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ODE Report Card: WCS is Effective
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Reprinted courtesy of the Westerville News & Public Opinion/SNP

ęCopyright Suburban News Publications, Columbus, Ohio, 2003

Originally published August 13, 2003

State: District is 'effective'

Excluding ESL and special education students, Report Card was just one passing grade short of 'excellent.'

By JOHN SHERIDAN

The Westerville City School District earns an "effective" rating on the Ohio Department of Education Report Card for 2002-03 issued Tuesday.

The district met 18 of 22 state indicators under federal regulations, which include testing administrated to English as a Second Language students and students with learning deficiencies.

If those student populations were excluded from the tests as they were last year, the district would have met 20 of 22 indicators -- just one shy of the "excellent" rating district leaders have targeted. Superintendent George Tombaugh says he wants Westerville to become the state's largest "excellent" district.

The Ohio Department of Education recognizes the apples-to-oranges discrepancy between last year's Report Card's and the previous year, caused by including the ESL and learning disability student test scores. The ODE added this disclaimer to the reported ratings:

"Comparing the percentage proficient this year with the percentage proficient last year may not be an accurate comparison because some students with disabilities and limited English proficient students that were previously excluded are now included in all calculations."

The indicators are based on fourth-, sixth-, and ninth-grade proficiency tests, as well as attendance and graduation rates.

Based on last year's criteria, Westerville was only deficient in fourth-grade science, where 72.5 percent of district students who took the Ohio Fourth-Grade Proficiency Test passed. The requirement to meet the state's indicator was 75 percent. The other indicator not met based on the old criteria was sixth-grade math, where 68.3 percent passed and again the indicator required 75 percent.

When including the new federally mandated reporting method, the district also did not meet the benchmarks for fourth-grade math and sixth-grade reading.

Tombaugh on Tuesday said the district has already taken steps to adjust curriculum to continue making improvement on the Report Card, even as the testing that makes up the criteria continue to change.

In part the district is doing this by incorporating analytical writing in all subject areas, including math where students will now be challenged not just on coming up with a correct answer, but also must examine the thought process behind their answer.

Tombaugh said since the incoming freshman class this year will be the first that must pass Ohio's new 10th-grade test in order to graduate, raising the bar for students and challenging classroom instruction is important and good for students.

The Ohio Graduation Test that will be administered in 10th-grade takes the place of the existing Ninth-Grade Proficiency Test in the Report Card criteria as well; members of the class of 2007 must pass it in order to graduate.

"We will continue to focus on fundamentals, instruction, interventions and assistance, and raise the knowledge and skills of students and teachers," Tombaugh said.

Also new to this year's report card results were ratings assessed to individual schools. The possible ratings are excellent, effective, continuous improvement, academic watch, and academic emergency.

Those ratings are not new to the state Report Card but previously only were assigned to districts' overall performance.

Of Westerville's 22 schools, six were rated with the highest designation: Excellent.

Ten were effective, and six were labeled continuous improvement.

No school scored below the continuous improvement designation. Individual school ratings are based on six indicators, the four proficiency test areas: math, science, citizenship, and science, and graduation and attendance requirements.

Central College, Hanby, Longfellow, Robert Frost, Westerville North and Westerville South High School were all rated excellent.

Alcott, Cherrington, Emerson, Fouse, Mark Twain, McVay, Pointview and Whittier elementary schools, and Genoa and Heritage middle schools were rated effective.

Annehurst, Hawthorne, Huber Ridge, and Wilder elementary schools, and Blendon and Walnut Springs middle schools were rated continuous improvement.

For complete report card information go the Ohio Department of Education Web site, http://www.ode.state.oh.us/reportcard.

Read more Central Ohio community news at www.SNPonline.com

 

Westerville Voters On Target for Education