Paul Craft gave his first update as Buckeye Valley’s new superintendent during Wednesday’s Board of Education.
Craft, who formally became the district’s superintendent on Aug. 1, started his update by discussing the pandemic and said the CDC recently relaxed requirements for quarantines and eliminated the requirement for contact tracing.
“We’re not done with COVID. It’s still here, it’s endemic,” Craft said. “It’s still important, still something that we’re going to watch.”
Craft then discussed the district’s percentage of students on free/reduced lunch, which was 22.5% in 2010-2011 but decreased to 15.6% in 2020-2021. Craft said the change makes sense when you consider the types of new housing added to the district. He added a student’s free/reduced lunch status will not affect the education he or she receives.
“We’re going to make sure that every kid who walks through our door is going to be able to maximize through growth,” Craft said. “We’re not going to ask any less of the kids that are still struggling in terms of their family’s economic situation.”
Craft said an issue for BV is the district is currently behind where it was prepandemic in 19 out of 21 measured areas.
“That’s a challenge for us,” he said. “We see this as being an incredible year of growth. But to catch a kid up … you need more than a year of growth. We’re going to have to ask a lot of our kids and ourselves going forward. …We’ve got miles to go before we sleep in terms of the improvement we can do for kids and how much we can and will grow kids.”
Craft said he sees a bright future for the district and said the district’s goal should be to outperform expectations.
“We can, should, and will be one of the leading districts in the state of Ohio,” Craft during his presentation.
In the coming years, Craft added it will be the district’s goal to improve overall performance and student growth.
“I see us, with all the advantages that we have when this is all said and done, being one of those leading districts in the state of Ohio,” he said. “People are going to want to come and see what’s going on in Buckeye Valley, and it’s going to be incredibly disappointing because the secret in life … is there is no secret. It’s treating kids well, asking a lot out of every kid, and it’s the blocking and tackling of teaching. It’s good lesson plans, having the right facilities and materials in place. It’s doing all those things that we know is right, and we’re going to focus on that.”
Craft said that at Buckeye Valley’s convocation on Wednesday, he discussed a goal of turning the district into “an oasis” for students.
“My commitment to our staff and what I’ve asked of them is … to make sure our kids come into a place where every one of them feels welcome, feels safe, and feels loved, and then we seek to grow them to the greatest amount that we can,” Craft said. “I feel we’re in a great place for exactly that.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.