Ohio Grade Card. Know that there are two major problems we as a school district have with the grade card:
First of all, there was one misquote in the newspaper articles. In one of the assessment areas we had 79.8% of our students passing the assessment for 5th Gr. Math. The state benchmark is 80% of students passing. The article stated incorrectly 2%. This was actually .2% (point 2 percent). This kind of puts things in perspective. So we literally failed to meet this benchmark by 1/5 of a single student not passing. This is way overanalyzing things by the state.
- Our administrators and staff OWN this blip in our state assessments this past year. We as educators have an obligation to increase the % passing rate in all areas and my expectation is always that we would pass every area. Yes, we fell short this year. However, with the multitude of areas tested we happened to have had a year where in 7 of areas tested where we are required to meet the 80% student passage rate, we were within 5% of passing. In the number crunch this can be 4-6 students (depending on class size) who, had they each answered a single more question correctly, would have earned the district this benchmark. Also, a part of this is the state's calculation trying to force alignment to their tests - dinging schools advanced like ours by having more than 50% of our 8th Gr. students in Algebra (most schools are in single digits as far as Algebra in 8th Gr. so obviously their scores look better). Our 8th Gr. Math results are based upon our lowest 50% performing math students who obviously will not perform as well as a group on these assessments. We will always take an official hit with this, yet we do what is best for our kids and NOT caving to the lower state expectations and alignment abandoning our goals of challenging our students in more advanced Math.
- We have found this year many inaccuracies and inconsistencies in the data reported. We have been analyzing this yesterday and today - since the data came out - and will continue to do so. We expect to change some processes in reporting some of the data, change the timing of when we do some things, and try to discover where the Ohio Dept. of Education pulled some of the data that is simply not right.
We take responsibility with the standardized test scores and studying the data piece, continuing to provide high quality, relevant professional development for staff, and continued strong administrative and board of education leadership is important. We believe in continuous improvement and we continually improve. Trust in our leadership and our Board of Education members Kim Wellert, Chuck Beck, Phil Keener, Laura Woodring, Paula Abrecht. This year is a blip and a year from now we will be right back up again.
Our current board members are passionate about kids, our community, are knowledgeable, have shown strong leadership, and FOCUSED ON KIDS ALWAYS. I value our collegial relationship as superintendent will always recommend consistency in leadership. As we follow our strategic plan we all know student success is a marathon, not a sprint, and there will be hills as well as valleys as we progress. In the end our students graduate successful and very prepared.
The percentage of students passing standardized assessments notwithstanding, there is nobody who prepared students better for college, career, and society. The social & emotional supports, gifted programming, special education services, fine arts included. Core academic programs are solid. We develop and graduate a very high % of students who are mature, well-rounded, articulate, down to earth with extraordinary 21st century skills such as problem-solving, public speaking, critical thinking, presentation, collaboration, creativity, and are technological literate. Unfortunately, the Ohio Dept. of Education does not measure these attributes.
An example: the nearly 1,000 CCP College Semester Credit Hours our 2019 graduates earned while enrolled in our High School. It is an incredible number. This year's graduates will surely eclipse this number and attain over 1,000 college semester hours upon graduation. In addition:
- We had our 2nd Assoc. college graduate at HS graduation
- Millions in college financial aid scholarships
- Ongoing strong numbers of graduates serving in our military
- Student Internships
- A state approved Pre-apprenticeship program
Leaving our school prepared:
- 21st C skills
- Led the state in the Ohio college and career readiness seal last year
- Our students dominate at student competitions, Regionally, State-wide, and Nationally
- Our students earned way more Industry credentials than reported by the grade card
Parents & Community Members, anyone and everyone is always welcome to a Northwestern Board of Education Meeting. In addition, anyone wanting to meet with a principal and/or I to discuss the grade card data we welcome the opportunity. Mine is an open door.
In addition, it was great seeing so many friends and acquaintances at the fair (as always). Blessings to each of you this beautiful fall and congratulations to our many student high achieving successes at the fair! We are always represented well!
Jeffrey N. Layton, Ed.D.
Northwestern Local Schools