State releases school grade cards

Staff report

COLUMBUS – The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) released annual grade cards on Thursday for public school districts, including five in Champaign County.

Printed below is a list of overall grades and key components of overall grades, with brief explanations, followed by each local school district’s grade. This year, ODE reports nearly 80 percent of districts received a ‘C’ or higher, with more than 30 percent receiving a ‘B’ or higher. Statewide overall grade distribution for districts showed 5.1 percent were granted A, 27.8 percent B, 46.4 percent C, 20.1 percent D and 0.7 percent F.

Champaign County districts’ grades are listed below by overview overall grade and each of six named components factored into the overall grade.

District overview overall grade: Urbana City Schools, D; Graham Local Schools, C; Triad Local Schools, C; Mechanicsburg Exempted Village Schools, B; West Liberty-Salem Local Schools, C.

The Achievement component represents whether student performance on state tests met established thresholds and how well students performed on tests overall. A new indicator measures chronic absenteeism: Urbana City Schools, D; Graham Local Schools, D; Triad Local Schools, D; Mechanicsburg Exempted Village Schools, C; West Liberty-Salem Local Schools, C.

The Progress component looks closely at the growth that all students are making based on their past performances: Urbana City Schools, F; Graham Local Schools, B; Triad Local Schools, A; Mechanicsburg Exempted Village Schools, A; West Liberty-Salem Local Schools, D.

The Gap Closing component shows how well schools are meeting the performance expectations for the most vulnerable students in English language arts, math, graduation and English language proficiency: Urbana City Schools, F; Graham Local Schools, D; Triad Local Schools, B; Mechanicsburg Exempted Village Schools, B; West Liberty-Salem Local Schools, A.

The Graduation Rate component looks at the percent of students who are successfully finishing high school with a diploma in four or five years: Urbana City Schools, C; Graham Local Schools, B; Triad Local Schools, A; Mechanicsburg Exempted Village Schools, A; West Liberty-Salem Local Schools, A.

The Improving At-Risk K-3 Readers component looks at how successful the school is at improving at-risk K-3 readers: Urbana City Schools, D; Graham Local Schools, C; Triad Local Schools, D; Mechanicsburg Exempted Village Schools, C; West Liberty-Salem Local Schools, D.

The Prepared for Success component measures whether training in a technical field or preparing for work or college, the grade looks at how well prepared Ohio’s students are for all future opportunities: Urbana City Schools, F; Graham Local Schools, D; Triad Local Schools, F; Mechanicsburg Exempted Village Schools, D; West Liberty-Salem Local Schools, D.

According to the ODE, “Statewide student proficiency continues to rise for the third year in a row 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. Most notable are increases in third and eighth grades. After a slight decrease in proficiency last year, third grade shows a substantial increase of 5.5 percentage points in English language arts. Proficiency in seventh and eighth grade English language arts increased by just under 4 percentage points. American Government and U.S. History continue to be the two tested subject areas with the highest performance.”

Superintendents react to report cards

Mechanicsburg received all A grades on the Progress measure components, which are considered to be “value-added” qualities in the educational experience.

“Mechanicsburg recognizes that the state issued report card is just one of the many measures that demonstrates why we are ‘The best small school in Ohio’. The district is once again proud of our efforts to add value to the lives of our students,” Mechanicsburg Superintendent Danielle Prohaska said. “We have steadily improved across multiple areas on the report card and are especially proud of earning all A’s in the progress measure. Mechanicsburg’s teachers and staff work non-stop to make learning relevant, meaningful, and challenging. We will continue to focus our efforts on ‘Empowering all graduates for a successful and fulfilling tomorrow’. I could not be more proud of our students, staff, and district.”

Graham changed superintendents a few months ago after Kirk Koennecke accepted a new position at Indian Hill near Cincinnati. Matt Curtis is serving as Graham’s interim superintendent until a new one is chosen.

“Graham Schools continue to make progress on the Ohio School Report Card,” Curtis said. “Data shows significant growth was made in the area of Improving At-risk K-3 Readers, which is a testament to our staff providing high quality instruction and early intervention. Value Added components indicate that most Graham students are growing at a better than expected rate when compared to other students like them across the state. Another area of continued growth is the Prepared for Success component. While there is still room for improvement, the data shows progress made as a result of the implementation of programming that aligns with career pathways for all students, once they leave our doors. Our district will remain focused on Closing the Gap components and progress of students with disabilities. Graham’s goal will always be to achieve highly on the Ohio School Report Card while understanding that it is a snapshot of the many positive aspects of our schools.”

Urbana City Schools Superintendent Charles Thiel said the district continues its pursuit to improve.

“Although the results on our report card from the state are not what we would like, there were a number of component results which showed improvement. With the construction of new facilities in the District, which resulted in the reduction of student instructional time, we felt that most likely there would be an impact on student performance on these assessments,” Thiel said.

“The District is working on improvement through implementing the Literacy Collaborative instructional framework. This year will be our first with our two literacy coaches serving grades K-5. In addition, we are moving towards more fully implementing the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) program to provide teachers with a greater level of detail about the academic growth of our students.”

Thiel explained the “district is implementing Project-Based Learning for students to have opportunities to engage in solving real-world problems or complex questions.” He added, “The goal of this framework is for our students to not only develop deep content knowledge, but to also gain and sharpen critical thinking and communication skills which can’t be captured through the State testing program.”

“On behalf of the West Liberty-Salem School District,” said Superintendent Kraig Hissong. “I am very proud of our students and staff and their accomplishments each year. I want to congratulate our students on their hard work and efforts on the tests and our entire staff for the work they do with our students that truly makes the difference. I am very proud of everyone and the results on this year’s report card.”

Triad Superintendent Vickie Hoffman said her school is excited about the growth that the district has made. “Last year we made improvements in our percentage passing in 15 of the 22 indicators. Of the 6 that did not show improvement in the percentage passing, 4 of the areas were already over the proficiency level,” she said.

“We are also pleased about the A’s across the board in the graduation rate. This is an area that has shown continual growth for the past 2 years. Due to the changes in the biennial budget, the calculation used for Progress (Value Added) has changed to a 1-year representation vs. a 3-year average. If we looked at only 1 year of data last year (17-18) we would have had a ‘C’. This year we had an ‘A’ in that same 1-year calculation (18-19) which gives us evidence that we have made significantly more than 1 year of growth with our Triad students. In the next few years, we will continue to focus on continued academic growth, Prepared for Success and K-3 Literacy. We are very proud of our staff and students. Making changes that are directly evident on a state report card takes time. The Triad staff is continually looking for best practices and working hard to meet the needs of each and every student.”

Staff report