Rocky Fork Enterprise

ODE grades Gahanna schools as 'excellent'


Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools are rated excellent, as expected, according to additional preliminary report-card information released by the Ohio Department of Education on Oct. 17.

The ODE updated information previously released and now includes preliminary district and school ratings, performance index and attendance information.

The August release of the report card was delayed by the State Board of Education because of an ongoing investigation by state auditor David Yost into allegations of data manipulation by some school districts. The ODE won't publish the official report card until the investigation is completed.

Beth Spieth, G-J executive director of curriculum and instruction, said the district is pleased with the report-card data.

"We met all indicators, have a 95.2 attendance rate, exceeding standards," she said. "The performance index moved up to 102 (from 101.2), and we met AYP (adequate yearly progress). That means that more of our students are meeting the proficient criteria, including all students and the subgroups."

Spieth said the district also met the value-added measure, meaning students achieved their expected year of growth.

"Our rating is excellent," she said. "We're proud of that."

She said Gahanna-Jefferson is a district of choice in the region because of its overall performance.

The district lost its "excellent with distinction" rating, the highest rating a district could achieve.

"The distinction is a piece of the rating applied when you go above state expectations with all students across the board," Spieth said. "That distinction is from the value-added measure, referring to the expectation to one year of growth. Below, met and exceed (value added) refers to the expectation of one year of growth."

Spieth said the district met all 26 academic indicators and gave a solid performance.

"We're continuing to focus on individual student growth, the academic growth students make from the beginning to the end of the year," she said. "We'll increase gathering data, using different tools to help students with any gaps. We'll identify those gaps and give opportunities for reinforcement of instruction in the classroom, with increased opportunities for after-school or summer learning."

Michael Straughter, the district's public-information manager, said the district also saw a change in its graduation rate based on the state's new longitudinal calculation.

For the 2010-11 report card, the ODE calculated G-J having a 94.9-percent graduation rate, exceeding the state requirement of 90 percent.

For 2011-12, the ODE calculates the district having a 91.6-percent graduation rate, representing a drop but still exceeding the state standard.

The ODE statewide average graduation rate for 2010-11 was approximately 84 percent. With the new calculation, it's approximately 78 percent.