Northwestern Schools’ state report card rating improves

District rates highest in closing learning gap.

Northwestern Local School District received one of the highest ratings in gap closing and increased their performance index on the state report card.

On the new 1-5 star system, Northwestern received a 5-star rating in gap closing. The district also had a 4 in graduation rate and 3 in achievement, early literacy and progress.

“We knew that our students had learn gaps from the pandemic. It was good to see that we are closing those gaps. We know we still have work to do to close all of the gaps, but we are definitely heading in the right direction,” said Superintendent Jesse Steiner.

“We are providing credit recovery services at the high school and learning recovery interventions in grades K-8. We also invested in intense professional development for our staff. I feel that our school will continue to improve the quality of education our students are receiving.”

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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. 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 78.7%, which is an increase from last year’s 66%. As far as gap closing, the district had a rate of 69.2%.

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.

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When it comes to the graduation rate, Northwestern had an overall rating of 95.5%. The four-year rate remained steady this year at 94.9% compared to last year’s 94.5%.

Steiner said he does not “have a feeling” about the stars or percentages.

“The state creates a system to evaluate schools .. I am more concerned providing the best possible education for our students,” he said.

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.

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