Ada Schools District Newsletter

First Quarter 2017

District Information

The mission of the Ada Exempted Village Schools is “Aspiring to excel in all areas of the school experience.” The 2016-2017 school year saw much evidence that we are working toward our mission. To that end, we have spent some time in various leadership groups, working on putting into words the things we believe regarding education. Those beliefs include:
  • Effective and innovative instructional strategies include those that are relevant, research-based, data-driven, and technologically advanced.
  • Optimum learning occurs when students are highly engaged in meaningful work, assisting in setting their own high standards and measuring progress.
  • Students are better prepared for the future when they become self-directed learners, independent thinkers, and problem-solvers.
  • Students who are provided educational excellence, community service opportunities, and extra-curricular activities develop into well-rounded young adults who become caring citizens and contributing members of society.
  • School and community partnerships include those with schools, families, businesses, universities, and other community organizations or groups.
  • Through the dedicated efforts of school, family and community, students are launched for lives of learning.

District Continuous Improvement Plan Goals:

  • All students will reach high standards, at a minimum attaining proficiency or better in reading/language arts and mathematics. Students with Disabilities and Economically Disadvantaged will meet their Annual Measurable Objective (AMO) targets.
  • The district will provide a positive and welcoming school climate where students and teachers have a voice and a sense of belonging.

For each of these goals, multiple strategies have been put into place, and multiple measures for success have been identified.

School Report Card

  • In areas of Gap Closing (closing the gap between subpopulations of students and the group as a whole) and K-3 Literacy (moving students who are not reading at grade level to reading at grade level), the district received Bs, and was the highest school in the county of these and two other of the six measures.
  • Ada schools improved 3 letter grades and 2 letter grades, from the previous year, in Gap Closing and Literacy respectively.
  • We were the highest school in the county in four of six measures, and 2nd in two measures.
  • On average, Ada students made more than a year’s worth of progress in 2016-2017 in growth measures.
  • We had the highest average score on all tests given in grades 3-5, and met all those indicators, even though the state raised the score to reach to count as proficient to 80% from all different percentages in the year present (cut scores ranged from high 50s to low 70s the year before).
  • We were above the state average on almost every test given from grades 3-12.

You can find the report card here:

Here is a link to the 32 page “Ohio Guide to 2017 Ohio School Report Cards” that explains the six measures listed on the schools’ report cards:

Skilliter Joins Ada Exempted Village Schools as Superintendent

In January of 2017, Mrs. Meri Skilliter began her term as Ada’s Superintendent, after Dr. Suzanne Darmer announced her retirement in the fall after 10 wonderful years at Ada. While it was an unusual time of year to make a transition in leadership, Mrs. Skilliter was thrilled to join this district. For those who did not see newspaper articles introducing Mrs. Skilliter, we thought some background might be helpful.

Mrs. Skilliter grew up in Elmore, Ohio, and graduated from Woodmore High School. She came to the area to attend Bluffton College, and shortly thereafter, her then fiancé joined the Bluffton Police Department. Upon graduating from Bluffton College, Mrs. Skilliter was hired as a teacher in the Bluffton Exempted Village School district. After thirteen years at Bluffton, Mrs. Skilliter earned her master’s degree from the University of Dayton and followed up with coursework for a principal license at the University of Findlay. She served 8 years as elementary principal at Gibsonburg. After working on her Superintendent’s licensure at the University of Findlay, Mrs. Skilliter was hired by McComb Local Schools to be their Superintendent. She served McComb for 3 ½ years before joining the Ada School family. Some of her reasons for wanting to come to Ada included the history of academic excellence at Ada, the potential for collaboration with ONU, the outstanding extracurricular offerings (including music and the arts), and the amazing community support for the school.

Mrs. Skilliter’s husband retired from the Bluffton Police Department, having served as Bluffton’s Police Chief for 13 years, and worked a year for Perry ProTech before recently accepting a position with the Partnership for Violence Free Families (PVFF). Mr. and Mrs. Skilliter have been volunteers with Bluffton EMS for over 25 years, and they have served the West Ohio Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) team for over 20 years. This team has expanded in the area to provide school crisis response, a ministry that both the Skilliters hold near and dear to their hearts. Mr. Skilliter is now the team’s coordinator.

The Skilliters have three sons, Evan (25), Jordan (20) and Braden (20). In addition they now have a daughter in law, Rachel, who is a first year math teacher at Shawnee schools. The Skilliters are also owned by three dogs, two of which also do crisis response work on the CISM team.

Curriculum & Instruction/Teaching & Learning

Robin Vanbuskirk

K-12 Principal

Curriculum & Instruction

Teaching & Learning

District Leadership Team

The Ada Schools District Leadership team meets four times per year to discuss and plan for district needs and develop a Comprehensive Continuous Improvement Plan. During the 2016-2017 school year we added parent representatives to our team and will add students to our team for the 2017-2018 school year. This will provide our District Leadership Team with input from additional stakeholders and serve as an avenue for continued two way conversations regarding district goals and needs. The Ada Schools District Leadership Team has identified two goals for the 2017-2018 school year. Those goals are increasing the number of students who are proficient on state tests including closing the gap with our students with disabilities and economically disadvantaged students. The second goal is provide a warm and welcoming climate for all of our students. Building Leadership Teams and Teacher Based Teams meet regularly to develop plans and monitor progress towards these goals.

