LIMA — Lima schools moved up from an F to a D in Ohio’s 2018-19 school report cards, while Kalida, Minster, Miller City-New Cleveland and Ottoville districts were the only A-rated schools in Allen, Auglaize and Putnam counties.
The Ohio Department of Education released its annual list of school report cards Thursday morning, meant to gauge how well each school performs in a number of distinct categories.
Like students’ report cards, each school receives a letter grade meant to illustrate performance in six individual measurements — achievement, progress, graduation rate, gap closing, improving at-risk K-3 readers and prepared for success. An overall grade is then created by weighing each graded category.
Lima schools Superintendent Jill Ackerman said the school district’s jump up from a D showed progress, especially in the district’s “Gap Closing” scores. Meant to gauge the performance of vulnerable populations, or sub-groups, many Lima schools saw a marked increase from previous years, which helped increase letter grades for a number of individual schools. Of note is Unity Elementary School, which jumped two spots from an F to a C and saw 7 to 11% increases in testing scores.
“What we’ve really focused on the last couple of years is looking at individual student data, and determining if interventions are working or not working,” Ackerman said.
The school district has also used a number of educational consultants to meet with teachers and staff to overlook some of the school’s educational processes. A better focus on teamwork and efficacy, Ackerman said, also helped the district come away with a higher grade.
With that said, Ackerman said that the school district is looking to continue its upward momentum to address its weak points.
“We definitely are not satisfied with a D, I can tell you that. When I look at the test scores, there’s always room for improvement,” Ackerman said.
Of the school districts that saw decreases in scores, only one in the three-county region saw a drop in overall letter grade. Bath schools dropped from a B to C.
Bath Superintendent Rich Dackin said the school district’s overall score saw a slight down-tick, but it was just enough that the ODE gave them “an average” C score. With the new score, Dackin said he’ll be working with the district schools and their principals to better understand what can be done to boost instruction.
“I believe in accountability. You can argue about how the formula is weighed when speaking about the rules, but I do feel we should be held accountable, and we hope to get better,” Dackin said.
In the three-county region, Putnam County once more was able to secure the highest overall grades overall. Both Kalida and Pandora-Gilboa schools saw letter increases, meaning that every school in the county ended up with either a B or A grade.
Kalida schools Superintendent Karl Lammers said the change from B to A wasn’t necessarily anything that the school district had done to improve the district’s score. A change in the state’s formula ended up nixing the “at-risk K-3 readers” category for the small-sized district, which canceled a negative score that had kept them in B territory.
Either way, Lammers said he got an email from the state superintendent earlier in the day, congratulating the school district for being one of 31 in the state to grab the state’s top score.
“We’re very pleased,” Lammers said. “It is a tribute to our community.”
Similarly, Delphos schools Superintendent Doug Westrick echoed Lammers reticence to take a victory lap for his district’s improved score, which saw an increase from C to B.
“We’re excited about our scores, but there’s still room for improvement,” Westrick said. “We’ll take some time to celebrate with our teachers and students, but the goal is to continue to educate our kids with the best of our ability.”
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.