Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley on Wednesday continued her focus on improving education in the city, making it the closing topic of her State of the City speech, and calling it “our most urgent economic development strategy.”
Whaley said the high-quality schools subcommittee of her City of Learners group has set six goals for 2018 with the help of Dayton Public Schools, and will report back about progress on these “deliverables” at the end of the year.
** Enhancing teacher quality for new teachers;
** Establishing a group of staff members focused on addressing equity issues;
** Getting more Dayton high school students to complete college financial aid applications;
** Reducing the achievement gap for all student sub-groups (by race, gender, economics, etc.);
** Increasing student attendance rates while decreasing student suspension rates, and;
** Affirming the positive work Dayton teachers do to help students grow academically and socially.
Whaley said the relationship between the city and the school board is the strongest in her 12 years on the city commission – not surprising after three of the school board candidates she endorsed in October were elected.
She said the local Preschool Promise group led by Robyn Lightcap is doing “amazing work” in improving access to high-quality education for young students. That work is funded in large part via an income tax increase that Whaley campaigned for in 2016.
She also included a plug for acting DPS Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli, who took that role in November but has not yet said whether she is interested in the job on a multi-year basis.
“Under Superintendent Libbie Lolli’s leadership, we are all now singularly focused on providing a high-quality education to all of Dayton’s children,” Whaley said.
Dayton Public Schools is headed into a crucial stretch. The school board will weigh input from the general public and a special task force to decide whether to close some schools. They’ll also figure out whether to hire Lolli or perform a national search for a new superintendent.
And teachers are preparing students academically with some new curriculum, hoping that DPS scores higher on this spring’s state tests than last year, when the district ranked second-last in Ohio.
“I am so excited to continue this important work of partnership with Dayton’s school board, with the citizens of Dayton and with educational leaders in providing a culture of high-quality education that this city needs and deserves,” Whaley said.