Blue Ribbon schools, state report card rankings highlight school year, Aurora school officials say

by MIKE LESKO | REPORTER Published:

Aurora -- The 2013-14 school year "was very successful from many standpoints," according to Superintendent Russ Bennett.

"The district rankings on the state report card and the high ratings nationally for both Aurora High School and Harmon School clearly show that our students are not only achieving at a high rate, but we offer a curriculum that is allowing our students to excel in all areas," Bennett said.

He noted having two schools -- AHS and Harmon -- earn Blue Ribbon status from the U.S. Department of Education also is something the community should be proud of. He said that ranking is "one of the highest accolades a school and district can achieve."

School Board President Gerald Kohanski said the Blue Ribbon award at Harmon "was a fantastic achievement by the students and staff but not really a surprise, as Harmon has been a wonderful, nurturing environment for Aurora's middle school students for many years."

Kohanski said the Board of Education is "very pleased with the progress and learning that occurred in our schools this past year."

"We were particularly impressed with the independent learning sessions that were offered at the high school that allowed some of our very creative students to explore new avenues in digital art, industrial technology, science and script writing," he said.

Bennett said the scholarship dollars the students earned this year, along with the amount of college credits the students accumulated through the advanced placement curriculum, was "astounding."

"Our students are getting into the schools of their choice, and many students have earned college credits in high school, which allows them to move through college quicker and with fewer financial obligations," Bennett said.

Bennett praised Treasurer Bill Volosin, who received "well-deserved recognition by earning the auditor of state award," Bennett said.

"Bill and his staff do a great job of budgeting and carrying out all the duties to the highest level of excellence," Bennett said. "His work with the School Board and with all the administrators is outstanding."

Kohanski said Aurora schools have "one of the leanest central offices and administrative teams in Ohio, yet we consistently achieve high state and national rankings, attesting to the quality of the administrators' efforts.

"THE BOARD has high confidence in this group," Kohanski said. "We're also very excited about the new members of the team -- Julie Troman, new principal at Craddock/Miller, and Mike Janatovich, new assistant principal at Harmon.

"We also anticipate excellent results from Paul Goodwin, who is moving from the assistant principal spot at Harmon to principal at Leighton," he said.

Bennett said the latest Ohio Achievement Assessment results for the 2013-14 school year "are preliminarily even better than previous years."

"The commitment our Board has to excellence and the drive our staff has for continuous improvement is amazing," Bennett said. "Not only are we proud of our academic excellence, but also every area of our operation is performing at a high level.

"Our bus drivers have an incredible safe driving record, our custodial and maintenance staff provide a bright and positive physical environment every day for our students and staff, and our secretaries, cafeteria workers and health aides and the rest of our staff are committed totally to our students," he added.

Bennett said retirees from Harmon enjoyed a reunion at the school in May.

"Many of the 'legends' in teaching within our district came together to reminisce and share great memories and good times," Bennett said. "These staff, along with so many others, set the stage for the success we enjoy today. I personally enjoyed many of those teachers when I was a student in the Aurora system many years ago, and got to learn even more from them as a colleague, their administrator and also as superintendent.

"I can't thank our community enough for continuing to value education and provide the tools necessary for the students to be successful," Bennett said. "We are so fortunate to be in Aurora, so our success is really the community's success."

Email: mlesko@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4187

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Twitter: Mike Lesko@MikeLesko_RPC

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