MOUNT VERNON — The Ohio Department of Education has released the 2008-09 school year report cards, and area school districts did pretty well overall.
Centerburg as a district earned an effective rating, as did the elementary and middle school. The high school was rated excellent.
“We are very pleased with the steady gain we are showing,” said Superintendent Dorothy Holden. “We will continue to work on re-aligning curriculum and identifying specific areas which require more data analysis and study.
“This year we plan on visiting schools with similar resources and similar student populations who excel on the state tests. We hope to gain more insight on how to address the specific needs identified by our data.”
Danville was also rated effective, and its high school earned an excellent designation.
“We made some progress, but we’re not satisfied with where we’re at,” said Dan Harper, superintendent. “We didn’t meet adequate yearly progress as a district, but we did meet it in two of the buildings, the high school and middle school. We will continue to work to get better; we believe that the changes that we are making this year will improve our report card next year.”
East Knox is an effective district, and so are all three schools in the district.
“We are proud of the work our teachers and students have done to perform well on the state assessments,” said Superintendent John Marschhausen. “While we are pleased to be Effective, we are not satisfied. We will continue to work to improve — each day, week, month, and year. We have a dedicated professional staff and we are committed to providing the best for our kids. The state’s report card is only a small snapshot of what we are about in education. We want to excel in preparing kids to be successful not only on the state tests, but in life after they graduate.
“As a district, we will continue to prepare kids for the current state assessments, while we are mindful that the entire state curriculum and assessment system is about to change. Our focus remains the same during this transition. If we continue to work to improving classroom instruction, promote critical thinking skills, increase problem-solving ability, and meet each student’s needs, our performance on all assessments will take care of itself.”
The Fredericktown district as a whole received an excellent designation this year, as did the elementary and high school.
“We are all very pleased with the results, but certainly not satisfied,” said Superintendent Dan Harper. “In my short time as a Freddie I have observed a very committed and focused staff. The staff here has been working to build strong learning communities in our buildings. These learning communities have initiated quarterly assessments, analyzed data, emphasized critical thinking and problem solving.
“A few years ago a Curriculum Team was formed with representatives from all grade levels. This team has worked diligently on aligning the curriculum to the state standards. Last, but not least, we have students who care about their education and a community which supports our schools.”
Highland Local was deemed an effective district, and North Elementary, the middle school and high school were each designated excellent. Superintendent Tim Hilborn is pleased the district met the adequate yearly progress indicator and had a value-added plus ranking.
“That shows all our kids are improving,” he said. “There are some areas we are very proud of — especially middle school math which has really taken some steps forward.
“Our goal as a district is to move from effective to excellent,” he continued. “The [report card] numbers give us a baseline. It gives us a target. It gives us some work to do. It identifies areas of weakness and strength. It’s not all, but it’s a tool.”
Mount Vernon is an effective district, and East Elementary, Twin Oak Elementary, Wiggin Street Elementary and the high school each attained excellent status. Superintendent Steve Short said he is very proud of all the staff, administrators and students, but will encourage everyone to keep up the good work.
“Progress has been made in some areas,” he continued, “yet we have plenty of work to do.”
Although North Fork as a district improved from last year, and Utica High School and Newton Elementary schools earned excellent ratings, the district as a whole has received a continuous improvement designation. That has to do with the way the designations are computed. In North Fork’s case, the deciding factor was the value-added measure.
“If we still used only the state indictors, performance index and adequate yearly progress,” said Superintendent Scott Hartley, “we would be an effective district. This year we did not meet value-added in reading in grades four, five, seven and eight, nor in grade seven math.
“However,” he added, “I am very proud of the major improvements and hard work of the staff and students. We still have some work to do and will fix what is broken so that our scores will indicate what an excellent district this truly is.”
An Aug. 25 press release from the Ohio Department of Education noted that results from the eighth-grade reading tests [statewide} show a 7 percent drop over last year, and statewide the fifth and eighth grades met no indicators.
“More districts have earned a rating of effective or higher on their 2008-09 report cards than in previous years,” Deborah Delisle, superintendent of public instruction, said in the press release. “This is a moment to celebrate the achievement of our students as well as a time for us to reflect on how best to intensify our efforts to prepare all students to graduate from high school being well prepared for college and a career.”
The school district and individual school building report cards can be accessed at www.reportcard.ohio.gov.