Though tiny New Miami Schools showed marked improvement on the state’s latest report card, the district’s leader said “we’re not at the finish line yet.”
New Miami Superintendent Rhonda Parker, whose fewer than 700-student school system is the smallest in Southwest Ohio, was pleased with the district’s jump from an overall grade of D to C, according to the annual report cards released last month by the Ohio Department of Education.
New Miami was one of two districts in Butler County, along with Hamilton, to raise its overall quality grade from a D to a C. The state rating on overall quality was only the second time letter grades were used for that measure.
But being pleased with the quality improvement isn’t the same thing as being satisfied, said Parker from her office on the K-12 campus of New Miami Schools, just north of the city of Hamilton.
“We are reaching for higher goals,” said Parker, who is a New Miami graduate and now in her fourth year as superintendent.
New Miami, whose total district enrollment is smaller than almost all the high schools in Butler County, also moved into the spotlight last fall when it joined four other local school systems in collectively asking voters in their districts to approve a never-tried-before school security tax hike.
The proposed tax increase, however, was overwhelming defeated by voters in New Miami, Hamilton, Fairfield, Monroe and Edgewood schools.
The district is also hitting high marks on the gridiron as the New Miami High School football Vikings are 5-0 and ranked No. 9 in the state in Division VII.
The encouraging school news about academics and sports has the sometimes-overlooked village community feeling “very proud,” she said.
“The mood in the community is positive,” said Parker, who knows the area well having spent 18 years as a New Miami teacher, followed by eight years as the elementary principal before taking over the superintendent’s job four years ago.
New Miami’s smallness in enrollment and its community brings with them advantages, she said “in the relationships you can build with students and their families.”
Parker is looking to build on those by starting this school year once-a-month, community coffee chats where she meets informally with school parents and other residents.
She credits an emphasis on professional development and “looking at the data that represents our students.”
“We are reaching for those higher goals and trying to attain the best that we can for our students,” she said.
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