Literacy Collaborative

Teachers in grades K-3 have been involved in implementing The Ohio State University’s Literacy Collaborative Framework for the past 4 years. The Literacy Collaborative Framework is a balanced literacy program that focuses on improving the reading, writing and language skills of elementary students. Teachers have attended professional development sessions at OSU and continue to receive on site coaching through our Literacy Coach and Reading Specialists. The goal is to use this comprehensive framework to raise the level of achievement of students. The framework focuses on particular components of a balanced literacy program which include guided reading groups, interactive and shared reading, word work, phonics and interactive writing. The progress of all students is monitored through assessments, data collection and data analysis.

Genre Studies

Teachers in grades 4-8 have begun to implement Genre Studies as a framework for teaching reading and writing to our middle grade students. Genre studies is an inquiry based approach based on the Literacy Collaborative Framework. 4-8 English/Language Arts teachers have attended trainings through Ohio State University’s Literacy Collaborative and continue to receive support from our Literacy Coach and Reading Specialists. The framework concentrates on three broad contexts which include Interactive Read aloud, Readers’ Workshop and Writers’ Workshop.

Intervention-Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI)

Fountas and Pinnell’s Leveled Literacy Intervention is a supplemental, research-based , short term intervention program that provides for small group instruction with intensive intervention for students who may be struggling with Reading. It is designed to significantly increase the reading levels of all students in the program. This program was fully implemented with our Title I students during the 2016-2017 school year. Its success has led us to implement the program with all of our students with disabilities for the 2017-2018 school year. Teachers are supported through on-going professional development with OSU’s Literacy Collaborative and through our Literacy Coach and/or district Reading Specialists. This program serves grades K-6 Title I students, grades K-6 special education students, and 9th grade students reading well below grade level.

High School Courses

Ada High School continues to offer a wide variety of courses to our students. In addition to core courses in English, math, science and social studies, students have the opportunity to select from several elective opportunities. Ada High School offers both French and Spanish, a variety of art classes, several music courses and physical education electives. During the 2016-2017 school year, we added intervention classes for both Algebra I and Geometry and continued to provide a reading intervention class for students who are reading significantly below grade level. These intervention classes provide our students with the supports they need to be successful in the classroom.

Ada High School offers several courses for college credit through the College Credit Plus (CCP) program. Students can take advantage of approximately 387 hours of college credit in partnership with Rhodes State College and Ohio Northern University or through Advanced Placement courses in English and American History.

During the 2017-2018 school year, new courses were added as a result of both teacher and student input. Grades 11 & 12 English courses were restructured to provide students with more opportunities for college credit and a college type semester course structure. STEM courses were added as the need for increased knowledge in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics continues to grow. STEM courses help prepare students for success in our ever changing information based, technological society.


Ada Schools uses multiple data sources to monitors student progress, track trend data and determine instructional needs. These data sources include STAR Reading and Math for grades K-8 along with 9th grade intervention, Fountas and Pinnell Benchmarking K-3, state test results, ACT results and CCP enrollment. The District Leadership Team, Building Leadership Teams and Teacher Based Teams and/or Department Teams analyze the data and use the data to make informed educational decisions for our students.

Textbooks Purchases

A new Houghton Mifflin Harcourt math series, Go Math for grades K-5, was purchased for the 2017-2018 school year. This curriculum offers eTexts, online tools and assessments for students. This series replaces Everyday Math and is aligned to Ohio’s Learning Standards. A new math series was purchased for grades 6-10 in 2015-2016 and for grades 11 & 12 for the 2017-2018 school year. Grades 6-12 Math series, Big Ideas Math, is the upper grade follow-up to the Go Math series in grades K-5. This will provide consistency, common language and a clear scope and sequence for math instruction K-12. New texts were also purchased for Anatomy and Physiology during the 2016-2017 school year and VoAg and AP History along with multiple books and resources for our English department for the 2017-2018 school year. A textbook purchase and needs analysis is completed yearly as we continue to align our resources to state standards and district needs.

High School

To the Bulldog Community,

Ada Middle and High School had an outstanding 2016-2017 school year! The teaching staff gained two new teachers with Mr. Henning (Vocal Music) and Mrs. Schaffner (French). Mrs. Schaffner brought over 15 years of teaching experience in both French and English classrooms. Mr. Henning not only had educational experience, but a background in professional performance throughout the United States and Europe. Both teachers added new ideas to their courses as well as preserving the rich traditions they inherited.

Academically, our students continued to excel inside and outside the classroom. From our senior Physics classes making Battle Bots to our to our 6th graders serving their community at the Ada Railroad Park, our teachers systematically sought to engage our students in impactful learning experiences. In addition, our students finished first in the county in all 12 tested areas from 7th thru 11th grade. This was also the first year our school was able to offer the ACT to our the entire junior class and to any sophomores who requested. These students registered the highest ACT composite average compared to the state and had 10 students score a 30 or higher both of which were records for the high school.

