance
Friday, May 11th 7:00 - 10:00PM
Middle School Band Concert
Monday, May 14th 7PM
Wednesday, May 16th 6PM
BPA Awards Dinner
Thursday, May 17th 6PM
Graduation at BB&T Arena
Friday, May 18th 7PM
Alumni Banquet and Scholarship Dinner
Saturday, May 19th 6PM
Board of Education Meeting
Monday, May 21st 6:30PM
End of Year Staff Lunch
Thursday, May 24th 11:00 - 12:30PM
Finally, if you did not get a chance to see ‘Once Upon A Mattress’, you have one more chance Sunday at 2PM. The high school cast and crew along with Ms. Allen and Mr. Smith have once again put together an outstanding show that is thoroughly enjoyable!
The next Bulldog Bulletin will be published on May 4, 2018
All the best,
Bulldog Bulletin - April 7, 2018
Posted 4/6/2018 at 4:32:40 PM by Keith Millard [staff member]
As we approach the summer months, many teenagers start thinking about summer employment. The Clermont County Library is a fantastic resource for summer job opportunity information, and will be hosting a teen job fair on Saturday, April 28th from 10 - 2 at the Union Township Branch. For more information on this event click here.
In general, for employment during the school year, all minors ages 14 - 17 require a work permit that must be completed and authorized by the school district. In the summer, 14 and 15 year old students generally still need a work permit, while 16 and 17 year olds do not (although some employers still require them). For more information on obtaining a work permit click here.
In other news around the District, the track project continues to go well, and new construction pictures can be viewed by clicking here.
This week the annual spring State test season began, and so far everything has gone very well at both the elementary and middle schools. We are very proud of the effort our students are putting forth and want to continue to encourage them to do their best and show what they know. At the high school, testing begins next week and a late arrival schedule will be utilized for non-test taking students over the next three Mondays and Tuesdays. You can read more about the high school testing schedule by clicking here.
Finally, the annual high school spring musical will be taking place on Friday April 20th and Saturday April 21st at 7PM and Sunday April 22nd at 2PM at Batavia Elementary. The students have been hard at work on this year’s production of Once Upon A Mattress. A video archive of the 2016 performance of Seussical The Musical and 2017 performance of Shrek can be found by clicking here.
Hopefully by the time the next Bulletin is published on April 21st we will have seen our last snowflake!
All the best,
Bulldog Bulletin - March 24, 2018
Posted 3/24/2018 at 7:21:30 AM by Keith Millard [staff member]
As it usually does, Spring Break snuck up upon us and we are now entering the final few months of the school year. One of the the areas of focus every spring are the State tests students take in grades 3 - 11. This is the third year the State has stayed with the same type of tests, so everyone has gotten into a rhythm regarding the format of the tests, how to take them, etc. The nice thing about testing today versus a few years ago is that it takes much less time and is much less disruptive to the students' school day. So, the biggest pieces of advice I always give to parents is just simply what I tell my three kids, which is eat a good breakfast, take it easy, show what you know, and give it your best effort. Thank you in advance for your supportive words to your kid(s)! It makes a difference.
As was shared in the last Bulletin, work is underway on the track, and a new picture gallery can be found here:
Finally, the new daytime entry system is up and running at the high school. Special thanks to all of the students who helped with the installation of the new sidewalk. It was a lot of fun getting to work with them on a project that has a positive benefit for our District.
The next Bulldog Bulletin will be published on April 7, 2018.
All the best, and safe travels if you are out of town on break.
Bulldog Bulletin - March 10, 2018
Posted 3/9/2018 at 7:40:16 AM by Keith Millard [staff member]
Several quick updates for this week’s edition of the Bulletin.
First, our track project is now underway, and the track will be closed until mid June. Like our other recent projects, we will periodically post pictures to document project progress. Special thanks to the Williamsburg athletic department for sharing their track with us while we undergo this exciting renovation. Also, we will officially dedicate the tennis courts at a ceremony prior to the first home match of the season on March 23rd at 4PM.
