Rumors, Fabrication & Sophism Control--

The Answers to Why We Do What We Do

Rumor (n)--a story or statement in general circulation without confirmation or certainty as to facts.

Sophism (n)--a specious argument for displaying ingenuity in reasoning or for deceiving someone; fallacy.

This website is created and maintained by Dr. Jim Lloyd, Superintendent
Send questions to jlloyd@ofcs.net


***October 29, 2015***

Click here for the article that appeared in Olmsted Falls Magazine about the district's strategic plan.

Click here for Dr. Lloyd's email to parents of K-5 students explaining the incorrect K-3 Literacy Grade given by the ODE

 

***October 22, 2015***

Recently school board candidate Dean sadly fabricated financial facts to deceive and confuse the Olmsted Community to think
the school district doesn't use its resources efficiently, is wasting money and needs to be held accountable for spending. Here are the facts:

FACTS: 
The Olmsted Falls City School District is required by law to be annually audited and consistently receives exemplary audit reports – most recently earning the Ohio Auditor of State Award for exemplary financial
reporting in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) for its most recent audit of Fiscal Year 2014. Olmsted Falls School District maintains one of the lowest cost-per-pupil expenditure costs in Cuyahoga County. 

The District has more than 40 individuals in our organization trained in Lean Six Sigma – an approach that forces us to continually seek ways to operate leaner and more efficiently.  OFCSD  is also an active partner in the Ohio Schools Council consortium for the purchasing of items ranging from cleaning supplies to school buses – resulting in significant cost savings to the District.  In addition, OFCSD actively works to secure external funding sources available to the District in the form of grants, rebates and reimbursements – leaving no stone unturned to increase funds generated outside of local tax levies.  

Olmsted Falls City School District has not needed to go back to voters for additional resources for nearly six years now.  Strategic planning, prudent spending, and an ongoing focus on maximizing efficiencies across the District have resulted in the ability to stretch operating funds approved by voters in February 2010 well beyond the initial three-year pledge. 

The Olmsted Falls City School District and Board of Education accounts for every penny of tax payer dollars that is spent and approves an updated 5-Year Forecast reports twice annually, in May and October.  The latest 5-Year Forecast, approved by the Board of Education at their most recent monthly meeting on October 15, 2015, shows the District carrying a positive ending cash balance in all five years of the forecast – further demonstrating the great care taken by District administrators and Board of Education members to stretch dollars as far as possible.  This solid financial forecast is certainly not indicative of a school district that is “wasting money.”  The most current 5-Year Year Forecast file is always available for public review on the District’s website, and residents with questions are encouraged to contact the Board of Education office.

 

***October 18, 2015***

 

LATEST MYTH BUSTER: KNOW THE REAL FACTS!

MYTH: Olmsted Falls School District no longer teaches the skill of cursive writing to its students.

cursive 1

Falls-Lenox students receive instruction in cursive writing.

FACT: Olmsted Falls School District continues to teach students cursive writing.  Students are currently taught cursive writing during second grade. Prior to this year, cursive writing was taught in 3rd grade.

Beginning this year, cursive writing is being taught in 2nd grade. During this year’s transition, students in BOTH 2nd and 3rd grades are learning cursive writing to ensure that no class of students misses out on cursive writing instruction.

IMPORTANT NOTE: With two Board of Education seats up for election this November 4th, parents are urged to be especially cautious about fact checking the information presented to them by campaigns. Olmsted Falls School District is NOT permitted to endorse, nor does it ever endorse individual candidates. However, the District will provide accurate facts and information to address any false statement represented and communicated as fact by a campaign. The District’s established Myth Buster feature in the Weekly Blog Update will be utilized for this purpose as needed in the coming weeks. Additionally, as always, all parents and residents are invited and encouraged to contact Superintendent Dr. Jim Lloyd with any questions or concerns about Olmsted Falls School District at 427-6000 or jlloyd@ofcs.net.

 

 

MYTH:  Olmsted Falls School District gets rid of items it no longer needs (i.e., desks, chairs, shelves, furniture, equipment, books, etc.) by throwing them in the trash.

