Thursday, 15 September 2016 12:39

Ohio School Report Cards Released

The results are in.

The Ohio Department of Education has released this year's school report cards -- grading districts on six categories including performance, achievement and progress.

The Akron Public School District's report card included four Fs and two Ds. The district received a failing grade in the categories of achievement, progress, gap closing, and graduation rate. The district was given a D for the categories under K-3 literacy and prepared for success.

Click here for more details and a searchable database.

Meanwhile, area school districts are taking issue with the new report card.

The Akron Area School Superintendent's Association, in a statement signed by 22 superintendents, calls the 2016 Report Card "seriously flawed", and points out changes in the way data was compiled and released.

The Akron Public School district is among the area school districts trying to deal with how the measurements behind Ohio's school report cards change year to year.

Assistant superintendent Ellen McWilliams-Woods says it's basically comparing apples to oranges between years.

"There's no way you can look at that report card and determine whether a school is getting better or getting worse, or how their students are performing," McWilliams tells WAKR.net.

McWilliams-Woods says that for the past few years, APS has used the locally controlled, nationally measured "MAP" testing standard as a yardstick for its performance.

"As we've tracked over the four years that we've used the assessment," McWilliams-Woods says, "we've seen big jumps in student achievement."

She says that there has been, by the MAP testing, "dramatic improvements" in subjects such as reading and math over that time, and growth of over a year or more in a year's time.

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(Akron Area School Superintendent's Association) The following statement is being released by the Akron Area School Superintendent's Association representing member districts from across Summit, Portage and Medina counties, serving a wide variety of communities with long histories of excellence in education. Our primary concern as educators is to ensure our students' academic growth, while preparing them for college and careers. As such, we respectfully bring the following matter to your attention.

In the next day or so, the Ohio Department of Education will release the 2016 Report Card. The entire purpose of this document is to help identify strengths and weaknesses of each district¡¦s educational program. However, as we explain below, this report card is seriously flawed and is not reflective of the quality of education being provided to our students. As such, we urge you to view the results of our individual report cards in the proper context. The following are just a few examples of this report card's flawed nature:

* The new Prepared for Success measure looks at students over a two year period. In late June, the state made a change in how the data was to be reported; districts were not permitted to update data derived from the first year of the period. As a result, improvements made by districts that added additional college courses are not considered or included in the score

* The Achievement metric shares how well students perform on state tests. The state has expanded testing on federal requirements, adding nine additional tests in all content areas, and has changed test types three times in as many years. While teaching and learning standards have remained constant in our districts, the assessment requirements have repeatedly changed making it very difficult to make comparisons and improve instruction.

* The K-3 Literacy Rate compares the results of a student¡'s preliminary reading assessment to their proficiency on the Grade 3 test. This new test, however, now incorporates reading and writing. As such, this measure is flawed in that it calculates a rate based on a reading score to a reading AND writing score. As a result of this flawed comparison, the calculated score does not reflect actual literacy attainment.

We, as responsible school leaders, welcome accountability and transparency and recognize that Ohio¡¦s accountability system is in transition. However, it is difficult to utilize a report card that is a constantly changing document, made up of flawed components. This report card does not consistently measure how local school districts are actually performing.

It is important that as superintendents, we notify community members about these flaws so residents know the facts before they arrive at conclusions based upon faulty information. We want to assure our communities that our districts work hard each day to provide the best possible educational experience for our students.

