Lo­cal schools among best, worst in Ohio

State re­port cards trig­ger de­bate over school qual­ity.

Dayton Daily News - - FRONT PAGE -

Lo­cal schools claimed the very best scores in Ohio in one cat­e­gory and the very worst in two

oth­ers Thurs­day, as the an­nual state re­port cards trig­gered de­bate over school qual­ity.

Oak­wood was the No. 1 district in Ohio in the “Pre­pared for Suc­cess” cat­e­gory, which tries to mea­sure how well-pre­pared stu­dents are for the fu­ture.

Trot­wood-Madison schools ranked last of Ohio’s 608 school districts in per­for­mance in­dex, the most de­tailed mea­sure of state test per­for­mance. Day­ton was sec­ond-worst. Tiny Jef­fer­son Twp. schools ranked last in the state in four-year grad­u­a­tion rate, at 50 per­cent. No other district in Ohio was be­low 65 per­cent.

State school Su­per­in­ten­dent Paolo DeMaria said the big­gest take­away from a statewide level is that scores and achieve­ment im­proved from last year in nearly ev­ery grade and sub­ject.

“That’s very grat­i­fy­ing and a great in­di­ca­tion that the things we want to hap­pen are hap­pen­ing,” DeMaria said Thurs­day, point­ing out that after years of change, stu­dents used the same test plat­form two years in a row.

“Some of it is this phe­nom­e­non that when­ever there is a new test, it does take a while to get ac­cli­mated.”

Th­ese re­port cards are largely based on state ex­ams

that stu­dents took in spring 2017. Schools and districts did not re­ceive an over­all grade on this year’s re­port card, in­stead get­ting six com­po­nent grades on things like grad­u­a­tion rate, test achieve­ment and lit­er­acy im­prove­ment for young stu­dents.

Top per­form­ers

Oak­wood was No. 1 in “Pre­pared for Suc­cess,” which tracks ACT/SAT scores, honors diplo­mas, in­dus­try cre­den­tials and par­tic­i­pa­tion in col­lege credit-bear­ing pro- grams. The district was also No. 5 in the state in per­for­mance in­dex and one of 13 districts to earn an “A” in Achieve­ment.

“Our vi­sion is to make sure that our stu­dents are pre­pared, are poised to lead and to be eth­i­cal de­ci­sion mak­ers,” Oak­wood High School Prin­ci­pal Paul Waller said Thurs­day. “We have a won­der­ful core cur­ricu­lum and a large va­ri­ety of Ad­vanced Place­ment and dual en­roll­ment cour­ses ... We want to give all of our kids an op­por­tu­nity to be suc­cess­ful where their in­ter­ests are.”

Sev­eral of the area’s large sub­ur­ban districts got C’s in Achieve­ment for their test per­for­mance, but A’s for show­ing strong stu­dent growth year-over-year. That group in­cluded Cen­ter­ville, Beaver­creek, Mi­amis­burg and North­mont. Spring­boro

and Way­nesville were the only core Day­ton-area districts to earn an “A” in growth and a “B” in Achieve­ment.

The Yel­low Springs and Cov­ing­ton school districts were among only 12 school districts statewide to score a per­fect 100 per­cent in both grad­u­a­tion rates — the fouryear mea­sure for the Class of 2016 and the five-year score for 2015. For Cov­ing­ton, an 800-stu­dent district just north­west of Troy, it marked the sec­ond year in a row that both grad­u­a­tion

rates were 100 per­cent. Wayne Lo­cal Schools in Way­nesville ranked No. 3 in the state in K-3 Lit­er­acy Im­prove­ment, a key area of fo­cus un­der Ohio’s third­grade read­ing guar­an­tee. Way­nesville got 88 per­cent of its strug­gling read­ers back on track to pro­fi­ciency be­tween kinder­garten and third grade.

Low scores

Trot­wood-Madison’s 45.9 per­cent score in per­for­mance in­dex was the low­est in the state, with Day­ton’s 47.6 per- cent the sec­ond-worst. Both schools were in the state’s bot­tom five last year, but not worst.

