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Total Enrollment: 883

Students identified as students with disabilities: 11.6%
Students identified as economically disadvantaged: 45.9%
Students identified as minority: 0.4%
Students identified as limited English proficient: 0%

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Bloom Vernon Local Schools students

"People will die for a cause, but they won't follow an initiative," explained South Webster Elementary School Principal Scott Holstein in talking about the natural inclination of the staff to resist externally imposed programs or strategies. Located in rural Appalachian Scioto County, the district serves 883 children in two buildings – the K-6th grade South Webster Elementary and the 7-12th grade South Webster Junior/Senior High School. "We're simultaneously 'tight' on values and 'loose' on how you get there," said 4th-5th Intervention Specialist Heidi Holstein. The husband and wife team have been with the district a number of years, having taught in Texas prior to joining Bloom Vernon.

Often described as the Little Smokies, Scioto County is located in the south central part of the state bordering the Ohio River and close to Shawnee State Forest, Ohio's largest state forest with more than 60,000 acres. With a population of a little over 2,200 people, the village of South Webster has an unemployment rate of 11.8 percent and a per capita personal income below $30,000.1 About half of the district's students are categorized as economically disadvantaged, and about half also live with family members who are unable to read. But that is viewed as a reality to be addressed, not as a reason for low achievement. "There is no whining here about what parents do or don't do for their kids. There are conditions that may present challenges, but they can't be used as an excuse for low expectations," stated Heidi Holstein.

NCLB sent a clear call to action and made us realize that kids can do this; we just weren't set up to teach them what they needed to do well.

– Heidi Holstein, 4th-5th Intervention Specialist

A 'No Excuses' Culture

Today, a 'no excuses' attitude pervades the conversation at the district level. However, that wasn't always the case. South Webster Junior/Senior High School Principal Bob Johnson, in his 27th year with the district, describes the turning point in the district's journey to becoming a much more focused organization. "About nine years ago, we didn't make AYP for students with disabilities and that had a huge effect on me personally," said Johnson. "I was embarrassed," he recalled. Heidi Holstein remembers that time well, explaining that "NCLB sent a clear call to action and made us realize that kids can do this; we just weren't set up to teach them what they needed to do well."

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Bloom Vernon Local Schools Photos


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Supported by: U.S. Office of Special Education Programs