By Lynne Phillips
Local schools seem to be about average, according to the State Report Cards issued by the Ohio Department of Education.
New London was one of the area schools receiving a C on the card, according to district superintendent Brad Romano. He told board of education members during Monday night’s meeting, “Even though we had C as a district grade this year, it is the first year there has been an overall building and district level grade.”
He pointed out the letter grade is new this year to the report card, adding, “So much of what is in this report card is purely based on state assessments. I believe there is a validity and reliability issue in our state assessments. Until the state addresses the volume of state tests given to students it’s hard to put a lot of weight into the report card.
There are positive results on the report card and one of those is the district's graduation rate for both the four and five year rates. “We are in the mid 90 percent and that is very good. We give a lot of individual attention to our students beginning in the ninth grade to make sure they meet their graduation requirements.”
The district’s Gap Closing standard is also C, Romano noted. “That shows how well we are doing with our subgroups. Our subgroups here are special education and economically disadvantaged students. By having a C in that standard it means we are closing that gap.”
The administrative team is working first and foremost at having the curriculum aligned to the state standards. It is an ongoing process because the standards are always changing. “We must also make sure materials and resources as well as student centered instructional practices are aligned to those standards. We meet them where they are and grow them academically,” he stated.
“The report card does not reflect all of the things done by the school district to make students successful. “What you do not see on the report card is all the things we do for our kids. It isn’t the sum of what we do. It is a piece of what we do.”
Romano said, “The report card is still a measurement most communities use to rate their districts.” He noted there are some areas the district needs to improve on.
Breaking it down across the state, Romano reported there are 28 districts in the state that received the A rating, 191 earned a B and 253 including, New London received a C. One hundred twenty two earned a D and 14 received an F.
“We fell in that 253, the same as the bulk of the districts.”
He told board members North Point Educational Service Center surveyed 21 districts and none of them had an A. “Three had Bs with Edison being the closest one to us, the rest had Cs with the exception of Willard City Schools with a D.”
New London met 5 of the 24 standards on the report card, Plymouth and Monroeville 6 of the 24. South Central, Western Reserve and Norwalk met 7 of the 24. Willard met 2 of the 24.
“We are not satisfied with being just ‘average’,” he said.