As students in Bexley prepare to return to the classroom next week for the first bell of the 2014-15 school year, district leaders are celebrating last year's successes.
While the official release of the state report card is not expected until later this month, Bexley Superintendent Mike Johnson announced the district has met all 24 of the card's indicators, earning Bexley an "A" in that area.
Indicators measure how many students have passed the state tests at a minimum level. Test results are reported for each student in specific grades and subjects. A district or school needs to have 80 percent of its students pass at a minimum level or higher in order to "meet" an indicator.
Johnson also said that while the district made gains on its Performance Index score, it wasn't enough to earn the district an "A" there.
The Performance Index measures test results of every student, not just those who score proficient or higher. There are six levels on the index, and districts receive points for every student in each level. The higher the achievement level, the more points awarded in the district's index. This rewards schools and districts for improving performance.
Districts need to score a 108 in order to earn an "A." Bexley scored 107.4, which equates to a "B."
"We were just a few students short of an 'A' in this category," Johnson said.
The preliminary report card data also indicates the district still needs to focus on three student subgroups that failed to meet state benchmarks: economically disadvantaged, African American and students with disabilities.
"We need to address these subgroups so these students are successful," said Johnson, indicating individuals will be identified by test score and matched with individualized intervention.
Overall, though, he said he is pleased with the early 2013-14 report card results.
With the start of the 2014-15 school year comes new testing based on the Common Core standards.
The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers testing will replace the Ohio Achievement Assessments that have been administered in every district throughout Ohio.
But just last month, Republicans in the Ohio House of Representatives announced they are looking to introduce legislation by November that would repeal Common Core in Ohio.
Johnson said that's not good news for students, teachers or districts.
"It would be chaotic," he said, noting the immense time and resources that have been funneled into implementing Common Core.
"It's very difficult when the target is always changing," he said.
For now though, the focus will be on implementing the current curriculum and welcoming students to a new school year.
Bexley also welcomes 18 new staff members into the district this fall, including a new director of special education, Samantha McMasters.
New Teacher Orientation is set for Friday, Aug. 8, followed by the district's annual convocation for faculty and staff on Tuesday, Aug. 12.
The Bexley Education Foundation will host a Back-to-School Coffee at each of the elementary schools from 8:15 to 9 a.m. Aug. 13, the same day students return to the classroom.
Individual schools have been holding various orientation activities for back-to-school including ice cream socials, family nights and school supply sales.