A Message from the Superintendent

Randy Cotner, Superintendent (head and shoulders photo)

The 1st 9 week grading period of the 2019-2020 school year has come and gone.  Time passes quickly! 

We welcomed 8 new professionals to our staff.  Don’t panic, only two of those are additional positions, and one of those is through the Fairfield County ESC.  They are: Sadie Butts (4-9 Language Arts/Social Studies) this is an additional position, Caleb Stout (K-12 Vocal Music), Christina Wentz (3rd Grade), Deidra Long (K-2 Special Needs), Amanda Davis (9-10 Special Needs), Jessica Mohler (School Psychologist), Lena Cardenas (Speech/Hearing), Christi Eyerman (Director of Special Needs), Tina Mullins (bus driver).

Our 2018-2019 Local Report Card (LRC) was released mid-September 2019.  Our students & staff made improvements in 6 of the 7 graded categories of the LRC.  They are: overall letter grade, achievement, progress, gap-closing (increased 3 letter grades!), graduation rate and K-3 Literacy.  Congratulations to our students and staff!  For further details check out the Local Report Card article and Power Point presentation given to the Board at the October board of education meeting.  You can find this information on the district and the Laker Pride Facebook page.

Our 2019 fall sports season has come to a close.  A number of our athletes received all-league and all-district honors.  The Marching Lakers have successfully competed in marching band contests in central Ohio.  Look for more information on these athletes and musicians on the Laker Pride Facebook page and in The Laker Lowdown newsletters.  We are now gearing up for winter sports and activities.  Come out and support our Lakers!

We continue to make improvements to our grounds and facilities.  We are in the process of changing all of our lighting from fluorescent and incandescent bulb to LED lighting.  These changes will increase our lighting and reduce our use of electricity.  The new floor on the elementary gym/stage floor is complete.  Beginning in November, a new security camera system will be installed in both buildings.  The new systems are very high-tech and have increased capabilities over the old system.  Part of the funding for this upgrade comes from a $40,000 grant we were awarded from the Bureau of Workers Compensation.  We have also received $50,000 in grant money to help offset the cost of a new playground at the elementary building.  We are hopeful this project will start in the very near future (providing Mother Nature cooperates).

Good things are happening at Walnut Township Local Schools.  Come out and support our school in their academic and extra-curricular activities.  Our students love to see you on the sidelines or in the audience.  As always, my door is always open.  If you have questions about anything regarding your school district, stop by and I will do my best to answer your questions.


Yours in education,

Cotner Signature

DISTRICT Sees improvement in 6 of 7 graded report card areas


Walnut Township Local Schools improved on six of the seven graded components on the local report card. The overall grade improved from a D to a C, Achievement improved from a D to a C, Academic Progress (value-added) improved from a D to a C, Gap Closing improved from an F to a B and the K-3 literacy component improved from a C to a B. The final area of the report card, Prepared for Success, stayed the same at a grade of an F.

WTLSD achievement was in the top three districts in Fairfield County in grades 3, 4, 5 and 10th ELA, grades 5, 6 and 8 mathematics, and grades 5, 8 and high school biology. The district improved in the number of academic indicators met from 3/24 in 2017-2018 to 8/24 in 2018-2019.

While the overall report card grade and five of the component grades improved, we are still focusing on improving in each component to improve outcomes for our students. Since 2014, despite increased standards and increases in cut-score thresholds, the district has improved its performance year over year and will continue to strive to ensure the local report card reflects the quality educational opportunities that the district is providing. 

The District’s Gap Closing grade which measures how well the district is closing the achievement gap between students with disabilities and economically disadvantaged students with other students improved from an F to an A. Unfortunately, we missed a short term goal set by the State of Ohio and therefore were lowered to a B. The improvement from an F in 2017-2018 to a B in 2018-2019 demonstrates the commitment of the staff and quality of academics taking place daily in the district.

The Prepared for Success component of the local report card has been a D or F for the past five years. The district is targeting this component to ensure we are making gains in working with students in grades 9-12 to improve post-high school outcomes for students. The State of Ohio defines a student as prepared for success if they meet one or more of the following conditions: Remediation Free Score on the ACT or SAT; earn an Honors Diploma or earn an Industry Recognized Credential. The district is targeting ACT test prep, expansion of courses offered in Advanced Placement and College Credit Plus and working with students earlier to earn an honors diploma to enhance this component of the report card. 

The district is focusing improvement efforts during the 2019-2020 school year in serving all gifted students in the secondary building which has not occurred in the past, training secondary teachers to serve gifted students, increasing Advanced Placement and CCP courses, ACT test preparation, supporting more students to earn honors diplomas and continuing the focus on the district instructional model in the areas of rigorous learning experiences, fostering a positive school climate, engaging learners, and modernizing instructional programs and practices to meet the needs of today’s youth.

The district will continue to make changes to improve the outcomes for students and with the support of the administration, teachers, board of education and community, we can achieve making Walnut Township Local Schools the place to be in Fairfield County. You can check out the local report card presentation given to the board at the October 14, 2019 board of education meeting on the district website or Laker Pride Page.

To watch the slide show that was presented at the October 14, 2019 school board meeting please click on the image in this article.

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