Batavia Local Schools

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Batavia, OH 45103
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Bulldog Bulletin

Bulldog Bulletin
Keith Millard's Blog Page
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
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:  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,
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 request tickets please contact Ben Stewart via email at:

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,
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