FACT: Olmsted Falls School District has a policy and process regarding how items no longer in use can be disposed of.  Olmsted Falls School District, through its ongoing partnership with the Ohio School Council, utilizes an on-line auction service to post and sell items no longer being used in District buildings or on District grounds.  Over the past 3 years, auction of unneeded furniture, equipment, buses, books, etc. has generated more than $30,000 in sales!  Any items not sold during the initial auction cycle are posted again in the next available auction period.  Ultimately, items that are not sold through auction are either placed in the District’s metal scrap dumpster, or otherwise properly recycled or placed in the District’s Republic dumpsters for trash pick-up. Items not sold through auction and placed in the District’s metal scrap dumpster also ultimately generate money for the District.  Over the past 3 years, scrap metal sales have generated more than $3,200 for Olmsted Falls School District.

 

 

***September 28, 2015***

Facts You Should Know

  • There is a Facebook page and a website with lies and 1/2 truths. If you'd like the answers to your questions, please
    email me directly.
     

  • The OFCSD school board offers the public to speak to the board 2 times during school board meetings. All meetings are public and
    all agendas are published.  Contrary to what some will lead you to believe, we do like to hear from you and listen to what you say.
     

  • There are a handful of people who dislike the educational standards we chose to implement. They have decided to spread rumors about
    what we teach, how we teach it, the quality of what we do and the care that we put into the art of teaching.
    This disrespects our high quality educational staff as they were the ones that made the recommendation
    on the materials that were chosen. This is the same staff that has had and continues to demonstrate a legacy of
    excellence.
     

  • A handful of people have asked for "public forums" on issues when in reality they aren't interested in an exchange of
    ideas, but would rather spend time arguing. The district has listened to their take and simply disagrees with it. Time to move on.
     

  • When people tell you they don't like Ohio's Standards in English and Mathematics, ask which standards they disagree with.
    Have them point out the standard, not a YouTube video of a person on the east or west coast trying to teach it.
    The Olmsted Falls Teachers make the standards work...the standards don't make the teacher.

Financial Responsibility
Does the school district throw things like desks, books and other things away when it doesn't need them?
Absolutely not. Not only are we not permitted to simply toss things into the dumpster, we have Board Policy as to how we are
required to dispose of equipment.  We will be sharing information on this matter soon.

 

***September 14, 2015***

Does ODE have a data collection system?
Yes. It's called the Educational Management Information System (EMIS) and all districts in Ohio are required to  submit student information to it
for accountability purposes. There isn't a choice to participate.

While Ohio is a Race to the Top state, Olmsted Falls is not a RttT district.

 
Can a parent opt a student out of an instructional activity?
Yes. The Board has a policy and the administration writes guidelines to implement the policy.

NOTE-the policy indicates a parent can remove a student from an instructional activity...not activities. The district has worked
with parents on this matter, however when the request is overly broad, we are unable to accommodate the request.
 

Does the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution give parents the right to "opt out" their children from state testing
or school curriculum?

No, it does not. Parents have certain limited rights under the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution with respect to
their children's upbringing and education, but those rights do not give parents the authority to control a school district's curricular decisions.

The United States Supreme Court has held that the 14th Amendment guarantees certain fundamental rights. One of those
fundamental rights is the right of parents to direct the care, custody, and control of their children. That concept has been tested
in a number of Supreme Court cases addressing a child's education. For example, parents may choose to have their children educated
in the parent's native language. Parents have the right to choose between public school, private school, and homeschooling;
and parents also have the right to direct their children's religious upbringing.

No case in Ohio or at the federal level, however, gives parents control over curricular decisions. Instead, only boards of education have
the right to set curriculum and ensure students meet mandated academic standards. Local Boards of Education serve as "local control"
as do the school personnel that implement the program and policies.

The federal appeals court governing Ohio concluded in summary that:
The U.S. Supreme Court has recognized a fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody and control of
their children. And while this right plainly extends to the public school setting, it is not an unqualified right. While parents may have a
fundamental right to decide whether to send their child to a public school, they do not have a fundamental right generally to direct
how a public school teaches their child. Whether it is the school curriculum, the hours of the school day, school discipline, the timing
and content of examinations, the individuals hired to teach at the school, the extracurricular activities offered at the school or, a dress
code, these issues of public education are generally committed to the control of state and local authorities.
 

Do MAPS, Compass and other assessments serve to evaluate teachers in Olmsted Falls?
~NO. Just because someone creates a rumor about this doesn't make it true. Also, while it is on ODE's "vendor approved" list, we DO NOT
use the assessment to evaluate teachers. We use it to determine if students are working towards the grade level standards and for
intervention and enrichment purposes.

