Principal's Message


My name is Garry Hawes. I have been an educator in Xenia for 19 years. I have been the principal of McKinley Elementary for the past 10 years. I have been a Xenia resident for all of my years as an educator. I have a wonderful wife, Maggie, and 3 daughters, Carlee, Eliza, and Andie. We are active community members, who love living here in Xenia. There are many things that go on "behind the scenes" at McKinley Elementary. I would like to give you a "tour" of what goes into making Xenia Community Schools, and McKinley Elementary in particular, such a great place to learn.

Teacher-based Teams

Teacher-based Teams, or TBTs, are grade level teacher teams that meet bi-weekly to create tests centered around one to two content standards. Teachers then design engaging lessons in a way that should lead students to score well on the assessments given 2 weeks later. These meetings are usually an hour long. During the follow-up meetings, teachers go over their test results and talk about the high and low scoring students. Teachers then plan lessons to extend on what the high scoring students do well and give help to the low scoring students. The cycle repeats every two weeks. Our teachers are constantly looking at student data and creating lessons based on the trends they find.

Response to Intervention

RTI, or Response To Intervention, is a program designed to help ALL students succeed. Students who may be struggling with behaviors or academics are recommended to go through this process. Parents and teachers work together to create an individual action plan for the student. Over the course of a few weeks, the plan is enacted and a follow-up meeting is held. If adequate growth is not seen, then another, more intensive plan for the child is created. All the while, data from assessments & growth measures are collected. The goal is to create a plan that will lead to growth, a positive response to our intervention(s). We never quit on a child! We continue to look for ways to help each child grow.

Positive Behavior Supports

PBS, Positive Behavior Supports, is a program centered around a "catch 'em being good" philosophy. We want to reward our students for their good behavior. We want to give attention to those students who are meeting our behavior expectations and limit the amount of attention we give to those who might be misbehaving. Our program is founded on 5 pillars: We are responsible; We are respectful; We are problem-solvers; We are caring; We do our best, even when no one is watching. Behavior patterns are tracked so that we can proactively intervene at the right times and places. By cutting down on the number of disruptions and distractions, we can maximize learning time.

Common Core

Teachers are transitioning this year to the Common Core. A new set of academic standards that focus more on skill application and problem-solving than fact recall. These standards are very different from those we used to teach. Rather than focusing on a wide range skills and topics (like our old state standards), Common Core standards are fewer in number, but are taught with too much higher degree of depth and mastery. Common Core standards are structured similarly to our old state standards in that they establish specific K-12 grade-by-grade indicators with a steady progression of development leading to college and career readiness by the end of high school.


McKinley has a very active PTO. This group helps support our educational mission. Without the support of this parent group, many of our school events and programs would not be possible. I encourage you to become an active member of this organization, or at least, help support it through active participation in our fundraisers, Market Day program, Coke Rewards program, and Box Top collections. Here is just a small list of opportunities we were able to provide through the support of our PTO:

--Welcome Back Bash
--Book Fairs
--Mother/Son & Father/Daughter Dances
--Classroom Materials
--Family Nights
--Movie Nights
--Field Trips


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