BY NANCY GAGNET | MIRROR REPORTER — Driving most of the decisions at Maumee City Schools are the core beliefs that students come first, that continuous improvement is necessary and that maximizing the potential of others will lead to that success.
District Superintendent Dr. Todd Cramer provided a district overview while outlining the district’s goals during a “state of the district” presentation at the August 27 school board meeting.
Cramer credited the staff, students and community for continually supporting the district and playing key roles in making a positive difference.
“Thanks to everybody working together, I think we have been able to accomplish a lot and will continue to move the district forward,” he said.
With a focus on the theme “Always Inspiring, Always Innovating,” Cramer said the district continues to try new things, even if it means not always hitting the mark.
“It’s OK to take calculated risks, because it’s OK to try something different and to fail, as long as we don’t repeat that mistake over again,” he said.
Currently, there are 2,219 students enrolled in the Maumee school district, but that does not include the students from Maumee attending Penta Career Center. Of that population, 743 qualify for free and reduced lunch.
Since 2010, there has been a steady decline in student enrollment ranging anywhere from a few students to a drop of over 150 students in a given school year. This year, the student population remains steady and Cramer is hopeful that the district will begin experiencing an uptick in enrollment.
Recent surveys of both staff and parents indicate that the district is moving in the right direction when it comes to job satisfaction and teacher effectiveness. When asked if the school provides an atmosphere where every student can succeed, 82.5 percent of the certificated staff agreed or strongly agreed that it does, according to a 2016-17 survey. That number was up from 68.5 percent who agreed or strongly agreed to the same question in 2015-16. Parents also showed 85.8 percent approval in a 2016-17 survey when asked if teachers show respect for students, which was a 5-percent increase over 2015-16.
The district continues to focus on college- and career-ready skills by enhancing student reading and writing. Teachers also look for new ways to work together to meet student needs and update courses to elevate the relevance, challenge and engagement in the learning process, Cramer said.
This year, the special education strategic plan will focus on specialized interventions with evidence-based instructional strategies in math and reading. In addition, planned intervention time will also be implemented, he said.
“There was some inconsistency with that before, but now all of our buildings have time set aside where students can receive critical intervention,” he said.
Flexible seating will encourage collaboration, provide movement and meet sensory needs, and gifted services have also been enhanced, he said.
Cramer also reviewed the major capital improvement projects taking place, including the Kazmaier Stadium renewal project and the new makerspace and learning commons. Those projects and many more have been made possible through private donations; however, the recent 5.9-mill levy that voters passed in May also provides the financial stability to pursue such major capital projects, he said.
The district has also increased its video surveillance measures, installing over 200 new security cameras, adding a door-locking system and alert buttons. Additional counselors have been added along with school resource officers, which are assigned to both Gateway and Maumee High School.
The district has also focused on advances in technology, adding new touchscreen TV panels across the district. A ratio of one to one Chromebooks is also now offered in grades 4-12.
In addition, over the past year, the district has been working on backup battery solutions to allow phones and internet to work in the front offices during a power outage to allow communication to parents, Cramer said.
The district will continue to focus on high-quality, individualized instruction and strategic planning.
“It’s exciting to think of all of the things from the past three years and what’s going to come next. We’re very fortunate to be in the position that we are, and we did not get here by accident. It’s been thanks to this board and our staff that work hard each and every day to make this district a better place,” Cramer said.