Clark and Champaign County school districts saw some improvements on their state report cards released Thursday but grades remained low overall at most schools.
No local schools got an A on their achievement or performance measurements, but some got several As in the other categories like graduation rates and progress. Districts get graded on a total of 15 categories but no overall grade was released this year.
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The Springfield City School District raised their achievement grade from an F last year to a D this year. That grade scores how well students performed overall on the state tests when matched with indicators and standards set forth by the state.
Springfield also scored a D on its performance index, a score that measures how well students did on the test when not compared to state indicators.
“Based on my initial analysis, the district made significant progress in multiple areas and there is much to celebrate,” Superintendent Bob Hill said. “However, as a dynamic organization, I always note that there is room for growth.”
The district scored Fs on its indicators met, its graduation rates and overall value added categories. It did score an A on the gifted value added, a grade that shows how well the school provides services to top students.
Springfield has grown its scores over the past several years, ODE records show. It saw at least slight growth in 17 of 26 tested areas and five of those areas increased by double digits.
The district continues to work to raise test scores, Hill said, but they’re only a snapshot of what Springfield City has to offer.
“We offer computer science, game design, robotics, and web design,” he said. “We offer bio-medical sciences, aerospace engineering, music theory, music production, a full MJROTC program; we offer five world languages, including Mandarin and American Sign Language, for instance … None of these programs are even considered on the report card, but they matter to students, parents, and employers.”
Grandparent Mickie Cooper was waiting for her grandchild outside Springfield High School this week. She’s happy with Springfield City Schools.
“They do a good job,” she said. “There were years where the city schools (weren’t good). But, they’ve gotten a lot better with the last two superintendents that they’ve had.”
She looks at report cards when they come out, she said, but she said she believes students can achieve their goals regardless of where they go to school if they put in the work.
Many Clark and Champaign County districts scored Cs on the performance index score and Ds on the overall achievement component. Mechanicsburg, West Liberty-Salem and Clark-Shawnee got Cs on the overall achievement portion of the tests while the rest of the schools scored a D.
West Liberty-Salem was awarded a B in performance index while Mechanicsburg, Triad, Clark-Shawnee, Northeastern, Northwestern and Southeastern scored Cs.
Graham, Urbana City and Greenon scored a D in the performance index. All schools in Clark and Champaign counties, besides Springfield and Urbana, got an A or B for their graduation rates. Urbana scored a C in four-year graduation rates.
Two districts got eight As — Northeastern and Northwestern — and two got seven As — Mechanicsburg and West Liberty-Salem.
Northeastern, the second largest district in Clark County, saw some improvements on its report card as well.
“We are pleased with our value-added score,” Northeastern Superintendent John Kronour said.
Northeastern scored an A in the value-added category, a score that judges whether students made a full year worth of academic advancement from the previous school year, based on state test results. One year of growth equals a C grade.
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Kronour attributes the grade to a new focus and teacher determination.
“The hard work of our staff, we really have tried to focus on with professional development to help them and we have tried to do some things with our curriculum by updating them,” he said. “The curriculum revision we have done has helped.”
The scores given to each school district cannot tell the whole story about how good a school is or isn’t, Kronour said.
“If you’re looking for just academics then I would say the report card tells one part of the story,” he said. “If you are looking at the whole of what your district or school building does, there are a number of other intangibles that are not measured on a report card.”
Safety is one measurement the report card doesn’t grade that should be important to parents, Kronour said, and as well as with extracurricular activities where students can gain valuable experience.
“We still have work to do in a number of areas that we are continuing to focus on our staff,” he said.
Clark-Shawnee parent Kelly Rogers said she looks at report cards when they come out. Clark-Shawnee scored three As, seven Cs and three Fs this year.
Rogers is happy with the education her children get in the district.
“I really feel like the teachers go over and above to help their students,” she said. “I have been pleasantly surprised.”
In Champaign County, Urbana City Schools scored Fs on the value-added score and an F on indicators met. Urbana School Board President Jan Eagle said while scoring on state tests is important, they’re focused on making sure students are well rounded.
“I don’t think you can base progress 100 percent on it,” Eagle said. “It’s a guideline but every school is a little different and if everyone was alike we wouldn’t have to worry about a lot of stuff. Every school has different problems that they are trying to figure out. It’s not easy.”
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In Saint Paris, Graham Superintendent Kirk Koennecke said he doesn’t believe the report card gives a fair representation of what the school district is doing.
“Just looking at the ODE report card as a grade mark is a horrible idea,” he said. “I would invite any parent in our region to come to Graham to see the programming of our school.”
His school report card shows his district had a mix of scores, including three As and three Fs.
“The growth we have experienced in terms of language arts achievement is great,” He said. “Out of the entire region of Ohio, our students are probably coming in less prepared but are growing more than any other district in the region and we are thrilled about that.”
By the Numbers:
20,000: Students enrolled in Clark County public schools.
6,700: Students enrolled in Champaign County public schools.
49: As scored by the schools in the two-county area.
39: Fs scored by the schools in the two-county area.
The Springfield News-Sun provides unmatched coverage of local education in Clark and Champaign counties, including recent stories digging deep into report cards and efforts to build new schools in several district.