Sincerely,
Walter Davis, Woodridge Local Schools
Patti Cleary, Barberton City Schools
Ben Moore, Portage Lake Career Center
Chuck Sincere, Springfield Local Schools
Brian Poe, Copley-Fairlawn City Schools
Joe Clark, Nordonia Hills City Schools
Mary Jane Stanchina, Six District Educational Compact
Jeff Ferguson, Tallmadge City Schools
Todd Nichols, Cuyahoga Falls City Schools
Tom Bratten, Stow-Munroe Falls City Schools
Joseph Iacano, Summit Educational Service Center
Andrew Hill, Wadsworth City Schools
Phillip Herman, Hudson City Schools
Matt Montgomery, Revere Local Schools
Dave Heflinger, Field Local Schools
Rusty Chaboudy, Coventry Local Schools
Christina Dinklocker, Mogadore Local Schools
Jeff Miller, Green Local Schools
Kathryn Powers, Twinsburg City Schools
David James, Akron Public Schools
David Dunn, Norton City Schools
Jim Robinson, Manchester Local Schools

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(Ohio School Boards Association, news release) Today's release of the Ohio Department of Education state report cards iscausing concern in school districts across the state because many of this year's scores are lower than in prior years. Even though schools are seeing local improvement on many fronts, the results were not unexpected since students are being judged against new, higher state standards.

OSBA supports accountability and welcomes the opportunity to learn how students are progressing and where improvement is needed. At the same time, there are concerns about 2016 being the third year in a row with different tests and varying standards. Districts need adequate time to properly prepare for such transitions.

School board members and administrators have expressed legitimate concerns about the report card methodology and measures. They're also concerned that the report card tells only part of the story.

"To truly gauge progress, it's important to take a holistic look at student and district achievement," said OSBA President Eric K. Germann, a school board member at Lincolnview Local Schools and Vantage Career Center in Van Wert County. "The report card is just one component. Many other factors, including job, college and militaryplacement, scholarships awarded, the arts and community service must be part of the overall picture of student success."

The recently passed Every Student Succeeds Act provides a welcome opportunity for the Ohio Department of Education and state legislature to review and reconsider report cardsand measures. OSBA looks forward to working with them to ensure that assessment is fair, equitable and consistent and reporting is clear and concise.

The association also urges the education department to reach out to local school boards tohelp them better interpret and use the results to improve student achievement and help their communities better understand the report cards. OSBA stands ready to support the department in that effort and will work with local boards to increase their understanding ofthe data and share that knowledge with their communities.

In its 61st year, the Ohio School Boards Association leads the way to educational excellence by serving Ohio's public school board members and the diverse districts they represent through superior service, unwavering advocacy and creative solutions.

Published in Local

A student was found with a gun at Ellet High School late Wednesday morning.

Akron police say that a school staffer discovered the concealed gun on a 17 year-old male student.

"He was confronted by both the Akron officer at the school there, and staff members," Capt. Dan Zampelli tells WAKR.net, "and the 17 year-old immediately put his hands up, and allowed the officer to retrieve the weapon which was on his person at the time."

Capt. Zampelli says the student had a loaded, 40-caliber semi-automatic handgun, which has been confiscated.

He says the student faces felony charges of carrying a concealed weapon and carrying a firearm into the school. The student was sent to the Summit County Juvenile Detention Center.

The school was placed on lockdown for about an extra 40 minutes as a precaution.

No one was hurt, and classes were not disrupted at Ellet High.

In an unrelated incident, Miller South was locked for about 3 minutes early this afternoon, because Akron police were searching for someone outside the school.

(Previous coverage) Akron Public School officials say a student was found with a gun at Ellet High School late Wednesday morning.

Not many details have been released, but officials say the school was locked and place on what admintrators call a "Safe School Watch" for about an hour around 10:35 a.m. after a tip from a staff member.

Police confronted the student within five minutes of the lockdown and recovered the weapon without incident.

 

Published in Local

University of Akron President Scott Scarborough appears to be mulling over the idea of changing the name of the school.

The Beacon Journal reports that he'll address the issue at a speech at the City Club of Cleveland on May 15.

No one would confirm the details of the speech, but there's been talk of plans to change the name to reflect the university's strengths in the "polytechnical and professional fields."

There's a petition on Change.org to stop the name change from moving forward. More than 4,100 people have signed the petition as of 8:45 a.m.

The petition states that the president's plan is to change the name to "Ohio Polytech Institute" -- although that has not been confirmed.

More on the web: www.ohio.com

Published in Local