COLUMBUS — The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) Thursday issued the annual school report cards, which showed a mixture of Cs and one B for overall grades for local districts.
The report cards are based on the 2018-19 school year. The overall grade is calculated by using results in the six components: Achievement, Progress, Gap Closing, Improving At-Risk K-3 Readers, Graduation Rate and Prepared for Success. Descriptions of the components according to the Ohio Department of Education include:
•Achievement: This represents the number of students who passed the state tests and how well they performed on them. A new indicator measures chronic absenteeism.
•Progress: This looks at the growth all students are making based on their past state test performances. A group that has made more than expected growth earns an A or B grade, expected growth results in a C grade and less than expected growth results in a D or F grade. In addition to an overall grade for all students, students who are gifted, the lowest 20% in achievement and students with disabilities are also each looked at separately.
•Gap Closing: This component shows how well schools are meeting performance expectations for vulnerable students — based on race, income, ethnicity or disability — in English language arts, math and graduation. It compares the academic performance of each subgroup against the expected performance goals for that subgroup to determine if there are gaps and whether improvement is happening. Another element measures the improvement English learners make toward English language proficiency.
•Graduation Rate: This grade is calculated on two scores — students who earn diplomas within four years of entering ninth grade for the first time and students who graduate within five years of entering ninth grade for the first time.
•Improving At-Risk K-3 Readers: Formerly known as K-3 Literacy Improvement, this component looks at how successful the district is at getting struggling readers on track to proficiency in third grade and beyond. The measure and component relate to Ohio’s Third Grade Reading Guarantee, which aims to make sure all students are reading at grade level by the end of third grade.
•Prepared For Success: This component looks at how well prepared Ohio’s students are for future opportunities. It measures college entrance exam (ACT/SAT), Advanced Placement tests, Honors Diploma, International Baccalaureate tests, industry-recognized credentials and College Credit Plus.
Napoleon Area City Schools
The district as a whole received an overall grade of a C, while Napoleon Elementary School received an overall B rating and Napoleon Junior/Senior High School had a C rating. This is a decrease from an overall grade of B on the 2017-18 report cards.
“I don’t like to see the C,” Napoleon Superintendent Erik Belcher said, but noted the district’s scores are similar to other schools in the county, as well as districts such as Bryan and Wauseon.
Belcher stated he is pleased with the district’s A in Gap Closing, which measures the growth for economically disadvantaged, special education and minority students.
“We’re making great progress with those,” he said.
The Progress component grade for the district went from a B in 2017-18 to a D in 2018-19, and Belcher said this component often goes on a three-year cycle where students show improvements for two years and then encounter more difficult tests the third year, causing the grades to drop.
“Every three years, those fluctuate, that’s the way it’s set up,” he said.
Belcher added there are some areas where the district narrowly missed the next highest standard.
“There’s some we’re on the cusp of things, and we need to find a way to push over the edge,” he said.
A larger issue identified by Belcher is the Prepared For Success measure, adding he feels the state should adjust the measurement for industry-recognized credentials in particular.
“Schools (across the state) are not organized in that area right now,” he said. “That’s an area the state needs to make more attainable.”
Overall, Belcher said the district’s administrative team will be exploring the results further to identify areas to improve.
“I think we have A+ teachers and A+ students, and we need a way to show people and live up to our capabilities,” he said, adding he also feels the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) initiative started this school year will contribute to a positive climate in the district. “That could be an ‘X’ factor.”
Liberty Center Local Schools
The district received an overall grade of a C. Both the elementary and middle schools received a B, and the high school received a C.
“While the overall letter grade is not where we want to be as a district, there are areas that we did very well in and areas that we will continue to focus on improving,” Liberty Center Superintendent Richie Peters said, adding the C grade was received by nearly half of the other districts in the state. “Our dedicated teachers and staff work tirelessly to meet the needs of each individual student each and every day of the school year, which doesn’t necessarily get captured in a one time state assessment.”
Compared to the 2017-18 report card, the district raised its grade for Improving At-Risk K-3 Readers from a D to a C and its grade for graduation rate from a B to an A. Peters said literacy has been a main focus for the elementary staff over the past two years, and that focus is reflected on the improved score.
“Providing support for our struggling readers will always be a priority,” he said.
Peters said the district’s leadership team — including teachers and administrators — will analyze the data and looking for trends to make the best instructional decisions moving forward. However, he noted the report card is only one aspect of a school district.
“While this process is important to foster our academic progress and improvement, there are many additional factors that are taken into account to determine the success of our school district,” Peters said. “This is a time to celebrate the hard work and dedication of our staff members who provide an outstanding education for our students.”
