DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Wednesday, Mayor Nan Whaley gave an update on her fourth year of the “City of Learners” initiative, saying the push for education improvements is seeing success.
Whaley launched the program when she took office in 2014. It’s a collaborative effort to help the city’s students achieve academic success and in turn bolster the future workforce. A committee of city, school and community leaders oversees its progress.
“We know that we’re poor in the city of Dayton,” Whaley said at Westwood Elementary Wednesday. “But that doesn’t mean that we can’t have quality and we can’t demand great schools. And we’re doing that.”
Despite Dayton Public Schools’ failing grade on the Ohio School Report Card, district staff say it’s measuring improvements in other ways.
“Dayton Public Schools is only an ‘F’ on paper,” said DPS Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli. “We are not an ‘F’ school district.”
Lolli explained several schools, including Bellhaven Elementary and Meadowdale Elementary, improved from ‘F’ grade to ‘C’ grades by the state’s metrics over the past two years.
Westwood Elementary, where the group was speaking Wednesday, is still struggling to shed its ‘F’ ranking, but Mayor Whaley touted improvements to the neighborhood surrounding the community school.
She said Dayton has demolished almost 200 nuisance and abandoned properties in the neighborhood over the past several years and community groups have been collaborating to improve safety in the area.
Whaley also pointed to the success of Preschool Promise, a pre-K program which enrolled more than 1,060 families last school year.
Lolli added teacher incentives are helping boost morale, attendance and achievement among district staff.
“We’ve made significant changes and significant gains, however we still have much work to do,” Lolli said.
The mayor hopes to continue the momentum of new leadership, under Superintendent Lolli and a new school board. She said the collaboration between the city and schools is key to making progress.
You can view the full 2018 City of Learners action report here.