My comments are in no way a method to deter from accountability, but I cannot continue to stand by and allow our schools to be judged by an accountability system that we all know is broken, not to mention tremendously expensive for our taxpayers.
Through the state accountability system our school district (Bellevue) has been rated a “C,” which is not only absurd, it is reckless. Our students don’t arrive at our door standardized and we will not apologize for not trying to standardize them. Rather, we embrace their differences, value them and educate the whole child. We help students make tremendous academic gains and we do this while preparing them for college, career, entrepreneurship and successful citizenship. We help them through times of trauma and we are there to celebrate their times of joy as well. We have high standards for educating our students to compete in Ohio, America and around the globe.
Bellevue City Schools is an A+ district which cares about children more than test scores. I know that our neighboring school districts are also high-quality schools, not accurately depicted by their local report card scores. Yes, I know that competition is important to some, but to me honesty is most critical. In organizations as big as ours we all know we aren’t perfect, but I guarantee we strive each and every day to do what is best for our students.
My hope is that we will all work together to move past this system and find real solutions to the challenges we face such as poverty, childhood trauma and graduation requirements to name just a few. We have many, many students in Ohio who will face not graduating this year without changes by our state legislators to continue with the alternative pathways to graduation. Students who are ready for the work force with much to offer, but will be denied a diploma because of their inability to meet a score on a set of standardized tests.
As I walk our halls I see high-quality, standard-based instruction and assessment. I see our staff meeting every child where they are and helping them find their full potential. I see us finding new, innovative ways to motivate and educate our students.
Our work is hard and we have much more to accomplish, but I see more innovative practices, project based learning, cross curricular lessons, and mental health support for our kids than we have ever had. Our kids are counting on us to really see them, to really hear them, to really care about them. This is what will make the difference in their lives and we are lucky to be able to educate them — in our A+ school district.
I look forward to releasing the Bellevue City Schools quality profile within the next week. The quality profile will be mailed to every resident in our school district and much more accurately depicts all of the wonderful things happening in our schools.
I fully embrace and support the new Ohio Strategic Plan for Education, which was released last week. I see in this plan the opportunity to focus on the whole child and move away from high stakes standardized testing. Many Ohioans worked very hard on this plan and it is definitely a step in the right direction for the children in Ohio.
Kim Schubert is the Bellevue City Schools superintendent.