From the Superintendent


November 5, 2013


The Ohio Department of Education helped host two conferences last week in Columbus that focused on helping schools strengthen educational opportunities for their students.

Last Monday, I had the privilege to speak to more than a thousand Ohio educators at our Annual Statewide Education Conference. They were gathered for two days of workshops on key topics such as Ohio’s Third Grade Reading Guarantee, Next Generation Assessments and the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System.

We work hard to prepare information for this conference that we know will meet the needs of educators, and I’m always encouraged by the number of teachers, coordinators and administrators who come with the goal of doing their jobs better. We realize, though, that not all districts can send the number of staff they‘d like. For that reason, we are providing important parts of the conference program to the educators who weren’t able to join us. At http://ohioedconference.wordpress.com, you’ll find videos and written summaries of sessions covering many topics. Please share this link with your district’s educators.

Last Wednesday, I welcomed U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and education leaders from 15 states to the Rural Education National Forum. The department co-hosted the event with Battelle for Kids.

Rural districts face unique and serious challenges. These include limited access to high-quality early learning programs; limited ability to recruit, train and keep high-quality teachers; poor access to online resources that extend and personalize learning; and little connectivity to business communities that help students make stronger school-to-work connections.

Some of the most groundbreaking work to solve these problems is taking place in Ohio, and I thank the rural Ohio school districts that presented at the conference. These districts are proving what I have long said—we need to support the innovative ideas of local educators as they work to break down local obstacles to student achievement. 

Thank you for all you do for the boys and girls of Ohio.


Dr. Richard A. Ross
State Superintendent of Public Instruction