MIAMI COUNTY — Two local schools scored in the top 100 districts in Ohio in specific areas of the state report card, which was released this month.
This year, the state ranked all of its public schools according to its performance index score.
The Performance Index is one in a series of measures the Department of Education released with the new report cards.
Three schools in Miami County scored in the Top 100 schools out of the 608 school districts in Ohio in Performance Index Scores: Newton Local School at 77; Tipp City at 85; and Miami East at 90.
While the performance index is a measure of achievement, other grades focus on the progress of individual students, graduation rates and other areas to judge success. Districts receive grades A through F in these areas.
The state report card ranked schools according to its “GPA” on the 4.0 scale following the formula the state intends to use for the overall assessment of the district in the future. The formula counts the achievement and progress component grades at 20 percent and the other four components at 15 percent.
Two schools in Miami County Schools ranked in the Top 100 in regards to its “GPA” with Tipp City at No. 48 with a 2.95 GPA and Miami East at No. 52 with a 2.85 GPA. Newton ranked 289 with a 1.95 GPA.
Superintendents from Newton and Miami East responded to the breakdown of their district’s report card.
To view district report cards, visit http://reportcard.education.ohio.gov
NEWTON LOCAL SCHOOLS
Newton Local School received the following grades: Achievement: C — Overall including B in Performance Index and F in Indicators Met; Gap Closing — D; K-3 Literacy — C; Progress — D, including Value-Added scores including gifted, lowest 20 percent in achievement and students with disabilities scores; Graduation Rate — A; and Prepared for Success — C. The state report card also breaks down data per individual school building. These scores reflect the grades overall in the district only.
Newton Local School Superintendent Pat McBride said, “Our teachers will continue to provide quality instruction based on solid pedagogical practices. They know their content. We will continue to provide a safe environment and challenge every student intellectually every day. We feel that if we do that then we can justify our scores.”
McBride said the district focuses on every day instruction rather than the state testing scores.
“Our time is much better spent concentrating on the basic framework of good teaching and learning rather than trying to figure out where the Ohio Department of Education’s target has moved for this school year. With that being said, we will fulfill our professional responsibilities and determine if we can make adjustments in areas to improve our passage rates on various grade level tests. We simply won’t consume ourselves with the process however because as indicated, some of the tests are simply flawed.”
McBride highlighted the district’s reading mentoring program, which brings in community volunteers to help its students read throughout the year.
“Community members are utilized to listen to elementary students read on a one to one basis. These students have been identified as needing help in reading, via both standardized testing as well as input from their teachers. There are multiple criteria set up through the Title 1 programs that help these students reach a year’s growth by the end of the school year. These students read aloud to their mentor and do reading activities with them several times a week,” McBride said.
Newton Local School was ranked the highest out of Miami County Schools at No. 77 out of 608 schools in Performance Index rankings due to high scores on the tests, yet struggled to make movement in the value-added area to show growth.
“In past years, we have struggled to make any improvement in (Value-Added) area because many of our students are scoring very high on the tests as indicated by our performance index score,” he said. “We have been told many times over that there is sufficient stretch in the test to demonstrate growth in value added. However, I find it difficult to believe when a student is only several correct answers away from scoring a perfect score that there would be enough “stretch” in the next year’s test to show value added growth. The other factor that hurts our score in this area is the limited number of students that we have and the larger percentage of these students who score really well on the test. They would then have to score better and better each year to show the value added growth factor. It’s a nice theory, but in too many cases, it isn’t practical. I’m sure you won’t hear that from the experts.”
McBride said the district uses the ACES program to help students catch up who are behind on graduation credits to get them to achieve their diploma.
“We try to identify high school students who are falling behind and intervene early so that by the time they are sophomores they are no more than a credit or two behind,” he said. “In a traditional school setting it’s hard to make credits up. We do have credit recovery within our building by using Odyssey Ware programming, which allows students to use computer software and make credits up online.”
Overall, McBride said the report card system presents a mixed message to the general public and student success goes well beyond the state’s annual review.
“Even though our district does well by comparison especially in the area of performance index, it means little to the average person who chooses to read the report in a cursory manner,” he said. “It’s simply too much information presented in a manner that is almost impossible to understand.”
McBride gave the example of the mandated ACT score for junior students as part of the Prepared for Success component of the state report card.
“That grade will be utilizing ACT scores taken from all juniors. The ACT is a college readiness test and not all juniors want to attend college. Therefore they have little desire or motivation to do well on that test for the sake of doing well for their school when they know it will have no positive impact upon them personally. It a misuse of the test. It is yet another example of the ODE using a test to make invalid assumptions and using test for purposes that they were never intended to be used for.”
MIAMI EAST LOCAL SCHOOLS
Miami East Local Schools received the following grades: Achievement: C — Overall, including B in Performance Index and D in Indicators Met; Gap Closing — B; K-3 Literacy — C; Progress — A, including Value-Added scores including gifted, lowest 20 percent in achievement and students with disabilities scores; Graduation Rate — A; and Prepared for Success — C. The state report card also breaks down data per individual school building. These scores reflect the grades overall in the district only.
Miami East Local Schools scored a C in the area of Achievement for the 2016-2017 school year.
“For the second straight year, we have made significant gains in the area of achievement on the grade card and in each individual area,” said Dr. Rappold. “Programs are in place to ensure that continued growth and improvement is being made in this area. In many grade levels, students increased test scores by double digit increases from the previous year.
The district received straight A’s in the area of Progress, which includes all A’s in the Value-Added scores for all students, gifted students, low achieving students and students with disabilities.
“As we look at the Value-Added data, we are very pleased with this area of the grade card,” Rappold said. “The Value- Added data shows that the programs and initiatives we have in place are making a difference in the classroom. We are proud of the efforts our teachers are making.”
For its youngest readers, Rappold explained how the district uses student specific data to zero in on where the student struggles in the area of reading.
Rappold said the district has been using a “Response to Intervention Program” (RTI) to target skill deficits for its students in the area of reading.
“Personnel have been aligned to support students during RTI time and to provide smaller group instruction. Students benefit from data analysis where we drill down to determine the needs of individual students and provide them with the support and instruction they need,” Rappold said. “We will continue to implement the programs we have put in place to ensure we are improving literacy for not only our youngest but all students in our building.”
Overall, Dr. Rappold said the area of Progress on the state report card is what he is most proud of, noting the students’ success is a community-wide effort.
“We are very pleased to report that the Miami East Local School District, as a whole, scored very high earning an A in all three Progress areas,” he said. “This ranking is a credit to our students, our parents, our educational partners, community, and all of the employees of the Miami East Local School District.”
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