~While some districts may use MAPS for teacher evaluation, we do not in Olmsted Falls. The only achievement data that is used to evaluate teachers
is that which has been required by the State of Ohio and we use it because the law says that we are required to; however
we use it at the aggregate level.

~We are REQUIRED by law to use growth data from those achievement tests that are mandated by the state. In OFCSD, we
have opted to use that data at the most aggregated level through something called Shared Attribution.

~MAPs IS AN ASSESSMENT PROGRAM AND ASSESSMENTS BY THEMSELVES  AREN'T DESIGNED TO HAVE AN IMPACT ON ACHIEVEMENT,
THEY SIMPLY REPORT ON IT


How does the school district use MAPs and CAPs data?

To measure student progress towards grade level standards; to intervene, differentiate and accelerate curriculum; to evaluate the
effectiveness of our program implementation.

~Student assessment data without action doesn't improve the instructional outcomes for students.
As always, it comes down to how teachers use the MAPs data to differentiate instructional practices within the classroom.

~IN OLMSTED FALLS SCHOOLS, ~MAPS, Compass and AIMSWeb data are used like an instructional GPS to determine if kids are on
pace towards learning the content standards. We use it to evaluate the effectiveness of how well the district's instructional
programs is being implemented. 
 

Is a difference between Board Policy and the Administrative Guidelines that are used to implement the policies of the Board?
Yes. Board Policy needs Board approval and the Board conducts two readings for public comment before adopting.

Administrative guidelines are generally a set of procedures as to how the administration implements the Board Policy. They
do not need approval from the Board and are set of processes.
 


***September 8, 2015***

Are we misleading parents by assessing, storing and sharing personality characteristics of your children through Naviance?

~NO.
~Naviance may have measurement tools to assess personalities, however the Naviance that Olmsted Falls uses
does not use those measurement tools.

~There are many facets to the Naviance program and we didn't purchase every single one; particularly the personality tests. The district will use Naviance
to assess student interests and explore potential careers. In addition, it will be the exclusive tool that our counselors will use to facilitate college applications.
 

~ There are all kinds of inaccuracies you might be reading on a Facebook site. If you are concerned and would like the real information please contact
our College and Career Readiness Counselor Mrs. Caldrone.

~For the record...a student's experiences in school (including being in class; band/choir; sports, clubs, etc.) provide opportunities for him or her to learn grit, tenacity
perseverance.

 

MAP Test/Retest RELIABILITY Correlations in Ohio for Assessments from Spring 2008 to Fall 2008

Grade

Reading

Math

2

.755

.795

3

.787

.823

4

.793

.849

5

 

 

6

.798

.875

7

.807

.891

8

.811

.895

9

.785

.882

Is the MAP test reliable?
Yes.

Is the MAP test valid?
Yes.

What is reliability?
~It means consistency with which repeated measures produce the same results across time and across observers (Walsh, 1990).
In short, if I take the test once, am I likely to get the same kind of score the second time I take it. If a test has consistency
across different administrations over time it has test/retest reliability. MAPs is reliable and you can actually ask for the correlation coefficients--
I did and reported them above. 

 What is validity?
~There are several different types. Validity refers to how well the measurers derived from the operation reflect the concept (Walsh, 1990).

Content Validity
means the instrument measures what it says it is supposed to measure (i.e. Reading).
Concurrent Validity
exists when a test correlates to another test that is said to have the construct that is seeking to be measured (i.e. Reading).

What is an acceptable test/retest reliability number?
~It depends...While the time between the test/retest along with the content being measured is a factor, greater than .70 is acceptable by the measurement community.

On Surveys...
~The almost 700 people taking the strategic plan feedback survey were parents who have students in the system or they were community members.
~The 600 people completing a survey posted by a student were from plenty of places outside of those that have a legitimate and vested interest in
our school district. 

~We engage in conversations about the school district's direction all of the time. We speak at PTA events, hold presentations by administrators,
and listen to feedback. We may not always follow the suggestions of others, but we listen nevertheless. 

 Why wouldn’t the school board and district distribute a survey to ALL stakeholders of the community after receiving so many complaints about the new math program?

~Curricular change is difficult for students and we knew it would cause some temporary difficulties for them and we would be in an adjustment period.
We've moved beyond the adjustment period. 

