Teaching and Learning Department

The Teaching and Learning Department provides leadership to educational programs and professional learning for teachers and administrators. We provide leadership for curriculum; assessment; instructional practices; teacher, school and district performance; continuous improvement; career-technical education; federal grants; the Ohio Improvement Process; Parent Curriculum Advisory Council; STEM programming; service learning; and professional development.

As we strive to personalize learning for every student, our staff members oversee intervention and enrichment services including summer academic intervention, credit recovery and new credit, response to intervention programs, College Credit Plus, advanced placement, global scholars, gifted education, and services for English Learners.

We recognize the need to prepare students for a changing, competitive, global workplace and are providing opportunities that reach beyond the boundaries of our schools through STEM programming, partnerships with business and industry, college coursework and service learning.

The Teaching & Learning Team

Alesia Gillison
Alesia Gillison
Chief Academic Officer - Assistant Superintendent
Kristina Hulse
Kristina Hulse
Executive Director of Student Services
Cathy Ely
Cathy Ely
Executive Director of Prevention & Intervention Services
Dr. Michael P. Jackson
Dr. Michael P. Jackson
Director of Diversity and Engagement
Dr. Lori Foltz-Rea
Dr. Lori Foltz-Rea
Coordinator II - Teaching & Learning Department
Todd Stanley
Todd Stanley
Gifted Coordinator
Samantha Shaffner
Samantha Shaffner
Coordinator of Assessment and Accountability
Dean Sabetta
Dean Sabetta
College Credit Plus Advisor
(614) 830-2700 x2816
Juanita Lemke
Juanita Lemke
Administrative Assistant to Ms. Alesia Gillison, Assistant Superintendent
Denise Mitchell
Denise Mitchell
Administrative Secretary, English Learners, Teaching & Learning Department

T&L Presentations and Community Engagement Zoom Events

Teaching and Learning staff often present updates on their work at PLSD Board of Education meetings. These presentations are followed up with a Zoom virtual event, typically the Wednesday following each board meeting, from 6-7pm. The public is invited and encouraged to join these Zoom events to ask questions about the initiatives and updates shared during the T&L presentations to the board. Visit the Zoom Events webpage to find out about upcoming virtual discussion events and to view the presentation materials.

State Standards

Ohio's Learning Standards

The State Board of Education adopted Ohio’s Learning Standards in English language arts and mathematics, the results of a multi-state effort. The board also has adopted Ohio’s Learning Standards in science, social studies, fine arts, world languages, and several other subjects.

These more rigorous standards, geared to college and career readiness, were implemented in Ohio classrooms starting in 2014.

English Language Arts and Literacy

Ohio’s Learning Standards for English language arts include standards for use in English language arts courses, as well as literacy standards in history/social studies, science, and technical subjects.  The standards for English language arts describe expertise that students will develop in the areas of reading, writing, speaking/listening, and language.  The standards also describe how students use and strengthen these skills—particularly reading and writing—in other subjects at their grade level.

Key Features of the Standards

Reading: Text complexity and growth of comprehension

The reading standards place equal emphasis on the sophistication of what students read and the skill with which they read.

Writing: Test types, responding to reading, and research

The writing standards apply to many types of writing: arguments, informative/explanatory texts, and narratives.

Speaking and listening: Flexible communication and collaboration

The speaking and listening standards require students to develop a range of broadly useful oral communication and interpersonal skills.

Language: Conventions (grammar), effective use, and vocabulary

The language standards include the essential “rules” of standard written and spoken English.

Mathematical Practice and Mathematical Content

Ohio’s Learning Standards for mathematics include two types of standards:  one for mathematical practice (how students are able to apply and extend math principles) and one for mathematical content (what students know about math).  The two are linked together while students are learning.

Standards for Mathematical Practice

  • Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
  • Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
  • Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
  • Model with mathematics.
  • Use appropriate tools strategically.
  • Attend to precision.
  • Look for and make use of structure.
  • Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.
National PTA Parents’ Guides to Student Success

The Parents’ Guides to Student Success were developed by teachers, parents and education experts in response to the Common Core State Standards that many states have adopted.

Created for Kindergarten through high school English language arts/literacy and mathematics, the guides provide clear, consistent expectations for what students should be learning at each grade in order to be prepared for college and career.

The guides include:

  • Key items children should be learning in English language arts and mathematics in each grade, once Common Core Standards are fully implemented.
  • Activities that parents can do at home to support their child’s learning.
  • Methods for helping parents build stronger relationships with their child’s
  • Tips for planning for college and career (high school only).

To view the guides, visit the National PTA website.

Standards-Based Education

What is Standards-Based Reporting?

Pickerington Schools are committed to the academic growth of all students. A key component of meeting this commitment is the accurate communication of student learning. Every state has outlined expectations for what students should know, understand, and be able to do. These expectations are called standards.

Student learning in grades K-5 is evaluated and reported relative to these standards. In a standards-based system, the goal is to provide accurate information about a student’s level of understanding of the standards. To do this, teachers will focus on student understanding or competency rather than the number of answers that were correct or incorrect.

