PIQUA — Piqua City Schools continue to strive to help students reach their Success Bound goals that will lead them to productive post-graduation pathways whether it be more education, the workforce, or military.
Superintendent Dwayne Thompson indicated there continues to be an increase in the number of students interested in learning more about potential career paths.
“We continue to have a record number of students that are interested in career-based learning,” Thompson said. “Whether it be at the UVCC (Upper Valley Career Center) or through the programs we host at the Piqua High School, students have taken a great interest in learning more about a variety of careers and how they can grow and succeed in these potential work-related fields. We are working hard to meet this growing interest by our students.”
Beginning next school year, all freshmen will earn a pre-apprenticeship credential through one of their courses at the Piqua High School. The pre-apprenticeship program teaches basic technical and job-readiness skills. The Piqua High School currently offers four pre-apprenticeship programs for students to choose from. Students also get the opportunity to participate in local manufacturing days and job fairs.
Thompson said, “We are fortunate to have great places to work in Piqua and we are thankful that they are eager to engage our students to learn more about our local workforce strengths and opportunities.”
Thompson shared the Piqua City Schools Business Advisory Council (BAC) once again received a 3 Star Rating from the Ohio Department of Education. BACs throughout the state of Ohio work to build partnerships between schools and the workforce.
“We are proud of this partnership and value each of our member’s contributions to this important work. To be one of fourteen schools to receive this honor out of 610 local school districts throughout the state is quite an accomplishment for this group and that means our students are the real winners,” said Thompson.
Academically, Piqua met the state indicators set for achievement, graduation, and gap closing on the state local report card. A total of 90% of Piqua teachers met or exceeded a year’s growth with their students on thestate value added reports making it one of the most successful years of student growth in the past five years. The district did not meet the state indicator for early literacy.
Thompson said, “We have seen a sharp decline in our kindergarten readiness assessment scores over the past three years that is significantly impacting our work with improving this indicator.” This assessment is given in the first weeks of school to indicate a child’s readiness for kindergarten.
Thompson said, “In 2020, 43% of our incoming kindergarteners demonstrated readiness. In 2021, it went down to 32%, and in 2022, it was down even more to 24% demonstrating readiness for kindergarten. It will be important that we continue to help students that enter kindergarten behind get caught up to their peers as soon as possible. We have invested the majority of our ESSER funds in teaching and instruction to help us address some of these roadblocks we are facing.”
Financially, Piqua City Schools has faced inflation, labor shortages, and higher educational needs as other districts.
Treasurer Jeremie Hittle said, “Increasing costs have put pressure on our budget, but through proper management of resources, we have been able to keep our expenses relatively level while still maintaining a high-quality education.”
Expenses are forecasted to continue to rise through 2027; however, Hittle predicts the budget should remain in the black through 2025 with no unforeseen circumstances.
Thompson closed by sharing, “A lot of great work continues each day in Piqua City Schools to help our students succeed in the classroom and with our award-winning extracurriculars. We are thankful for our community’s tremendous support as we know we can’t do our important work without it!”