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Trotwood candidates propose fixes after schools rank last in Ohio

Published: Tuesday, September 26, 2017 @ 1:24 PM

            Trotwood and Dayton school board candidates participate in the NAACP forum Monday, Sept. 25, 2017 at Dayton Boys Prep Academy. JEREMY P. KELLEY / STAFF
Trotwood and Dayton school board candidates participate in the NAACP forum Monday, Sept. 25, 2017 at Dayton Boys Prep Academy. JEREMY P. KELLEY / STAFF

Trotwood school board candidates made suggestions on improving student achievement and classroom learning environments at a candidate forum hosted Monday night by the Dayton Unit NAACP.

All five candidates running for three seats on the school board were present for the question-and-answer session – incumbents Myra Bozeman, Deborah Daniel and Denise Moore, plus challengers Toni Perry Gillispie and Norman Scearce.

RELATED: Trotwood, Jefferson each have a “worst in state” score

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The event came just 10 days after Trotwood-Madison schools earned the worst performance index of Ohio’s 608 school districts on the state report card. Candidates had a variety of opinions on how to fix that.

Gillispie proposed a three-prong plan on transportation, teachers and technology. She said the district needs more bus drivers in its pipeline and needs better relationships with local colleges that produce teachers. She said moving to a computer-per-child system could give students an advantage.

Daniel said everyone from school board to administrators to parents had a role in the district’s failures. She said Trotwood needs to dissect its data better to come up with better strategies. She also suggested that hiring more classroom aides would allow for more small group or one-on-one instruction.

RELATED: How did your schools do on the state report card?

Scearce wants stronger parent involvement, saying families need to be able to make children work even if they don’t want to. He suggested several other ideas, including merit pay for effective teachers, a move to all-day preschool, and a need to get more books in students’ homes to combat summer learning loss. He was critical of Superintendent Kevin Bell’s performance.

Bozeman also called for more community pride and family support, such as making sure students get to Saturday school or after-school programs. She said Trotwood needs to research what other districts are doing right and use their data. She wants more effort to help students who fall in the middle academically, not just at the top or bottom.

Moore said Trotwood needs to identify the needs and barriers of its students, and then evaluate classroom instruction. She said the district should raise standards and expectations, and hold everyone accountable. Moore wants teachers to have more freedom in how they teach, and said students need to respect teachers more.

RELATED: Dayton school candidates list priorities for improvement

Because of their poor performance on state tests, Trotwood schools are only one year from potential state takeover by an academic distress commission.