Only six other school districts scored be­low 50 per- cent this year (an “F” grade), in­clud­ing Youngstown and Cleve­land. Jef­fer­son Twp. and Northridge also fell in the bot­tom 25 districts in the state.

Trot­wood Su­per­in­ten­dent Kevin Bell said this year’s re­sults mean Trot­wood could be at risk of state takeover as soon as sum­mer 2018 if re­sults from next spring’s state tests don’t im­prove.

“I’m a lit­tle bit sur­prised that the per­for­mance turned out where it is,” Bell said. “I’ve seen some of the ef­forts that have hap­pened in­struc­tion­ally in our class­rooms, I know our teach­ers work re­ally hard . ... I think there was a be­lief that we were mak­ing greater progress with stu­dent learn­ing than the test re­sults showed.”

Jef­fer­son Twp. ranked last in the state in four-year grad- ua­tion rate, at 50 per­cent. Spring­field was at 66 per­cent,

and Day­ton was at 72 per­cent, down slightly from last year’s 75 per­cent. The grad­u­a­tion rates are re­ported on a one-year lag, so the fouryear rate mea­sures stu­dents who would have nor­mally been in the class of 2016.

Jef­fer­son Twp. is one of the state’s small­est school districts, with just over 400 stu­dents from K-12. The district’s five-year grad­u­a­tion rate, track­ing the class of 2015, was much higher at 86 per­cent.

Last year, Day­ton Pub­lic Schools cel­e­brated a cru­cial “A” in over­all stu­dent growth. This year, that Prog- ress grade was back down to an “D”. DPS’ grad­u­a­tion rate de­clined, but per­for­mance in­dex and K-3 lit­er­acy im­prove­ment were up slightly. Day­ton was the only school district in the re­gion where all six com­po­nent grades were D’s or F’s.

Su­per­in­ten­dent Rhonda Corr said DPS is not where they want to be, but she ran through a litany of on­go­ing

changes — new text­books, bet­ter-aligned cur­ricu­lum, bet­ter on-time bus­ing, more

ed­u­ca­tional tech­nol­ogy — that she said will de­liver re­sults in the short-term and as part of a 3-5 year turn­around.

“The ex­pec­ta­tion for next year is that we will be much higher be­cause we’ve put so many things in place that will help chil­dren suc­ceed and give teach­ers the re­sources they need,” Corr said.

Ed­u­ca­tion an­a­lysts have long pointed to the cor­re­la­tion be­tween poverty and poor test per­for­mance, ar­gu­ing that school qual­ity may not be the pri­mary fac­tor in the scores. Most of the districts that strug­gled on this re­port card are in low-in­come ar­eas.

DeMaria pointed out that for the first time this year, each district was given the abil­ity to link from their re­port card to a doc­u­ment of their own that goes be­yond re­port card data.

“There’s more to the story of what’s hap­pen­ing in schools and districts than sim­ply the (re­port card data) that’s com­ing out today,” DeMaria said. “I’m not di­min­ish­ing the im­por­tance of this in­for­ma­tion, but you have to look at it in con­text and bal­ance it with other in­for­ma­tion from schools, teach­ers, other par­ents.”

TY GREENLEES / STAFF

Oak­wood High School stu­dents study es­say writ­ing with teacher Lori Mor­ris. The Oak­wood City School District scored num­ber one in Ohio in the “Pre­pared for Suc­cess” mea­sure­ment.

TY GREENLEES / STAFF

Stu­dents from McK­in­ney Mid­dle School in Yel­low Springs. The district was one of only two in the with 100 per­cent grad­u­a­tion rates in both four-year and five-year mea­sures.

STAFF

Stu­dents be­gin their day at West­brooke Vil­lage Ele­men­tary School in the Trot­woodMadi­son district.

TY GREENLEES/STAFF

Thur­good Mar­shall High School stu­dents study an IRobot built by Gem City Man­u­fac­tur­ing in Day­ton.

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