Dayton teachers celebrate positive 2010-2011

From the Dayton Education Association

DAYTON—They’re clearing bulletin boards, emptying desks and placing final marks in well-worn grade books.  But this year, Dayton teachers are adding one more thing to the ritual that comes with the end of the school year—a big thumbs up—to students, parents and colleagues for working together to make the 2010-2011 school year a huge success.

“Dayton teachers, students and staff have knocked it out the park this year!” said David Romick, president of the Dayton Education Association (DEA).

Some of the successes that showcase the growth in Dayton Public Schools:

  • DEA awarded a $2,000 scholarship to Ja’Ree Watkins, a senior from Thurgood Marshall High School, who will attend Ohio State University and major in early childhood education.
  • Marcella Barrett, who teaches sixth grade at Valerie Elementary, was named Dayton Public Schools Teacher of the Year.
  • Ashley Cooper, a Thurgood Marshall graduate, became the 20th senior in DPS history to be awarded the Gates Millennium Scholarship. Under this program, talented students receive a good-through-graduation scholarship to use at any college or university of their choice.
  • The 2010 District Report Card show continued growth in the performance index, attendance rates and number of students achieving at higher levels.

Romick credits the collaborative relationship with Superintendent Lori Ward as one of the keys to a successful school year. “Lori talks the talk and walks the walk,” he said. “She is a true and great partner in the effort to ensure a great public education for every student because in every way she demonstrates that our students’ success can only be realized thru shared responsibility and mutual respect.”

Across the district and at the school level, the positive news continued. Romick describes the formerly troubled Belmont High as a case study in the making.

“Principal David White came to Belmont two years ago and put the school on an upward course. Back then everything but learning was taking place at Belmont.” It’s no surprise that end-of-year staff transfer requests were always through the roof, he added.

But change at Belmont was evident during the 2010-2011 year. Behavioral statistics show the number of fights dropped 89 percent, assaults went down 88 percent, and there was only one arrest this school year, compared to 58 arrests just two years ago. “Now it’s the educators doing the fighting—fighting to get back to Belmont,” Romick joked.

One of the key steps to turning the school around was the staff’s decision to focus first on creating a structured environment where staff and students feel safe, knowing that the student achievement gains would follow. The statistics below show the decision is paying big dividends:

  • Matriculation rates have risen significantly. In 2008-2009, only 30 percent of ninth graders were promoted, while the next year, the figure went up to 63 percent. In 2010-2011, the number climbed even further—all the way up to 84 percent. A similar pattern emerged for tenth graders. In 2008-2009, 42 percent were promoted, in 2009-2010, 78 percent moved on to the next grade, and for the 2010-2011 school year, the figure stands at 80 percent.
  • College-level test participation has risen dramatically. In 2008-2009, eight juniors took the ACT, and in 2009-2010, that number doubled to 17. In 2010-2011, 80 juniors took the test.

“The icing on the Belmont cake—82 percent of this year’s senior class was accepted to college, and students earned some $500,000 in scholarships,” said Romick. “Belmont is truly turning it around and is one to watch.”

The 2010-2011 school year was the second year of “transformation,” a model adopted by DPS for schools receiving federal School Improvement Grants (SIG). DEA, in conjunction with the Ohio Education Association and the National Education Association, will partner starting in the fall with Belmont in NEA’s the Priority Schools Campaign, a union-led effort to help transform low-performing schools.

“We’ll be working with Belmont directly, but the Priority Schools Campaign will benefit all schools,” Romick said. SIG dollars will go much further because the Priority Schools Campaign will provide support in traditionally high-ticket areas like such professional development and parental and community outreach. Romick said these high-quality tools will support school transformation efforts at no cost to the district.

“In these tough times, it is good to be able to spread some good news,” Romick said.


The Dayton Education Association represents 1,180 certified, licensed teachers and other educational personnel.  Our members serve approximately 15,000 students in the city of Dayton. DEA is leading the way for responsible school transformation in the Miami Valley.

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