Preparing students for the work force

HHCS bond rating improves

By Greg Smart -

HUBER HEIGHTS — In order to have a strong workforce, you must have an educated workforce and the foundation for that begins in pre-school, Huber Heights City Schools Superintendent Susan Gunnell told the Huber Heights Chamber of Commerce “Spotlight on Huber Heights” Annual Community Update, recently held at ABF Freight System.

She said there is a coalition thaat involves pre-school and day care partners in Huber Heights including St. Peter School to make sure the youngest learners are getting a good start to build a foundation building towards the Third Grade Reading Guarantee.

A focus of the Huber Heights City Schools ((HHCS) is “career ready” to make sure that when students leave, they are career ready. She said some career paths require a four-year degree and others require a credential or certificate.

“What everybody has to understand is the high school diploma is no longer enough to do that job that will support a family,” said Gunnell.

Gunnell emphasized the Strategic Plan called “Children First 2020” and highlighted the five core capabilities: sustain academic excellence, reinforce positive school communities, enhance staff leadership, foster community support and assure financial stability.

Related to financial stability, Gunnell said the five year forecast is positive. She indicated that Standards & Poors in their October 2015 rating presentation raised the HHCS bond rating from A+ to AA- based on the district’s financial stability in addition to recognizing the economic conditions. S&P cited an improved financial position, strong operating results and a stable outlook.

Gunnell said that over 50 teachers retired or resigned at the end of last year with an average experience of 27 years. With the 50 new teachers brought in, the average years of experience is seven, which helps stabilize the financial outlook.

Gunnell said that approximately 50 percent of the children in HHCS are eligible for free and/or reduced lunch.

Assistant Superintendent Shelley Hilderbrand said that HHCS is educating some children for potentially, a job that doesn’t even exist yet, as advances in technology will affect future career paths. She said that outside of the skill development of reading, writing and arithmetic, HHCS focuses on quality instruction in the classroom with high expectations, student engagement, strong levels of instructional practice and strong relationships. She said that if students can go to the workforce with strong reading, writing, reasoning and speaking ability, “you can train them to do whatever you need them to do, and so those are the kinds of employees we want to produce for you.”

Gunnell said there is a nationally certified Project Lead The Way, a STEM pre-engineering program at Wayne and a nationally certified bio-medical program as the health field and STEM field are where a lot of the present jobs are.

Hilderbrand said that beginning in 2018 in order to graduate, a student must complete 20 course credits and take seven end-of-course exams. She said a diploma can be earned through one of three additional options: earn 18 points on state end-of-course exams, achieve a college readiness score on the ACT or SAT national test or get an industry certification with a Workeys work-readiness score.

Concerning College Credit Plus, Hilderbrand said HHCS presently has 140 students at Wayne with a high school English teacher getting college credit. She indicated that over 100 students at the junior high level are earning high school credit in Algebra I and Physical Science.
HHCS bond rating improves

By Greg Smart

Reach Greg Smart at 937-684-8088 or on Twitter

Reach Greg Smart at 937-684-8088 or on Twitter