Indian Lake Schools Race to the Top



What is the national Race to the Top competition?

Awards in Race to the Top went to States that are leading the way with ambitious yet achievable plans for implementing coherent, compelling, and comprehensive education reform. Race to the Top winners will help trail-blaze effective reforms and provide examples for States and local school districts throughout the country to follow as they too are hard at work on reforms that can transform our schools for decades to come.

Through Race to the Top, Federal Department of Education is asking States to advance reforms around three specific areas:

  • Adopting standards and assessments that prepare students to succeed in college and the workplace and to compete in the global economy in the 21st century
  • Building data systems that measure student growth and success, and then providing teachers and principals about how they can improve instruction
  • Recruiting, developing, rewarding, and retaining exceptional teachers and principals

Ohio's Race to the Top Strategy

Ohio has a vibrant history of setting ambitious but achievable goals in the face of daunting challenges. From the Underground Railroad to space exploration, Ohio has pursued its future with courage, fortitude and intelligence. Ohio is once again at the forefront of innovation and is poised to transform its education system through Race to the Top.
This is an exhilarating moment in our state’s history. The solid array of Ohio’s accomplishments affirms that it has the political will, infrastructure, and capacity to successfully implement courageous work on behalf of all its children. Ohio’s children cannot wait and we must act boldly now. Over the next four years, our targeted focus will be on achieving five ambitious goals:

* Increase high school graduation rates by .5% per year
* Reduce graduation rate gaps by 50%
* Reduce performance gaps by 50%
* Reduce the gap between Ohio and the best-performing states in the nation by 50%
* More than double the increase in college enrollment for 18 and 19 year olds

Ohio’s history of leadership and entrepreneurship provides a strong platform to successfully roll out the state’s RttT strategy and assist LEAs to successfully implement their RttT Scopes of Work. Together we will ensure that our transformative work will result in Ohio students realizing greater successes in school and in life.


Our Plan

The Race to the Top initiative would dramatically change the academic face of Indian Lake Local School District. Indian Lake Local School District (ILLSD) is composed of over 1800 students. These students are housed in one elementary, one middle school and one high school. The Indian Lake Elementary was recognized as Excellent with Distinction by the state of Ohio for the 2009-2010 school year. The IL Middle School met AYP in the sub-group of economically disadvantaged and the students with disability subgroup. ILMS was ranked as Excellent by the state although it remains in School Improvement. The Indian Lake High School was ranked Effective on their 2009-2010 state report card. The high school is currently in School Improvement Year One due to not meeting AYP in the subgroups of economically disadvantaged and students with disabilities for the past two years. As a district, we are in Year One of District Improvement. The Race to the Top initiative could prove vital in alignment of curriculum to pacing maps, formative assessments and state wide tests as well as providing staff with needed professional development.

Historically, the Indian Lake School District has made great gains in the last ten years. In one decade, the Indian Lake Local School District moved from Academic Watch to an Excellent rated district. Opportunities for growth took place and quickly moved the district forward. Professional development for the district was our cornerstone with the focusbeing that of providing our students with high quality instruction. At this point in time, the ILLSD is at a crossroads. Through participation in the Race to the Top initiative, the appropriate procedures will be implemented over a four year time frame. Those initiatives are expected to take the district to the next level of success.

It is imperative that all stakeholders place student achievement at the forefront of the district's efforts. The goal for this initiative and for all our work at ILLSD must be to focus our efforts on producing an educational system that promotes and produces students who will become life-long learners. The proposed process establishes the premise that ALL students will reach their potential, that ALL students are worthy of a quality education, that ALL students attain mastery, that ALL students demonstrate critical thinking skills and that ALL students develop the skills needed for self-directed learning.

As the Indian Lake School District explores the given assurance areas of Standards and Assessments, Using Data to Improve Instruction, and Great Teachers and Leaders, the district will be led through a district wide organizational examination that includes categories of achievement as well as established goals. With careful examination and planning, specific goals will be put in place which will provide ILLSD with the needed framework to move our students forward.

As with any new endeavor, there are risks involved with the process. Thomas Jefferson is quoted as saying, "The only constant in life is change." Possible risks do exist and are seen through impending change. In an effort to maximize potential effect and limit any negative reaction to the plan, the Race to the Top Transformation Team will need to build organizational management through: communication, management, collaboration, refocus and refinement.

Representatives from all district stakeholder groups will be a part of the Transformation Team in an effort to establish distributive representation in the process. The Indian Lake Local School District's Transformation Team will include members from the following areas to ensure the RttT commitment: Board of Education, Superintendent, Indian Lake Education Association, teaching staff, administration, other local agencies (ex. Logan County ESC) and potentially, community members and members of higher education. To ensure transparent communication between stakeholders, the following strategies will be used: 1) Ensure that team members provide oversight for local RttT efforts; 2) Evaluate the work of the team to determine if the team is fulfilling its purpose; 3) Develop and implement a comprehensive RttT communication plan; 4) Communicate to the community progress made toward meeting district RttT commitments; 5) Provide updates on the progress of the RttT Scope of Work to the local Board of Education monthly with joint presentations by the superintendent and union president. It is vital that the change taking place in the district is well articulate to all stakeholders.

