Delaware News

Report card response

District examines its program for gifted students

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The Delaware City School district got a rude awakening when it received an "F" on the Ohio Department of Education's redesigned state report card, which indicated students had a high performance rating but did not have a high growth percentage.

"This report card measures one year of growth and it wasn't a great growth year for us," Superintendent Paul Craft said.

He said the district is waiting to receive more details regarding its gifted students and specifically, information about what programs are working for gifted students and which ones aren't moving them forward.

According to Craft, the district is required by law to identify gifted students, but is not required to provide service to students. Consequently, not all gifted students in the district are receiving gifted services.

Those who are receiving gifted services are graded on the report card for their performance and the level of growth they have shown over the course of one school year.

"The report card tracks how well our students are doing, but no funding will be provided to help improve those scores," he said.

Craft said district officials are concerned about this score, but it is only one piece of the entire puzzle.

"I want our score to get higher. I want our kids to grow," he said. "This isn't a crisis, but it will provide a focus for our efforts."

Director of Student Services Jake Tawney is currently going into classrooms and evaluating the structure and organization of how gifted students are being educated.

"We are having serious conversations about classroom instruction," he said. "We are asking other districts how they identify their gifted students and what services they provide to see how we are measuring up."

According to Tawney, a standard national test called the TeraNova is given to students in second grade to determine if they are gifted. The Delaware school district offers services to gifted students beginning in the third grade.

He said more information is needed in order to determine how well various district interventions are working.

"We need to get into the classrooms to find out which teaching models are working the best," he said.

Tawney said some of the models include pulling students out of classroom and giving them additional instruction; co-teaching with an intervention specialist; creating gifted classes; and pulling out a small number of students for intervention.

At Willis Intermediate School, for example, there is a "critical mass" of gifted math students to whom the district was able to offer a full gifted math class.

"We want to make sure our education is top notch, and our services will depend on what is working in the classrooms," he said.

Craft said district officials are continuing to work through these things in order to improve its report card score.

"If we aren't better next year, I will be disappointed. I want our district to get straight A's," he said.

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