Second, based on feedback from students, parents, and staff members, changes are coming to the entrances at the high school beginning the week of March 12th (with full implementation occuring once the new connector walkway is installed). In order to provide for more secure access to the building, the student entrance will only be open from 7:00 - 7:45 each day, and will be monitored during this time period. After 7:45, this entrance will close and will be an emergency exit only with door alarms until dismissal at 2:15. All visitors to the building (at all times) along with students who arrive after 7:45 (or leave for CCP classes) must use the main entrance. Additional cameras have also been installed at both entrances that provide a significantly enhanced view from the main office. We are also in the early stages of examining changes to our visitor sign in and identification procedures as part of our ongoing review of security plans, and expect to be able to communicate more on this in the coming weeks.
Finally, congratulations to Daniel Greiner for once again qualifying for the State wrestling tournament, our middle school wrestling team for winning the middle school state championship, our 8th grade boys basketball team who won the league tournament, and to all of the members of BPA who qualified for Nationals at the State competition this past week. Well done!
The next Bulldog Bulletin will be published on March 24, 2018
All the best,
Bulldog Bulletin - February 24, 2018
Posted 2/25/2018 at 7:12:24 AM by Keith Millard [staff member]
Sometimes I look at events like those in Florida last week and struggle to even find words that are appropriate to convey the wide range of thoughts, emotions, and responses that come to mind from an event that is so horribly indescribable. False assurances of absolute safety aren’t right, a rehashing of all we do each day to ensure our buildings are secure feels overdone, and a statement of unity feels disconnected and hollow.
The difficulty I believe we are encountering at this moment is the reality that there is a randomness of life events which lie mostly out of our control combined with the amplitude of media coverage in all forms (both traditional and social) that makes every event feel like it is happening in our front doors.
While I would love to have the ability to guarantee with the utmost confidence that nothing will ever happen inside of our District, the reality from this most recent tragedy is that even when you take all of the appropriate safety planning steps, sometimes it’s not enough.
Which leads to the rhetorical question and point of this Bulldog Bulletin, which is, ‘What then are we to do?’.
First, it is essential that the lines of communication be open not only between home and school, but also between students and the adults in the buildings. Even this week there were several things, while not threats that posed a danger to students in the buildings, that we were able to deal with because of open communication. Please encourage your student(s) to say something to you or an adult in the building if they see/hear something that poses a threat to safety (and remember that there is a link to our safety tip line on the front of every school web page).
Second, if you as parent (or student who reads the Bulletin) has an idea that you believe will help improve the safety and security of our buildings, please share it with us. In the coming weeks there are changes being made regarding the entrances at the high school that we will be communicating which are a direct result of excellent feedback from students, parents, and staff members.
Finally, it is important to continue to talk to your student(s) about responsible use of social media, and maintaining a healthy skepticism of much of the content that we are bombarded by each day. While great tools, our devices can make things appear and seem much scarier than they really are. What we are finding is that images and posts take on a life of their own when students share/like/repost/etc., and that issues are created simply by the amount of attention something is given. Instead of re-sharing and adding to or creating an issue, the best advice is for students to share with you or a trusted adult their concern about what they see instead of adding to the problem by commenting, liking, or pushing it out and broadcasting to wider circles.
While I can’t close the Bulletin this week with absolute assurances, I can simply say with all sincerity that as a District we continue to be committed to planning and practices that ensure the best we can that our learning environments and school campuses are safe for all students. Part of what makes this true is the strong partnership we have with our families, and I am appreciative of all that you do that collectively makes our District stronger.
The next Bulldog Bulletin will be published on March 10, 2018.
All the best,
Bulldog Bulletin - February 10, 2018
Posted 2/9/2018 at 4:16:12 PM by Keith Millard [staff member]
Over the past several months the District has been working with the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission and the architecture firm Elevar on finalizing the proposal to finish the Board's master facilities plan at Bulldog Place. This work has included updating the facilities assessment for the high school, solidifying the planning assumptions that were made in 2012 regarding facility locations on the campus, and developing a final direction for the project that allows the District to fully leverage the State dollars that are available for this final phase.