In a standards-based system, it is no longer sufficient to use the symbols A, B, C, D, F to communicate learning. The grading symbol – called a Performance Score (mark) – provides a clear and specific description of student academic performance.

Reporting student mastery of standards changes the question from, “What’s the average of the student’s work?” to “What does the student understand?”

Benefits of Standards-Based Reporting

While letter grades are familiar to parents, they only give limited information about what a student has learned. Averaging traditional grades does not necessarily present an accurate picture of the learning that a student has achieved. When using letter grades, the grades are averaged and do not necessarily reflect what a student has mastered in a particular area for the “final learning.”

Traditional vs. Standards-Based

In a traditional system:

  • Subjects are listed by name.
  • Grades reflect an averaging of scores to determine a letter grade for a subject area.
  • Letter grades A-F reflect an individual teacher’s expectations, student effort, and achievement.
  • A child’s performance is labeled and often includes such things as extra credit, work habits, an attitude.
  • Curriculum and instruction are teacher centered, textbook driven, and not consistently aligned to the state standards.

In a Standards-based system:

  • Standards are defined by standards.
  • Grades reflect the level of achievement on various standards for each subject area.
  • Numerical and/or proficiency levels indicate mastery of the grade level standards. Achievement and effort are reported separately.
  • Concrete information is given to assist a child, and academic performance is separated from work habits and personal characteristics.
  • Curriculum and instruction are aligned with state and district standards.
How is a Performance Score (Mark) Determined?

Learning will be reported based on evidence of what a student understands and can do at particular points in time rather than an average over a reporting period.

Performance scores are based on a student’s academic achievement and do not include effort, attitude, or work habits.

Performance scores reflect the quality of student understanding, rather than the quantity of points accumulated.


Students master standards through instruction and practice. Student practice can be done in a group or independently.

Practice is not used to measure a student’s mastery of the standards, but rather to give students time to develop understanding before understanding is measured. When your child talks about practice or brings home a paper with “Practice” written at the top, it means the student completed the task and the teacher has reviewed the work.


After providing opportunities to practice, teachers will measure, or gather evidence on, each student’s level of understanding or mastery of the material taught. Evidence may be an assignment, a test, a center activity, or a one-on-one discussion.

How is a Performance Score (Mark) Reported?

Evidence of student learning is collected at the standard level and reported on the standards-based report card by standard. The performance score (mark) – indicated by an M, P, L, N – provides accurate information about students’ levels of understanding of the standard.

The following are the descriptions for the Performance Scores (Marks):

(M) Mastery means that your child is meeting the year-end grade level standard and may be ready to work at greater depth. The student can consistently apply their learning to new situations with accuracy and quality. The student’s work demonstrates a solid knowledge of grade level concepts and skills as described in the standards. If the student reaches mastery of the standard, the teacher will continue to provide opportunities for your child to explore subjects at greater levels of depth and complexity.

(P) Progressing toward mastery means that your child is making expected progress toward meeting the year-end grade level standards. The student’s work demonstrates consistent growth of knowledge toward grade level concepts and skills as described in the standards. Performance is characterized by the student’s developing ability to understand and apply key grade level concepts, processes and skills.

(L) Less than expected progress means that your child is making less than expected progress toward meeting end of year standards with increased support. The student’s work does not demonstrate knowledge of grade level concepts and skills as described in the standards. Performance is characterized by the student’s ability to understand and apply concepts, processes and skills one or more years below grade level. Interventions will be used to support the student in progressing toward grade level standards.

(N) No Progress means that your child is making no progress toward meeting end of year grade level standards with extensive support. The students’ work provided no evidence of growth toward expected grade level concepts and skills as described in the standards. Extensive interventions will be used to support the student on grade level standards.

(I) Insufficient Evidence means there is not enough evidence to indicate performance.

By accurately reporting student learning in relationship to instruction with each standard, the instructional needs of students can be better identified. Meeting these needs allows students to grow academically and be prepared to meet tomorrow’s challenges.

Performance Level Descriptors (PLDs)

The Performance Level Descriptors (PLDs) are the link between Ohio’s Learning Standards and performance standards.

They were developed by Ohio educators and other content experts to illustrate the typical demonstration of the learning for each of the five performance levels: Limited, Basic, Proficient, Accelerated and Advanced.

Teachers can review the PLDs for each course to match each descriptive statement with its course standards. Teachers can then review local curriculum materials to see if opportunities are being given to students to demonstrate deeper conceptual understanding of course content at the different performance levels.


First Grade

Second-grade English

Second-grade Math

Third-grade English

Third-grade Math

Fourth-grade English

Fourth-grade Math

Curriculum Liaison Council

What is the Council?

Ohio House Bill 487 requires that districts create a parent advisory committee of some other method of providing feedback to the district on curriculum issues as a way of improving communication and expanding representation in the process.

Roles of a Council Member
  • Provide representative input to identify key issues and/or topics impacting the quality of education provided to Pickerington students.
  • Serve as a key communicator in conveying information from the Council
  • Provide input in developing parent and community engagement opportunities regarding the issues/topics identified by the Council.
  • Be familiar with the district website, key contacts, and other sources of information regarding curriculum, programs, funding and buildings.
  • Attend 90-minute quarterly meetings