Springfield superintendent: ‘We will continue to grow individually and collectively’

School leader optimistic despite Springfield school system receiving lowest rating on state report card.

The Springfield City Schools received the lowest rating on the state-released report card, but the district’s superintendent says the rating is not representative of the work going on to improve the school system.

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 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. On the new 1-5 star system, Springfield City Schools was the only district that got a 1-star rating on year-over-year progress.

“Although the release of the report card seems to paint a disappointing picture, it is not a comprehensive representation of the incredible work happening in the district, the effects of the pandemic on student learning and performance or the external factors that exist in an urban district of our size,” said Superintendent Bob Hill.

“Every district decision is based on our students learning and living — many surviving in poverty, while still attending school and thriving. We support each student, in the manner that they need, to succeed after graduation – whether employed, enrolled in a community college, enlisted in the armed services or attending an Ivy League.”

Springfield had the lowest star ratings across each category, with a 2 in achievement and a 1 in gap closing, early literacy, progress and graduation rate.

Hill said the district has taken a proactive approach to help combat the learning loss from the pandemic, including a robust summer program, creating the ‘Reading Specialist’ position to help classroom teachers with basic and advanced reading and comprehension skills with students, hired additional attendance oOfficers for all building to monitor and improve student attendance, and hired additional staff in the Multicultural Outreach Office to support the growing number of students who speak other languages.

The district had a performance index, which measures state test performance of 52.7% and an negative growth index, but this is an increase from last year’s 43.9%. As far as gap closing, the district had a rate of 9.7%.

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.

Hill pointed out there were “numerous points of celebration” in the report, including improving in nine of 20 tested areas, half of the elementary schools improving their proficiency in grades 3-5 math and ELA, Hayward Middle School eighth graders improving their science and algebra proficiency by double digits and proficiency in high school American Government improving by over 25%.

“Those are real numbers that represent real student success,” Hill said. “We will continue to grow individually and collectively as ‘One Wildcat Family,’ regardless of how the report claims we are progressing.”

When it comes to graduation rate, Springfield had an overall rate of 81.8%. The four-year rate decreased this year at 78.3% compared to last year’s 84%.

“It is truly an honor to serve a diverse student body, where every student’s success is different, but still equally celebrated,” Hill 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.

About the Author