“We talked about the OAEI (Ohio Appalachian Educator’s Institute) process that we’ve been through the last couple of years and the success of that project,” Dutey said.
The OAEI is a partnership program of Ohio University Southern and Ohio University’s Voinovich School, providing intensive professional development and leadership training to public school districts in 29 Appalachian Ohio counties. According to the Voinovich School Web site, the OAEI improves student achievement by supporting leadership development in school systems, creating learning communities and facilitating collaborative relationships between unions and district management.
The program began at Portsmouth with grades 4-6 and will be expanded across the entire district this year.
Kent Donges, from the Scientific Learning Company, also spoke to teachers about a new district-wide reading program called Fast ForWord. According to its Web site (www.scilearn.com), the Fast ForWord program is a reading intervention program designed for K-12 education institutions and clinical specialists, whose students are struggling and reading below grade level. The program develops and strengthens memory, attention, processing rate, and sequencing; resulting in a wide range of improved critical language and reading skills such as phonological and phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, grammar, and other skills.
“The thing we’ve seen is, not only does it help our students who need intervention, it helps our top students. We’ve seen high schools across the state who are using it with their upper-end students, and seeing gains made on their SAT scores. We just think it’s an excellent program that sees results,” Dutey said.
Portsmouth will be part of a Scientific Learning Pilot Program, implementing Fast ForWord with their pre-school students.
“If we can make some gains with those students before they even enter kindergarten it makes everyone’s job much easier and allows an opportunity for those students to be successful,” Dutey said.
Dutey also said the district will boast 11 indicators (up from four last year) on their Local Report Card, when it is released later this week. Good news such as this, he said, needs to be shared with the community.
“It’s really up to us to get the word out, and if we don’t then that’s our fault. We’ve got so many good things, so many positive things going on in our district — and we know we have things we need to address too, which we’re working on. It’s just an exciting time right now,” he said.
Having great programs for student and professional development are wonderful, he said, but in the end it’s the work of classroom teachers and administrators who do the most good. Dutey said he is excited to start working with teachers and students as their new superintendent.
“I’m obviously anxious and ready to get going. It’s nice that our staff and administrators are sharing that enthusiasm,” he said.
Dutey was hired by the school board in July, and began on Aug. 1. He succeeds Don Armstrong, who offered his resignation in February after only two years as school superintendent.
RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 235, or e-mail email@example.com.