Fort Loramie school in Hall of Fame

By Patricia Ann Speelman -

FORT LORAMIE — Fort Loramie Elementary School has been named a 2019 Hall of Fame School by the Ohio Association of Elementary School Administrators (OAESE).

It is one of seven in the state to be so honored this year.

“We’re pretty excited about it,” said Superintendent Dan Holland. “We’ve made national recognition and now we’ve made state recognition. People are starting to realize the quality of education in Fort Loramie.”

The national recognition was the district’s designation by the U.S. Department of Education as a Blue Ribbon School in 2014.

The OAESA Hall of Fame School Award recognizes schools that engage faculty, students and the community to provide a quality school experience. The school staff submitted an extensive application documenting the effectiveness of their educational program in several areas, according to a release by the OAESA.

Dr. Julie Davis, OAESA executive director, told the Sidney Daily News that 32 schools were nominated this year.

“It’s a pretty robust process,” she said. The 12-page application requires completion through collaboration of the whole school community. Schools must submit demographic information; mission and vision statements and how the schools’ missions and visions are tied to their districts’ missions and visions; student achievement records and the state report cards; information about teacher teams; student data; what professional development is made available to faculty; how they meet diverse needs of all learners and the emotional, social and mental health needs of their students; and what programs are in place to promote citizenship.

Schools also provide information about their use of finances; how they keep their buildings, students and staff safe; what kinds of community and business partnerships are in place; how they use social and other media to communicate with parents and the community; and what their curriculum and instructional methods and goals are, the timeline for meeting the goals and how they evaluate their progress.

Peer volunteers score the applications, which are reviewed anonymously. The reviewers don’t know which schools they’re reading about. Every application is read and scored independently by three reviewers.

“Out of 100 points, a school must receive at least 75 points to advance,” Davis said. It is OAESA policy not to say how many points any given school received. Those that advance receive site visits from additonal peer reviewers. Eight schools had site visits this year. Seven of those schools won the Hall of Fame designation.

“We send a team of two administrators to the building,” Davis said. The administrators sometimes spend a whole school day; sometimes, a half day. But they are always there for either the beginning of school or the end of school in order to assess the transition and to have the opportunity for casual conversations with parents. They tour the building and peek in on classes.

They also have structured conversations with teachers, noncertified personnel, students, PTA members, representatives of businesses that partner with the school and administrators. And they “hang out” with kids, Davis said.

In meetings with principals, they ask, “Why would we pick your school?”

“Fort Loramie did a fabulous job. We’re thrilled to celebrate with them,” Davis said.

Following their evaluation, the reviewers wrote, ““Fort Loramie Elementary is a collaborative learning community that proactively seeks to support their students’ needs. There is no denying that Fort Loramie Elementary has all the makings of a Hall of Fame school!”

Principal Scott Rodeheffer will be presented with a plaque in June during the OAESA’s annual conference. The award includes a $1,000 donation to the school.

Holland said the money will be used to purchase a banner to hang in the school and to pay for a Hall of Fame T-shirt for every elementary student, faculty and staff member. The shirts will be distributed during an upcoming assembly to proclaim the award. He said that the Ace Committee, an academic booster group, will help the celebration continue during the end-of-year school picnic. The committee has donated funds for Kona Ice to be there to provide treats.

By Patricia Ann Speelman

Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.