‘One Tecumseh’ aims to heal district

By: 
JIM LINCOLN

Acting co-superintendent of Tecumseh Public Schools (TPS), Ryan Rhoades, set a tone of healing and reconciliation at Monday’s regular board meeting where he presented a plan, TPS – Path to One Tecumseh, to re-evaluate the school district and its curriculum. The plan received unanimous support from the board.

The district has suffered deep divisions over the implementation of mass customized and project-based learning following a reconfiguration of school facilities and grades that was rolled out in September of 2017. While many parents, teachers, and staff supported the changes, others did not. Many viewed the previous board and superintendent as uncompromising, which divided the district and led to the recall of four board members, and election loss for two incumbents.

In his presentation, Rhoades emphasized the need to slow things down in order to take a methodical approach in the collection and evaluation of data.

In a Power Point presentation, Rhoades said, “We want to launch a structured re-evaluation of the strategic design to diligently and methodically evaluate Tecumseh Public Schools.” His recommendation involved a three-phase process.

Phase one: review and discuss the platform that board members were elected on; evaluate best practice using quantitative data and research; evaluate student performance through quantitative data; and obtain a third party opinion survey of TPS  parents, teachers, administration and staff.

Phase two: evaluate the vision and mission statements.

Phase three: appoint seven committees to evaluate curriculum and assessment, finance, technology, facilities and safety, human resources, communication, and athletics.

Committee members, as Rhoades recommended, would be appointed by a selection team, including Rhoades, board president Tim Simpson, board members Rebecca Brooks and John Benzing, acting co-superintendent and principal Griff Mills, and one member of the Tecumseh Education Association.

“The guiding principle,” Rhoades said, “is to deliver a design of an educational system that prepares students for life, based on proven best practice. The outcome will be a strategic redesign template to be used as the map for fine-tuning our school district.”

An update on progress of the plan will be presented at upcoming school board meetings with completion by the end of April.

“To the community, I hope you understand. I’m trying to be an honest broker, that we look at data and go step by step by step, and that we don’t move in a chaotic fashion, that we don’t damage the things we have. TPS is a great place and we want to keep it that way,” Rhoades said.

 “Our teachers are doing a great job, but the animosity in the district is immeasurable,” said Rhoades, who was first appointed by the board as technology director, and then co-superintendent along with Mills following a separation agreement with supt. Dr. Kelly Coffin earlier this month.

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Tecumseh Herald

 

110 E. Logan St.
P.O. Box 218
Tecumseh, MI 49286
517-423-2174
800-832-6443

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