Dayton school leaders set their priorities to avoid state takeover

Creating pathways to leadership, establishing parent groups for all of Dayton’s 27 public schools and avoiding state takeover will be among the priorities for district leaders in the next three years.

That’s according to the four-hour conversation Dayton school board members had Saturday at the board’s downtown office as they work to establish a strategic plan to improve operations and, ultimately, student success.

“We’re taking this responsibility very serious,” said Dayton school board President William Harris Jr. “We understand the necessity of putting in a strategic plan that we can measure, that’s achievable, that will bring success to our district.”

The state will take over operations of Dayton schools if the district doesn’t improve its “F” rating on the next state report card. The data released earlier this month showed Dayton schools was last in the state in the performance index measure. It was the only district in the region to receive an overall failing grade.

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The board settled on five broad topics with stated goals for which district administrators, teachers and others will be tasked with developing and implementing a plan: Academic achievement, financial stability, organizational excellence, leadership development and partnerships.

Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli said the school board is taking a “holistic” approach in creating a strategic plan.

“Every piece of the district has been discussed,” Lolli said. “The way we operate. The way we serve students. The way we interact with our parents and our partners and our community members. All of those things play into a holistic view of education.”

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Lolli said she wants one of the goals to be improving one grade level on the next state report card for each of the district’s schools.

“I’m going to believe it’s realistic because if it doesn’t happen then the state will take over,” she said.

Board member Mohamed Al-Hamdani said he wants one of the goals to be increasing enrollment. About 51 percent of Dayton’s youth attend the city’s public schools, while the rest are enrolled in private or charter schools.

The discussion will continue during a town hall meeting from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Dayton Boys Preparatory Academy, 1923 W. Third St. Parents and other community members are encouraged to attend and provide feedback.

“Does a parent have an idea about how we could actually strengthen something academically for our students? These broad topics will be the topics that we hope to get input on as the board continues to refine and develop those strategic actions that the district will be taking,” Lolli said.

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