Message from Superintendent James Kanable

As I sit to write this first letter to the Shawnee community, I am very proud to be the superintendent of Shawnee Local Schools. I wish to thank those of you who have taken the time to welcome me to the district. When I spoke with the Board of Education through my interview process, I addressed three distinct processes I would perform in my role. These pillars of action would be enacted for the district and the community. The first of these pillars is to honor the past.

Shawnee schools have a rich and valued history of excellence and success. I had the pleasure of watching my first graduation ceremony in early June. During that ceremony I witnessed Mrs. Beverly Sweeney become the latest graduate honored as a distinguished alumni. This action is a testament to the excellence and success for which I speak. As I walk throughout the district, I see many items that share this history. I want to ensure to you this history is, and will continue to be, a basic part of Shawnee Local Schools.

The second pillar is to challenge the present. My goal is the take time to study the district. I have spent the first few months watching and listening. This has allowed me time to ask questions as I evaluate our programs and processes. I am truly impressed by the continued recognition of Shawnee High School as a Best High School award winner by U.S. News and World Report. Couple that with meeting third grade reading guarantee numbers and outstanding graduation numbers: it is great to see the continued success of Shawnee Local Schools!

Educationally, if you are not improving, you are losing ground. I am not one to put my faith in moving targets. This is an exactly what the State of Ohio continues to do with their Ohio School Report Cards. In the coming months, I will be having open discussions with the Shawnee community to establish a consensus of keys to success. From these discussions, it is my hope that we can establish our own points of measurement to base judgments. Many communities are currently taking this approach in order to recapture local control of their own schools and to set in place a local standard of accountability.

The final pillar is to envision the future. The Shawnee community has been placed in a difficult situation by tax law changes in the State of Ohio. The loss of Tangible Personal Property (TPP) tax is beginning to show its ugly head. We will have lost nearly $1.3 million from the last budget implemented by the State of Ohio. I personally do not see this new form of taxation changing, so the impact of this loss will continue. We need to have discussions about this in the near future to ensure our district continues to be financially sound.

During my early discussions with several community members, there has been a shared concern regarding our facilities. Numerous individuals have expressed a need to look at our current buildings and the age they carry with them. With that in mind, I have contacted Garmann-Miller, architects from Minster, Ohio to do a study of our facilities. They will be in our district during the month of August to perform this task. The goal of this study is to have an independent firm evaluate our buildings and to report their findings to the board of education. It is at this point, the board can have sincere discussions on what actions, if any, are warranted.

Finally, education like many other aspects of our lives is in constant change. We need to embrace this change while maintaining the principles that brought Shawnee to the standards we expect from our district. The impact of brain research, technology, teaching techniques, and so many other developments will force us to self-evaluate our means of operation. Thus, we must identify our core beliefs...Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships. Research supports three keys to learning and these keys will continue to drive our growth and success at Shawnee Local Schools.

Federal Court Instructs Ohio Districts to Post Information for Parents Concerning Data Release

A U.S. District Court has ordered that 2013-2014 school year records from the Ohio Department of Education’s Educational Management Information System be turned over to Disability Rights Ohio as part of an ongoing lawsuit. Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, families of students whose data will be released must be notified and given the opportunity to object. The court is instructing all local education agencies to post notice about this opportunity to object on their district websites and in a central location, accessible to the public, in each building that is open to the public. A copy of the notice – which includes instructions on how parents may object to the data release – can be found here. The court must receive objections no later than Sept. 12. Students’ names, addresses and social security numbers are not part of the information to be released. Ohio is one of only three states that do not allow their departments of education to collect this data, to protect student privacy. Data to be released for each student include student ID number, school name, grade, gender, race, age and disability category. The records also reveal student performance on the state’s Ohio Achievement Assessments and Ohio Graduation Tests, as well as tests related to Ohio’s Third Grade Reading Guarantee. Student suspensions and expulsions also are listed. The data is subject to a protective order, which means Disability Rights Ohio cannot publicize it. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. Please contact the Ohio Department of Education’s legal office at (614) 466-4705 if you have questions.

Report Fraud

The Ohio Fraud Reporting System provides citizens and public employees with several ways to anonymously report allegations of fraud, abuse or misuse of taxpayer funds.

Individuals can:

Ohio Auditor of State
David Yost
Special Investigations Unit
88 E. Broad St.
Columbus, OH 43215