To help support our students, two additional math intervention classes were added to the schedule for Algebra I and Geometry. Between these courses and 9th grade reading intervention, our teachers have the opportunity to give our students the help they need. The Ada Interclass literary competition celebrated its 111th year crowning winners in essay, poetry, short story and dramatic reading! The National Honor Society inducted 20 new students.

Looking to the 2017-2018 school year, our teachers and students are excited about the new courses offered at our high school. These classes include Composition 1, Composition 2, British Literature and The American Short Story, all of which our students can take for college credit. In addition, our new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) teacher, Mr. Hunt, is teaching Video Game Design, App Development and Robotics! We as a middle and high school will continue “to aspire to excel in all areas of the school experience.”

With Bulldog Pride,

Dan Lee

Elementary School

Mr. Ben Thaxton

Asst. Principal

District Technology Coordinator

2016-17 was a fantastic year in the Ada Elementary School where our students were provided many exciting opportunities. We had a science focus day where, thanks to the support of Ada Academic Boosters, we brought "COSI on Wheels" in and our students Explored Ecology by completing many hands on activities.

We also focused on character education where the "NED Show" taught us to Never Give Up, Encourage Others, and to Do Your Best through his amazing yo-yo trick show. Ronald McDonald also stopped by and talked to us about being a good friend. Additionally our school community defined characteristics of a BULLDOG by defining each letter, and then we focused our monthly character education in the classrooms around these themes.

A Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS) team was created as we targeted a research-based approach to social, emotional and behavior support for our students. Our staff identified 3 rules for our school - Respect Yourself, Respect Others, and Respect Property - and targeted our behavior expectations in our common areas. Students then receive recognition for the positive behavior that they exhibit on a daily basis by teachers filling out Paw Tickets. You may have seen some of these coming home with your students. We then randomly select 3 monthly winners who get a nice prize package!

Technology access was increased in 2016-17 and it made a huge impact in our classrooms. All classrooms in 3-6 have a Chromebook for each student, and additional iPads were purchased for our K-2 classrooms. This integration of technology into our lessons has transformed what students can access and create in our classes. Students are reading, writing, and creating some amazing things, both individually and collaboratively with their classmates. It has opened up new opportunities that we are grateful to have every day!


2016-17 was a big year for education technology in our district. Ada Schools increased technology access to our students by increasing our student devices for teaching and learning. Fourteen carts full of 265 Chromebooks were purchased and distributed across both the elementary building and high school. These devices gave all of our students and teachers in core subject areas in grades 3-12 access to a Chromebook to use in their classes.

Providing devices to our staff and students was necessary, but we also needed to invest in our network to provide our district access to the rich online content and resources. The core network switch was updated along with adding additional access points to provide the wireless access to our staff and student devices across our campus.

Having these devices meant we needed to invest in our teachers and provide them with resources and professional development to enable them effectively utilize them with students in their classes. As a Google Apps for Education school district, we had a primary focus on learning the many Google apps that are available to staff and students and learn how to use them effectively in the classroom. This has transformed teaching and learning in our district.

Ada Schools focused 2016-17 on increasing our online presence and communication with our school community. Our website was updated and we continued to grow our social media presence. You can find us online at, on Facebook by searching Ada Bulldogs, and on Twitter @Ada_Schools. You can also sign up for text alerts from our district at

Finally, parents in grades 3-12 can follow their students academic success by utilizing ProgressBook Parent Access. ProgressBook is our online grading program and you can monitor your student's progress through your account. If you need assistance or have questions, please contact the elementary or high school office.

Cafeteria & Nutrition Services

Mrs. Ann Hersey

Director of Nutrition Services

We Think Nutrition Because They Can’t Think Without It!

Our team is made up of food and nutrition professionals that are dedicated to students’ health, well- being and their ability to learn. Check out our district’s interactive and user friendly Nutrition Services website. You can sign up to receive our lunch menu by e-mail by going to “Going Green”.

We also offer PayForIt, a way of putting money on your child’s account online.

Price’s for Breakfast and Lunch

Breakfast K – 12 $1.25, reduced is .30

Lunch PS – 5 $2.00, 6 – 12 $2.25, reduced is .40

Applications are always available in the office or by calling 419-772-4312 and I will send one home, as well as on-line thru our Nutrition Website.

Charging Policy:

Grades PS – 5 may charge one time, Grades 6 – 12 are not permitted to charge at all.

We are off to a good start and look forward to a wonderful year. Thank You for your support of our Foodservice Department. We are proud to say we are self-supporting in our department, meaning we are not funded through the general fund.

Facilities and Transportation

Mr. Mike Lenhart

Director of Facilities and Transportation
Facilities updates

  • Upgraded 1971 wing for preschool
  • Switched locations of 19 elementary classrooms
  • Converted locker room into training room
  • Remodeled part of team room into officials room
  • Replaced east side approach to bus garage with concrete

Transportation updates:

  • 10 passenger van in service
  • 72 passenger bus in service