Gessler reviews report card grades for Sidney Schools

By Melanie Speicher -

SIDNEY — A review of the 2016-17 report card was presented during Monday night’s Sidney City Schools Board of Education meeting.

Brooke Gessler, curriculum director, said the district did make some positive progress in the report card, which was released in September.

“We are behind in each of the components,” said Gessler. Each component, she said, has a technical report compiled by the Ohio Department of Education discussing the information in detail. The reports range in four pages to 22 pages.

“Not to give excuses,” said Gessler, “But what you see is not necessarily what you get.”

Gessler said the district increased the percentage of students who are proficient in English/language arts grades 6-8; math grades 8-9 algebra; eighth-grade science; and 10th-grade algebra.

The district also exceeded the state average percentages of proficiency in 11 areas and increased the performance index by 1 percent. It improved the gap closing by 15.2 percent.

“In the 2015-16 school year, you needed a 68 to 80 percentage to meet the indicator. In 2016-17, they changed it to 80 percent to meet the indicator,” said Gessler, of the results posted in the achievement/performance index. This component shows the number of students scoring proficient or higher on the state test/test results of every student.

Also, the OGT tests were no longer included in the achievements, which eliminated five indicators from the component.

“That (OGT) was strong for the district last year,” said Gessler.

The district received a “D” on achievement, which each building received an “F” grade.

Gap closing, she said, addresses the students’ performance in reading, math and graduation regardless of income, race, ethnicity or disability.

The district received an “F” grade, as did each building in the district.

She said the percentages needed to improve the annual measurable objectives was raised from the 2015-16 to 2016-17 school year. Reading went from 74.2 percent to 77 percent; math from 68.5 percent to 72 percent and graduation from 82.8 percent to 85 percent.

“The challenge remains here, though there are pockets of improving as increases were made in moving more students toward proficient when compared to last year,” said Gessler.

The progress component addresses all students’ growth based on past performances. The district received a “D” on the report card. Sidney Middle School received a “B” while Emerson and Northwood received a “C” grade. Whittier received a “D” grade, while Longfellow and Sidney High School received a “F” grade.

This component, she said, is based on three years of data. The 2016-17 school year is a composite of two years of data. The 2017-18 report card will be a composite of three years of data.

The question is, said Gessler, “How much progress a group of students made relative to expected progress of how a similar group to them in the state performed?”

The K-3 literacy component addresses how schools get struggling readers on track to proficiency in third grade.

The district received a “C” on the report card. Emerson and Northwood schools received a “C” while Longfellow received a “D.”

The district, said Gessler, is now using NWEA MAP Growth RIT scores to determine on-track/not on-track for students in grades K-3.

“More students,” she said, “are being identified as not (being) on-track.”

The NWEA MAP data provides more information for educators to target areas needing improvement, she said.

The graduation and prepared for success component addresses the percentage of students who finished high school with a diploma in four or five years. It also addresses how prepared they are for future opportunities.

“The four-year graduation looks at students who entered the ninth grade in 2013,” said Gessler, “graduated by 2016. The five-year graduation looks at students who entered the ninth grade in 2012 and graduated by 2016.”

Sidney High School received a “D” in the four-year graduation category and a “C” in the five-year graduation category. It received a “D” on prepared for success.

Gessler outlined the district level actions needed for improvement.

“We have changed the format of the test data sent to the administrators for them to understand, disaggregate, analyze and share with the teachers,” said Gessler.

Other changes include:

• Focusing K-12 administrators quarterly meetings on using data to set priorities, create a plan while using data along the way to monitor the plan with a goal of building and sustaining a data-driven culture.

• Implementation of NWEA MAP Growth, K-10 and using the data to make more informed decisions at the classroom, building and district levels using the data.

• Changing the focus of the district leadership team for every meeting to focus on academic progress, data to meet the academic goal and leaving the climate strategy to the building teams.

• Expanding the understanding of value added data for administrators and teachers in order to use the data to guide decisions for teaching and learning.

• Aligning current programs and resources with data.

Gessler also highlighted the building level changes the principals are planning to implement.

She addressed the needs of the district to improve the report card grades. The needs include:

• Building internal capacity and staff capabilities for more self-director facilitation of collaborative work given the various teams that exist in the distinct.

• Data days so staff can process the NWEA Map Growth, report card data and progress monitoring data

• Vertical team meetings in the buildings.

• Vertical team meetings across the district to identify and address gaps.

• Revising curriculum maps, resources, activities, standard-based common assessments and grading/reporting.

• Professional learning based on building, content area, grade-level needs and new programs.

“We’re developing people, and while learning is our No. 1 goal, we have to remember we are educating the whole child — socially and emotionally,” said Gessler.

By Melanie Speicher

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.