If the 5 year strategic plan can be based on 693 survey respondents, why wouldn’t you remove the CPM math program based on a petition with 613 signatures?

~The survey for the strategic plan asked the people of Olmsted if the district was on the right track and they said "yes."

~Most of the signatures on the 600 signature petition were from people outside of the school district, not in it. The CPM program was carefully chosen by a
committee of OFCSD teachers that teach mathematics.
 

***September 3, 2015***
 

Does the district purposely and knowingly provide your student data to the federal government?
~NO. For third parties to have access to student information, they must serve an educational function--like testing--and
cannot disclose under the District's direct control any student information in a way that would violate federal law.

~We have student data protection pledges from Achieve3000, AIMSWeb, Compass, Google, NAVIANCE and NWEA that commit to this. Below is an email from their
senior account manager giving us assurance.

Dear Kelli,

 

At Hobsons, we believe that the responsible use of education data offers a valuable opportunity to improve learning outcomes. With this opportunity comes a great responsibility to protect student information and privacy.

Naviance is trusted by more than 9,000 K-12 schools around the world to develop college and career plans, and our goal is to treat student information with the highest degree of integrity. We are committed to maintaining confidentiality and security of student and school information. To that end, schools and authorized education institutions are always in control of their data, and Naviance does not sell personally identifiable student data to third parties under any circumstances.

For details on how Naviance uses data, please reference the Naviance Product Privacy Statement which provides further information about the treatment and protection of customer information used within Naviance.

We would be glad to answer any further questions you may have. You can reach us by sending an e-mail to support@naviance.com or by calling 1-866-337-0080, option 2.

 

Best Wishes,

Katherine

 

Katherine Schram 
Senior Account Manager 
Hobsons
3033 Wilson Boulevard
Suite 500
Arlington, VA 22201 
katherine.schram@hobsons.com 
(513) 766-7105

 

 

 

September 2, 2015

If the Common Core Standards disappeared today, what would change in Olmsted Falls?

~Honestly...not much. The assessments that the state makes us take would be the biggest change.

~As it relates to instruction, while we've made some significant adjustments (especially in math) in pedagogy,
we wouldn't change our direction or instructional focus.

~The central instructional methods that OFCSD teachers use to teach their students are not that
drastically different compared to those that were used before. Some of the content has moved around.

~Regardless of standards, at the end of the day it has been, and will continue to be about how the teacher interacts with his/her students.
Standards don't empower and inspire students; teachers, administrators, and educational support people do.

 ~The standards serve as the floor and do not represent the full instructional program that the district implements. No one told us (or tells us)
which materials to purchase or which lessons to teach. We do not purchase "canned" lessons that are stamped with the common core approval
because that endorsement isn't important to us.

~Our teachers are, and have been, some of the best in Ohio and it is through their collegial, collaborative efforts and instructional conversations
that we derive meaning from Ohio's standards.

~Beware of:
        *ridiculous statements like we're engaging in such things as a, "socialized curriculum."   The learning standards serve as the skeleton
        and the teachers add the muscle and connective tissue to bring them to life.

        *over generalizations--states and districts implement the standards differently. If a person's point starts with, "in New York..." stop them
        and ask what happens in Olmsted Falls.

 

Olmsted Falls Schools has had a tradition of excellence for a very long time. Why change something that has worked well?
For a few reasons.
~If you study leadership and what makes good organizations great you'll see that complacency can be "the enemy" to greatness.

~Wanting to continually improve and creating a new strategic plan was not meant to indicate that what we did before was somehow bad or wrong.
All "systems" evolve in order to improve and we're committed to increasing the excellence. We wanted to gather input from our stakeholders and
freshen our perspective.

 

How did you come up with the focus of the strategic plan...specifically, were parents in the district asked if they wanted career planning as an integral part
of the curriculum?
~The answer is "YES."

~The community has input in several ways. The first method is by voting for a Board of Education. While parents have a voice, the board of education
sets the strategic vision for the district. The community has voted them in to do this.

