School leaders react to report card stars

By Melanie Speicher - [email protected]

COLUMBUS — Report cards for school districts across Ohio were released Thursday by the Ohio Department of Education for the 2021-22 academic year.

Each district received a number rating for five components on the grade card.

According to the Ohio Department of Education, they were rated on:

• Achievement which represents whether student performance on state tests met established thresholds and how well students performed on tests overall.

• Progress which looks closely at the growth all students are making based on their past performances.

• Early Literacy which measures reading improvement and proficiency for students in kindergarten through third grade.

• Gap Closing:which measures the reduction in educational gaps for student subgroups.

• Graduation which looks at the four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate and the five-year adjusted cohort graduation rate.

In the achievement category, the top rating of 5 stars was received by the Anna, Botkins, Fairlawn, Fort Loramie, Jackson Center, Russia, Minster, New Bremen, New Knoxville and Versailles school districts. Hardin-Houston and Riverside received a 4 star rating, while Sidney City Schools received a rating of 3 stars.

In the progress category, Jackson Center, Minster and Versailles all received a 5 star rating. Receiving a rating of 3 stars were Botkins, Fairlawn, Fort Loramie, New Bremen and Versailles. Anna received a rating of 2 stars. Russia, Sidney and New Knoxville all received a 1 star rating.

In the early literacy category, Fairlawn, Fort Loramie, Jackson Center, Minster and New Knoxville all received a rating of 5 stars. Receiving a rating of 4 stars were Anna, Botkins, Russia and New Bremen. A rating of 3 stars was received by Hardin-Houston, Sidney, Versailles and Riverside.

In the gap closing category, Anna, Botkins, Fairlawn, Fort Loramie, Jackson Center, Russia, Minster, New Bremen, New Knoxville and Versailles all received a rating of 5 stars. Hardin-Houston, Sidney and Riverside received a 4 star rating.

In the graduation category, receiving a rating of 5 stars were Anna, Botkins, Fort Loramie, Russia, Minster, New Bremen, New Knoxville, Versailles and Riverside. Receiving a 4 star rating were Fairlawn, Hardin-Houston and Jackson Center. Sidney received a rating of 3 stars.

Area superintendents/assistant superintendents were given the opportunity to review their district’s ratings.

“Since the initial impact of the pandemic in March of 2020, our district staff, students, and families have navigated some of the most challenging terrain in life. From rapidly changing home and work environments to deaths in families to learning in a remote environment, changing quarantine guidelines, substitute shortages in classrooms, we have seen more changes in these few short years than some of us have in decades,” said Sidney City Schools Assistant Superintendent Brooke Gessler, who is also the district’s Title IX coordinator.

“Given this, we are very proud of all the efforts our staff, students, and their families have made to commit to learning and keeping the focus on our students’ well-being. These efforts are reflected in the latest report card results, as the district has earned three or more stars in four of the five rated components,” said Gessler.

“We recognize we have areas of growth, and our building leaders will continue to focus on these alongside their staff as they implement action steps to improve both academics and building climate. In our district, we know continuous improvement is predicated on having a growth mindset, strong relationships, and keeping students at the forefront of decision-making. We are fortunate to have a strong and dedicated staff across the district as our foundation,” she said.

Withe the release of the report cards, Hardin-Houston Local School District Superintendent Ryan Maier said they will begin reviewing the results in depth.

“Overall I am pleased with our district’s Ohio Report Card results. Not unlike any year, the Hardin-Houston staff and administration will analyze the data with the goal of increasing our scores in achievement and value added/progress, in addition to the many other components included within the State Report Card,” said Maier. “I appreciate our entire staff’s effort in providing an excellent whole-child education, while offering numerous positive in-school and after-school activities throughout the school year.”

Fort Loramie Superintendent Dan Holland is also pleased with the district’s results.

“We are very pleased with our scores. Our Performance Index is the highest it has been, and we are very proud of that,” said Holland. “We continue to make progress with our Gifted group and our achievement level at each indicator is superb.

“The teachers, students, principals, Board of Education, and parents each share in this success. Without their support, our growth as in achievement wouldn’t be possible,” said Holland.

Botkins Superintendent Jeff McPheron said having their students back in the classroom five days a week is a positive factor on their results.

“I think for us the report card shows a direct correlation between our students’ achievement and being face to face five days a week during the pandemic,” said McPheron. “Students’ educational loss and non-retention was kept at a minimum by the continued excellent services our district provides. Hats off to staff and families for working together to make sure Botkins Local students received the best education possible the past couple years.

“We do not base what we do here at school off of a state report card, but rather what meets the needs of our students best. So while we monitor and look at state testing data it is not what drives us on a daily basis here at Botkins, student wellness and everyday achievement and growth are more important to us,” he said.

Jackson Center Superintendent Bill Reichert said, “We will need a little more time to digest all the data, but we were pleased to see the front page and our results.”

By Melanie Speicher

[email protected]

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822