BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — Accept where you are … and then get back on the road to success.
That’s the guiding theme for Maumee City Schools’ district leadership team this year, Superintendent Dr. Todd Cramer told the board of education during its January 10 organizational meeting.
All districts, including Maumee, have seen the effects of the pandemic on students and staff in a myriad of ways. The goal now is to pick up, look for the shining moments and move forward, Cramer said during his “State of the District” presentation.
The pandemic and virtual learning had an impact on student performance in 2020.
“A lot of the students had little support during the pandemic and did fine, but we did have students with significant struggles,” Cramer said.
Still, Maumee, compared to the state average, made improvements during the 2020-21 school year.
“Kudos to the teachers and support staff. Our kids made phenomenal growth last year,” Cramer said. “We stretch every kid as much as we can every day so we see that growth.”
The staff is focusing on improving student performance in English language arts and math, as Ohio Department of Education data shows a drop in scores last year. A focus is also on raising the bar for students in subgroups, such as those on Individual Educational Plans or those of low socioeconomic status.
“We know we need to continue moving the students upwards,” Cramer said.
Over the next year, staff will be reviewing data and meeting to strategize. K-3 literacy teachers will be undergoing professional development. Michelle Shafer, director of teaching and learning, has reported that about 60 percent of the curriculum will be overhauled over the next few years.
The presentation also looked beyond academics. The Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS), which is now implemented at some level in all buildings, is working. Students understand the expectations as far as rules and behavior, Cramer said.
In athletics, 97 percent of students who participated in sports at Gateway also continued at the high school level. That includes 92 percent for volleyball, 100 percent for both cheerleading and cross country, and 74 percent for football.
After a lull in enrollment in 2020, it’s back up to 2,290. The largest class is kindergarten, with 200 students, and the Class of 2022 isn’t far behind with 195 seniors.
Of those students, 70 percent identify as white, while 11.9 percent are Black, 8.8 percent multiracial, 7.5 percent Hispanic and 1.3 percent Asian. The last known data shows that 35 percent of students qualify for free and reduced lunches, but all students are able to receive a free breakfast and lunch this year, thanks to a federal program. The Food Service Department is projected to be self-sufficient this year, reported treasurer Paul Brotzki.
Financially, the district made strides last year as well, Brotzki said. Refinancing bonds saved the district over $1.5 million and the district negotiated a zero-percent insurance premium increase.
Several improvement projects were completed using ESSER funds allocated by the 2021 American Rescue Plan, Bureau of Workers’ Compensation and 2020 CARES Act funds, as well as donations and Permanent Improvement funds, said Assistant Superintendent Steve Lee. Lights were changed to LEDs that will save the district $100,000 a year. The HVAC system and its management system were modernized. The Gateway auditorium entrance was redone, including the addition of an accessible ramp and a perimeter sidewalk.
Other improvements include a Kazmaier Stadium ticket booth and storage building, inclusive playground equipment upgrades at all three elementary schools, a high school restroom renovation, and new carpet and painting at the Performing Arts Center.
The health and safety of students and staff continue to be priorities, with training provided before and after the beginning of the school year.
Additional surveillance cameras were added so that every building is now outfitted. The high school now has 87 and Gateway 78. Over 300 safety alert buttons are distributed throughout the district to give staff quick access to safety services.
Three full-time assistant nurses were added to cover the buildings and new AEDs (automated external defibrillators) were added to Gateway, the high school and Union Elementary.
The continued success of Maumee City Schools is thanks to the collaborations with organizations and the community at large, Cramer said. He thanked in particular the city of Maumee, which provides school resource officers and a DARE officer in the schools. The district also works with Maumee Churches United, The University of Toledo and Bowling Green State University, the Maumee Uptown Business Association, Maumee Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club.
To see the full presentation of the State of the District, visit www.maumee.k12.oh.us.