Bexley News

Schools Notebook

Academic growth clearly evident at high school


Bexley High School is considered a high growth school, meaning that its students consistently perform at the highest levels and demonstrate the greatest amount of growth year to year.

Such consistent performance at the highest levels is no accident for Bexley. It is achieved as a result of purposeful actions by faculty, staff and administration in learning and using "best practices" approaches.

One such best practice associated with figuring out how to improve an already high performing school is Project SOAR, a collaborative launched in 2002 by the national organization, Battelle for Kids. Bexley High School was one of the first schools to adopt the SOAR school improvement framework.

A team of BHS staff members selected SOAR and received training for its implementation. Teachers started the improvement process by thinking about what they do in the classroom and how their practices contributed to exceptional levels of student achievement. They were involved in validating their instruction with student performance data available from the school, district, state and national levels.

As a result, Bexley High School is one of six high schools that earned the "SOAR Award for High Progress" in 2013 from Battelle for Kids. The award, based on research from some 120 urban, rural and suburban districts across the country, demonstrates Bexley's high academic progress in multiple grade levels and subjects over the most recent school year (2012-2013).

"It is an honor to recognize these schools and districts for their extraordinary progress with students," said Jim Mahoney, executive director, Battelle for Kids. "The exceptional growth these educators have made with students is a testament to the hard work they've put forth to improve their schools and districts."

In more good news, the Ohio Department of Education recently released data showing that all BHS teachers achieved its highest ranking. Bexley's results are in stark contrast to those across the state, with only 16 percent of Ohio teachers earning the "most effective" rating.

Bexley High School's results from the Ohio Graduation Test in citizenship, writing, reading, mathematics and science were two standard deviations above the average state testing pool. The students of Bexley's teachers gained significantly more than a year's worth of growth for a year's worth of schooling.

The ACT QualityCore, End-of-Course Assessments demonstrated the same remarkable outcome. These assessments measure the learning outcomes that all students must attain in order to succeed in college and careers. Bexley students performed at the "most effective" levels on English 9, 10, 11, and 12; U.S. History; Biology, Chemistry I, Algebra I and Pre-Calculus exams. Again, the achievement was more than two standard deviations above expected average levels.

Bexley High School has much to celebrate and I applaud its faculty and staff members who continue to focus on helping students reach their highest levels of achievement.

Michael Johnson is the superintendent of Bexley City Schools.