~The second method was, we asked the community.
~Prior to writing the strategic plan, we asked our stakeholders through the use of a survey if we were focusing on the right things.
~693 respondents that consisted of 593 parents of current OFCSD students, 60 community members without students, various alumni, local business owners and a
small number of staff members took the survey

~There were 12 choices rated by 530 respondents and the top 5 priorities were--

1-Integrate technology into instruction and student learning (268 people rated this as a top 5 choice).
2-Maintain our facilities and make them safe (265 rated this as a top 5).
3-Provide a balanced education of the "whole person." (221 as a top 5)
4-Meet the needs of all students and keep them engaged (209 as a top 5).
5-Empower students to make curriculum and career path choices (202 as a top 5).


Does the district purposely and knowingly provide your student data to the federal government?

~NO!! For third parties to have access to student information, they must serve an educational function--like testing--and
cannot disclose under the District's direct control any student information in a way that would violate federal law.

~We have student data protection pledges from Achieve3000, AIMSWeb, Compass, Google and NWEA that commit to:

o   Not collect, maintain, use or share student personal information beyond that needed for authorized educational/school purposes, or as authorized by the parent/student.

o   Not sell student person information.

o   Not use or disclose student information collected through an educational/school service (whether personal information or otherwise) for behavioral targeting of advertisements to students.

o   Not build a personal profile of a student other than for supporting authorized educational/school purposes or as authorized by the parent/student.

o   Not make material changes to school service provider consumer privacy policies without first providing prominent notice to the account holder(s) (i.e., the educational institution/agency, or the parent/student when the information is collected directly from the student with student/parent consent) and allowing them choices before data is used in any manner inconsistent with terms they were initially proviided; and not make material changes to other policies or practices governing the use of student personal information that are inconsistent with contractual requirements.

o   Not knowingly retain student personal information beyond the time period required to support the authorized educational/school purposes, or as authorized by the parent/student.


Do you sell our students' information to Google?

~Of course not.

~OFCSD is a Google district and has a registered Google domain. We are transitioning from Moodle to Google.
~Google serves as the platform we use to facilitate our programs.
~Google for School is different than Google for business or personal use.

~Also, if you're worried about your digital profile you should think twice about "Facebooking." Facebook wrote the book on tracking and algorithms.


Does the district use longitudinal data?

~Yes. We are a data-based and data-driven organization and the student data we gather is used to make instructional
decisions by your child's teacher--not the government.

~We use multiple data points to determine if interventions are working, to chart a student's course for learning and to
make class recommendations for students.

~All school districts are part of an initiative to close achievement gaps between identified subgroups, however in Olmsted Falls
we have an obligation to all students.

~We have an obligation to "close the gap" AND "raise the bar" at the same time. In order to do this and do it well, it is important
for educators to gather instructionally useful and relevant achievement data as to how kids are progressing through their learning.
We use formative assessments to inform learning and summative assessments to report what has been learned.

~This has been going on for decades in Olmsted Falls and doesn't represent something new.  

 

Do MAPS, Compass and other assessments serve to evaluate teachers in Olmsted Falls?
~NO way. Just because it is on ODE's "vendor approved" list doesn't mean that is how we use the assessment.

~While some districts may do that, we do not in Olmsted Falls. The only achievement data that is used to evaluate teachers
is that which has been required by the State of Ohio and we use it because the law says that we are required to; however
we use it at the aggregate level.

~We are REQUIRED by law to use growth data from those achievement tests that are mandated by the state. In OFCSD, we
have opted to use that data at the most aggregated level through something called Shared Attribution.

~MAPS, Compass and AIMSWeb data are used like an instructional GPS to determine if kids are on pace towards learning the content standards.

 

Does the career pathway model assess personality traits?
~NO. Not the OLMSTED FALLS MODEL.
~A personality test measures a person's character and psychological makeup. We provide assessment opportunities
that are aimed at helping students determine where their interests might be so that they are more able to explore careers
associated with those interests. For instance, "I like to work in groups to solve problems" versus "I like to solve problems alone"

~These aren't questions evaluating a person's character. They evaluate how a person likes to best interact.

 

Do all students need to go to college?
NO. In fact I wish more of our students would explore Polaris Career Center. When we were writing our strategic plan we talked
about removing the "college" part of the "college and career ready" because we recognize not everyone goes to college...nor should they. 

~Our job is to educate and part of that education is to help students explore the kinds of things they gravitate towards and
might be interested in. If you can align your interests with a career you'll never work a day in your life.

SOURCES
Walsh, A. (1990). Statistics for the Social Sciences. New York, Harper & Row, Publishers.