As the State will pay 80% of the construction costs for a new building and renovated building on the campus, we have a unique opporunity to finish the entire master facilities plan for less than was asked for when the District was last on the ballot in 2012. For our last project, the District had to pay 51% of the cost and the State only picked up 49%, which is why we have such a unique opportunity in front of us.
In order to begin thinking about the process of being on the ballot in November 2018 to secure the local funding necessary to complete the master facilities plan, three open community meetings will be held to share details of the final plan and answer questions about the project.
If you are unable to attend any of these meetings but would like to submit a question or any thoughts you have about finishing the master facilities plan at Bulldog Place, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
This is an exciting time in the life of the District and I hope to see you at one of these upcoming meetings.
The next Bulldog Bulletin will be published on Saturday, February 24th.
All the best,
Bulldog Bulletin - January 27, 2018
Posted 1/25/2018 at 8:31:14 AM by Keith Millard [staff member]
This week NPR has featured a series on the changing workforce entitled “The Rise Of The Contract Workers”:
While my crystal ball continues to be cloudy on what exactly work will look like for our graduates five, ten, and twenty years from now, I am convinced that there is a specific set of skills and traits that will provide a leg up for young people who will be entering the workforce.
In no particular order, I believe the following qualities will be indispensable for anyone looking to establish themselves in an economy where technology is rapidly changing the nature of work:
Flexibility (an ability to rapidly adapt to changing circumstances)
Resiliency (it’s not what happens to you but how you respond)
Curiosity (having a deep desire to learn lots about a lot of things)
Persistence (approaching a task or problem from a variety of angles)
Functional Literacy (reading to learn across a wide range of subjects)
Collaborative (figuring out how to add value to tasks you team with others on)
Expressive (writing skills that allow for conveying detailed thoughts)
The reality of the new economy is that technology is fundamentally altering how work is completed, and current students have to internalize the urgent need to identify their unique talent areas where they can contribute in ways that machines can not.
This imperative links back to why I believe so strongly in the move that was made to eliminate cell phones from the academic environment during the school day. The most successful workers in the future will be those who solve the riddle of using their ‘humanness’ to thrive in a work environment where automation is only going to increase and routine jobs will vanish. This is learned through deep engagement with academic content, and this must occur in a space where students can be unplugged from the distractions of the social side of their electronic lives.
As screens and technology continue to permeate all of our lives, the challenge is to continue to think about what it is that makes us human, and to really contemplate to what extent our lives have become an extension of a portable computer screen.
While this can be daunting to think about, I do believe that it will be this divide that will separate the economic ‘haves’ from the economic ‘have nots’ in the second half of the 21st century.
While a lot of my time each day is devoted to the operations side of the District, I try to find the time to carve out spaces to explore these types of questions with staff and community members. It is through these discussions that we are able to identify ‘what’s next’ in terms of courses and programs offered in the district.
While we are still currently in the planning stages, I am excited to announce that next year Batavia High School will be offering a brand new introductory engineering course, with an intermediate course on the drawing board for the 2019-2020 school year. This class is the next logical progression from the successful STEM and robotics clubs that have been offered at the middle and high school over the past several years. We are excited to be able to bring these courses to Batavia, and believe they will afford students the opportunity to engage in coursework that aligns with in-demand job skills in the labor market.
The next Bulldog Bulletin will be published on Saturday, February 10, 2018.
All the best,
P.S. We’ll be putting more out about this soon, but the track renovation project will be kicking off on March 5th and will be wrapped up by the middle of June, which means the community will have a brand new track and tennis courts to enjoy as recreational options this summer! This is the last major project that is being paid for using remaining funds from the elementary project. More on that story can be found here.