Students success in the 21st century is a focus for the district's administration and teaching staff. Much has been completed in the past ten years, but there are still needs to be met in order to provide the best possible education for our students. Currently, the Indian Lake Teachers and administration do not have pacing guides, diagnostic instrument for both state tested and non-tested grades. The district has only limited off-grade level assessments. The ILLSD has no lead or master teacher program. There is no Residency Program at ILLSD.

As a result of the RttT initiative, there will be extensive changes in three of the assurance areas. The district Transformation Team will need to address the assurance areas of Standards and Assessments, Using Data to Improve Instruction, and Great Teachers and Leaders. Because the ILLSD is not one of the lowest achieving schools, ILLSD will not plan for Assurance Area E, Turning around the Lowest-Achieving Schools. The RttT Transformation Team will build capacity by the development, monitoring, and assessment of the Instructional Improvement System. Administrators and educators will systemically manage continuous instruction improvement system including instructional planning, gathering information and analyzing information. Additionally, the RttT team will use the information to inform decisions on appropriate next instructional steps and evaluating the effectiveness of the actions taken.

By school year 2014, the ILLSD will have created a well-defined working knowledge of the new standards. Curriculum pacing guides, diagnostics for off-grade testing, and formative assessments will have been created. The district will finalize revisions to all local curricula ensuring alignment with new online testing led by trained district staff and will administer the expanded Kindergarten Readiness Assessment. The district will ensure all teachers are teaching to the new standards and revised curriculum while utilizing formative assessments. Collaboration will take place at the high school level in order to complete activities to align high school English and math coursework with first year, non remedial college and career expectations.

In addition to the assurances regarding standards and assessments, the ILLSD will have assessed the use of the chosen Instructional Improvement System at the classroom level and continue to deepen the focus on data-based instruction. All teachers will have completed face to face and online professional development modules on content specific formative assessments. A formative assessment program will be aligned with the district's curricula and course planning. Educators will have also participated in professional development on the implementation of new state assessments and their format.

By the 2014 school year, there will be noticeable changes in areas of great teachers and leaders. The study on how to utilize value-added data will be complete. The district's administrators and educators will be trained in value-added data collection and how that data can impart useful information in the development of professional development. In addition to the value-added data collection, other data will be collected as well. The district will continue to refine other identified measures of student growth used to supplement the value-added data such as growth in literacy, grade gains, on supplemental tests, end-of-course exams and performance based assessments. A revised teacher evaluation will have been implemented. Both the teacher and administrative evaluations will be aligned to the evaluation systems based on state models and federal criteria. the district will have reviewed current hiring processes and interview protocols. The ILLSD will have implemented a Residency Program based on the expectations found in HB1. Professional development will be built around the constructs of the stat's professional development standards when designing and implementing professional development. The district will use the state professional development standards, student data, and results of teacher evaluation in planning, conducting and evaluating professional development.

By 2014, all student subgroups in grades K-12 will achieve Adequate Yearly Progress in math and reading. Subgroup gaps will be addressed through data driven decisions based upon usage of an Instructional Improvement System including but not limited to formative assessments, quarterly assessments, value-added, etc. Annual Performance Measure Targets will be assessed on a 10% increase per year in each subgroup identified as below proficient yearly through 2014 based upon state level and off-grade level student assessment results. The ILLSD Transformation Team will unite with the OIP team in order to best serve the needs of the system, but most specifically, the needs of each child.

District efforts will reach out to all stakeholders. Administrators and educators will systemically manage continuous instruction improvement through the Ohio Improvement Process along with the following activities: instructional planning; gathering information; analyzing information; using the information to inform decisions on appropriate next instructional steps; and evaluating the effectiveness of the actions taken. Parents and community members will be engaged through activities supporting student academic success. The district will promote consistent best practices laying the groundwork for student achievement through the promotion of consistent student attendance, discipline, grades, credit accumulation, graduation rates and an innovative approach to quality education.

The vision for the ILLSD is that we will become a consistently high performing school. A school where our children are valued as the unique people they are and where first they are a person and secondly, they are a student. With that vision in mind, the ILLSD will unite to create a climate and culture for students, teachers, and community to come together as a learning community. The district will unite in a spirit of collaboration to set forth the appropriate foundation for expansion of efforts such as Response to Intervention, post-secondary options, dual enrollment programming and advanced technology and 21st Century Skills.

As a result of the Race to the Top initiative, the ILLSD should see achievement gaps reduced, high school graduation rates increased and college enrollment increased. These goals will be attainable through careful planning, assessments, action plans and systemic follow through. The Race to the Top agenda will provide a transparent approach for our stakeholders to be aware of the changes taking place with the end goal being that of reaching ALL students in order to best serve their needs as learners and citizens of the global community.


Indian Lake Schools RttT Transformation Original Team Members:

Teachers (5): Sue Chaney - teacher, Pam Elder - teacher, Jean Newmeyer - teacher, Colleen Bodin - teacher, Gina Wynk - teacher; Administrators (5): Pat O'Donnell - superintendent, Jen Frederick - ESC, Rob Underwood - administrator, Misha Monnin - administrator,  Deb Johnson - curriculum director