Patrick Henry Local Schools
The district received an overall grade of a C. Individual overall building grades were a B for the middle school and Cs for the elementary and high schools.
“Report card data, along with individualized test score results, allow us an opportunity to reflect on practices and make data-driven decisions about what is being taught in the classrooms,” said Superintendent Josh Biederstedt. “A report card like this is useful in that it tells a part of a district’s story, they tell the part of the story that involves achievement and progress. Those items are important, but other more qualitative factors like culture, community support and how much students enjoy coming to school are also important.”
The overall grade for the district decreased a grade from a B in the 2017-18 report cards. Two component areas — Progress and Improving At-Risk K-3 Readers — saw declines of one letter grade, but the remaining area stayed the same as the previous report cards.
“Obviously we do not like to see a grade go down, but we also know that we still see positives in those indicators,” Biederstedt said.
For example, Biederstedt pointed to the K-3 Reading indicator, where the district had 100% of third graders pass the third-grade reading guarantee, and the Progress indicator, where large levels of growth were found in all of the middle school students.
“Again, these measures are a type of feedback, just like the feedback we get from students on learning,” Biederstedt said. “It is our jobs to take that feedback and improve what we do in our classrooms.
“We will continue to focus on helping our students make academic growth throughout the year,” he continued. “Our staff will use all available data sources, including report card data, to make the most informed decisions about individualized instruction.”
Holgate Local Schools
The district’s overall grade was a B, which was also the individual score for the elementary and high schools.
“I’m pleased with our overall grade of a B. There were only 31 public school districts in the state that earned As and 169 Bs, so I feel proud that we are in that category,” Superintendent Kelly Meyers said. “Most parents are pleased when their children come home with As and Bs on their report card; that generally results in a positive feeling about progress.”
However, Meyers cautioned against placing too much emphasis on the overall grade that’s given to districts.
“This report card has become increasingly complex and difficult for parents and district personnel to understand. It’s important that we look at specific areas where our students fell short on assessments and adjust instruction accordingly. Our teachers do this each year,” Meyers said. “The one-snapshot state assessments do not define who we are and what we do on a daily basis with our students. They are one measure of progress at that point in time.”
The district’s overall grade, as well as three component areas, remains the same as the 2017-18 report cards.
“Staying consistent in Performance Index, Overall Achievement, Graduation Rates and the overall grade is much preferred to declining,” Meyers said. “Obviously, we would like to earn all As and Bs in the six component areas. We’ll keep striving for that. Our staff does a great job of not letting any student slip through the cracks.”
Two areas saw improvements compared to the previous year’s report cards — Gap Closing went from a B to an A and Prepared For Success increased from an F to a D.
“The increase in the Gap Closing measure is great to see because it tells us that students in sub groups such as those with disabilities or those who are economically disadvantaged are making appropriate gains in math and English/language arts,” Meyers said. “We always want our school to be a level playing field for students. Regardless of race, poverty or disability, we need to serve all students to the best of our ability and help them succeed to the highest levels possible. We’re doing that at Holgate. Our staff does this, day in and day out.”
Improving At-Risk K-3 Readers decreased from a B in the 2017-18 report cards to a C, but Meyers said the drop was due to an error with kindergarten student data. Meyers said 26 of the 34 kindergarten students were on track, and it has been corrected for future data submissions.
Looking forward, Meyers said the district will be looking at English/Language Arts at the elementary and middle school grade levels due to the passage percentages by students.
“We need to identify the specific areas (and) questions with which our students consistently struggle, and make focused plans to adjust classroom instruction and assessments to hit those areas better or differently,” she added.
The ODE reported nearly 80% of districts received a C or higher overall grade, with more than 30% receiving a B or higher.
“This year’s report cards show continuous improvement is ongoing and that, across Ohio, we are getting better and better at challenging, preparing and empowering each child,” said Paolo DeMaria, superintendent of public instruction. “We are seeing positive results from the focus on equity, partnerships and quality schools for all students. I applaud the hard work by students, teachers, parents and community members that has led to the progress we see. That said, we must keep pushing forward. We will continue to implement Each Child, Our Future, Ohio’s shared strategic plan for education and keep looking for ways to more effectively serve the state’s 1.7 million students.”
Throughout the state:
•Student proficiency increased for the third consecutive year in both English language arts and mathematics. Overall proficiency rates increased by 0.9 percentage points in English language arts and by 0.6 percentage points in math.
•The four-year graduation rate has reached a new high of 85.3 percent for the class of 2018.
•Approximately 9,125 more students in the class of 2018 earned dual enrollment credits compared to the class of 2017.
•An additional 2,711 students earned industry-recognized credentials this year.
•The number of students scoring remediation-free on the ACT or SAT increased by 2,045 compared to last year.