Putnam Elem. headed in the right direction

My name is Scott Kratche, the principal at Putnam Elementary School. I have had the privilege of working with the children in Marietta City Schools for 20 years in various capacities. During my time with Marietta City Schools I have served as a physical education teacher, coach, assistant principal at Marietta Middle School and principal at Washington Elementary and Putnam Elementary. The bulk of my time has been invested as an elementary principal. I said “invested” because I believe my efforts and the educators I have worked with pour our energies and efforts into the lives of our students.

The role of a principal is somewhat diverse. From hiring staff, overseeing instruction, managing a budget, running and participating in a variety of meetings, supporting staff and parents, troubleshooting, recognizing student needs and working with families and staff to help students succeed. My intent in describing a principal’s role is not to draw attention to myself or my position, but to demonstrate that immediate help for students and direct instruction comes from our incredible teachers and support staff. Putnam Elementary has an amazingly talented team of educators, with well over 500 years of combined instructional work experience. Ranging from two to 40 years of teaching experience, with over half of the staff working and serving in the education field for 20 or more years.

The degree of training this team has is significant in helping us provide quality instruction to and for our students. Less than half of our team has a bachelor’s degree, plus additional graduate classes. More than half of this team has a master’s degree, plus additional graduate classes. Many even have in excess of a master’s degree plus 30 graduate hours in coursework.

You might think that I sound a little braggadocio or proud. I confess that I am very proud to work with such a wonderful group of professionals, who not only work hard to provide an excellent educational experience for our students, but also invest their time, resources and energies to continue learning and honing their skills as educators.

Someone who may only see our Ohio State report card might argue about the quality of instruction taking place at Putnam Elementary. If this was the only measure that I used to determine our effectiveness, I would most likely come to the same conclusion. After all, Putnam only earned a C in Achievement (this represents the number of students who passed the state tests).

Did you know that while the Ohio Department of Education determined that Putnam earned a C in overall achievement, ODE also recognized Putnam Elementary for earning the 2016 Momentum Award. What is the Momentum Award? This award recognizes individual schools that have helped all of their students improve more than expected in one year for the subjects of math and reading. Maybe the report card doesn’t reflect the quality of education in our schools after all.

Once upon a time, I cheered and applauded teams that I played on or coached, for a well played season. Now, I am applauding my latest team for an incredibly well played season. Way to go Putnam! Way to go Marietta!

Scott Kratche is principal at Putnam Elementary School. Education Corner appears monthly on the Opinion page.