That's what Portsmouth City Schools Superintendent Jan Broughton said at a Portsmouth City School District Education Forum on Wednesday morning.
"We had our schematic design review, and we really feel you will soon see movement through demolition and acquisition of property some time in March or April," Broughton said. "They will see our T & I (Technical and Industrial) building razed, and a new storage building on the Ninth Street side."
Broughton said the school system would be moving things from the annex building to a new building.
She then passed around designs the board and administration had received, showing the football field as the center of the design, and other athletic facilities including a baseball field.
"It has been a slow process, but we're still very excited about that," she said.
Broughton also said her administration is looking at recommendations under the High Schools That Work program and said she finds many of the recommendations "quite doable."
Broughton said PCSD last week received the High Schools That Work North Central Accreditation technical review visit.
"We just had some people from the High Schools at Work network, as well as some visiting teachers who come to evaluate us and tell us how we're doing, our strengths and weaknesses," said vice principal of Portsmouth High School and Junior High School Tom Smith. "The preliminary report is that we will receive full accreditation, and we had some very good reviews from the High School That Work. They will send us a full report in a couple of months, and maybe that is also something we can share at the next meeting."
Broughton, who regularly schedules the forums to inform the public as to progress and programs within the school system, spoke about one phase of the recommendations.
"We implemented the Block Scheduling component two years ago. That really has allowed us to take the training and professional developing that our teachers receive," she said. "And another recommendation we want to implement is more collaboration with the (Shawnee State) university. We have several of our students who take advanced post secondary and placement classes."
Educators, administrators and citizens received updates on the latest components added to the state grade card at that forum at Portsmouth High School.
Eric Humston, project coordinator for the State Support Team from the Ohio Department of Education, gave a PowerPoint presentation on the new accountability components in the state grade card.
Humston, a 37-year veteran of the education field passed around a graphic showing how scores are determined. He explained the weight of each component in determining the final score a school system receives on the grade card, and explained that most of the requirements in the Accountability System Architecture, including the Value Added component, come from the federal initiative, "No Child Left Behind."
Humston said under "No Child Left Behind," all students must be tested.
Value Added is the comparisons of test scores with one group of students from one year to the next.
The chart showed how each district would need to perform to move up in designations. The lowest designation is Academic Emergency, then moves up to Academic Watch to Continuous Improvement, Effective, with Excellent being the highest designation
Humston said one of the items that carries weight in determining the Annual Yearly Progress, or AYP, is how a number of sub-groups perform on the tests.
"Those sub-groups include race/ethnicity, limited English, students with disabilities, and economically disadvantaged," he said. "The universal minimum group size is 30, meaning you must have at least 30 in each group to qualify."
After the meeting, Humston said if a school system doesn't have the minimum number in each group they were not responsible for the accountability of the group factor.
"We need to make sure we are finding these people, so we need to be constantly looking for the ones that need the help," he said. "Where a school district has the greatest need is where we (ODE) concentrate the most help."
Humston said PCSD was at 78 percent on the last evaluation, with 80 percent required, but said one of the factors may have been the new tests. Humston said of the 28 districts he works with, 20 are having difficulty with AYP.
Stanley Webster asked if there needed to be more involvement by students.
"Can it be put on a fifth-grade level so that the student can see his or her role in the process that creates improvement,? Webster asked. "At my education level I'm finding this overwhelming."
Humston said sometimes students are told if their building does well, it will help with the school's score.
Broughton said the students inclusion was a priority, but explained where she felt the issue exists now.
"It goes back to the education of the parents, and the importance of parents taking the tests seriously," she said. "With some children, they have turned it off. If you say 'test,' they go into a panic. We tell them how we will reward them if they take their tests seriously."
After the meeting, Webster said he believes there is a need to talk about the progress schools experience in their improvement.
FRANK LEWIS can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 232.