Graham schools increase performance score, graduation rate

Graham Local Schools scored in the middle range on most components of the state report card recently released, and the superintendent said more work is needed.

On the new 1-5 star system, Graham received a 3-star rating in achievement, gap closing, early literacy and graduation rate, plus a 2 in progress.

“Our staff has done a tremendous job addressing students’ academic and social-emotional needs across the district,” Superintendent Chad Lensman said. “We can pull successes from the report card, but we know we have more work to do.”

He said the district has “developed a strategic plan and aligned building and district goals focusing on graduation rate and improved academic achievement.”

The Springfield News-Sun is examining report cards for each area school district as part of an ongoing series.

Ohio K-12 schools did not receive an overall grade for 2021-22, but they did receive ratings on individual components of the report card.

“Many of the ratings are a one-time snapshot of how our students are performing,” said Lensman.

The report card offered the district valuable information, Lensman said, but Graham reviews other data sources, he said. Those include other measures of success, including district assessment data, enrollment, attendance and stakeholder feedback.

“We will continue to strive for improvement on the district report card and the other measures used in the district,” said Lensman.

The Ohio legislature also changed the previous system of A-F grades to a 1-5 stars system.

Schools were still evaluated on how well their students did on state tests, reading proficiency in kindergarten through third grade, graduation rates, how students are progressing year over year, how well schools are able to close gaps between student subgroups, and how ready a student is to enter the workforce, college or the military after graduation. The new equation puts increased weight on year-over-year progress and gap closing.

The district had a performance index rate of 74.2%, which is an increase from last year’s 64.7%. As far as gap closing, the district had a rate of 34.1%.

According to ODE data, of Ohio’s 607 graded school districts, 581 saw their Performance Index rise in 2021-22, and only 26 saw a decline. That’s because scores dropped in 2020-21 due largely to COVID disruptions, then they bounced back some in 21-22.

“We have to take time to celebrate the increase in our performance index. Although we see growth in this area, we are not satisfied with where it is,” Lensman said. “Our staff will take a deep dive into the progress component and identify where we can focus our work to provide the necessary support for all students.”

When it comes to graduation, Graham had an overall rate of 91.7%. The four-year rate increased this year to 93.1% compared to last year’s 87.2%.

Lensman said the increase in performance index and graduation rate can be attribute to “the work of our dedicated staff and alignment with our strategic plan.”

Last year, school report cards did not include letter grades for all individual metrics and only listed some of the raw data including academic, graduation and attendance measures.

About the Author