Bulldog Bulletin - January 13, 2018
Posted 1/12/2018 at 5:15:24 PM by Keith Millard [staff member]
While it’s only the middle of January, planning is well underway for commencement exercises for the Class of 2018. New this year for current seniors is the Ohio Means Jobs Readiness Seal, which students can qualify for to have affixed to their diplomas and transcripts. Developed by the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation, the Department of Higher Education, and the Ohio Department of Education, this seal is a “formal designation students can earn on their high school diplomas and transcripts indicating they have the personal strengths, strong work ethic and professional experience that businesses need.”. Click on this link to be taken to the Ohio Department of Education website that contains more details for those who are interested. In addition to current seniors, any student in grades 9 - 11 may begin work on documenting attainment of the fifteen (15) criteria areas to earn the seal, so long as the activities occurred and were observable during high school (middle and elementary school time periods do not count).
Another January event to recognize is Board Appreciation Month. The Ohio School Boards Association and the Governor’s Office officially identify this month for the purposes of recognizing school boards throughout the State for their critical role in the education of Ohio’s students. In Batavia we are fortunate to have an outstanding Board of Education that works on behalf of the entire community and is a strong supporter of the many activities and learning opportunities that occur throughout the District. More information on the recognition of our school board can be found at this link.
Finally, this week has seen two local school districts in the news for actions by staff and students that were culturally insensitive and offensive. In the District one of our ongoing points of emphasis is to build a culture in all of our buildings where students feel respected, cared for, and valued. With all of the divisive talk that seems to dominate the news, there is never a better time to revisit the timeless characteristics of the Golden Rule and why now, more than ever, it is important for students to understand the value of it and put it into practice each and every day. In many situations, hurtful comments come not from a position of willful intolerance, but rather from a lack of sensitivity towards the feelings of others and a failure to consider how the receiving party will interpret the words that are directed at them. The beauty of the Golden Rule is it challenges all of us to consider first how we would wish to be treated, spoken to, or acted towards, and to apply that same standard to how we treat other people. As tough as these times can seem, I believe there is a wonderful teaching opportunity for our students, and I would encourage you to take a moment and talk to your child(ren) about the Golden Rule and why living by it is something they will never regret doing.
The next Bulldog Bulletin will be published on January 27, 2018
All the best,
P.S. For a nice, short additional read on the Golden Rule and how it plays out in workplace culture, click here to see a reflection by Gary Kelly, the CEO of Southwest Airlines.
Bulldog Bulletin - December 16, 2017
Posted 12/16/2017 at 6:19:37 AM by Keith Millard [staff member]
Even though it feels like Thanksgiving was just this past weekend, the weeks between Thanksgiving and winter break have once again flown by and the final few days of school for the first semester are upon us. This week’s Bulletin contains a number of short informational updates on happenings throughout the District.
For all students, Wednesday, December 20th is the final day of classes for the 2nd quarter and first semester. Break officially begins for students on Thursday, December 21st. For our students at the high school, semester exams will be held on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday this week. Click on this link to be taken to the most recent high school newsletter that contains the exam schedule.
When we return to school on Wednesday, January 3rd, the winter weather season will be upon us. In the event that we have to operate on a delayed start or close school entirely due to weather, the very first place notifications are sent is Twitter and Facebook, followed by the website, and then the One Call Now voice system. This link will take you to a page that contains all of the District social media accounts. The general rule of thumb is we will work to maintain normal operations if it is a couple of inches of snow or less, but the only thing for certain in Southwest Ohio is the weather is unpredictable! A great deal of thought goes into every decision regarding school delays and closings, and it is always one of the toughest decisions of the year (and the reason that I’m the only one in the District who always roots against snow :)
In the area of athletics, the annual Bulldog Social in November was again a big success. This link will take you to an article with more specific details on the amount of money raised and the projects the Social benefits. Also, last week there were five construction companies that participated in the bid opening for the track renovation project. We expect to be able to award a bid no later than the January Board of Education meeting with construction to begin in February and wrap up in late June. This is the last major project that was made possible by the careful fiscal management of the Elementary School building project, and it is so exciting to be able to invest in campus improvements that benefit the entire community. This link will take you to the Building Projects page where the backstory on our ability to continue to invest at Bulldog Place is told.
I hope that you and your family have a safe, restful, and joyous holiday season. The Bulldog Bulletin will take a brief winter slumber and return again on Saturday, January 13, 2018.
All the best,
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
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,
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,
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: email@example.com
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,
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,
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,