Tri-Village News

School board readies for new state standards

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On Dec. 20, Gov. John Kasich signed into law House Bill 555, which changes how Ohio schools will be graded on the state report card.

Now the details of those revised standards will have to be determined by the state board of education.

Under the new law, schools and districts will be rated on a "A-F" grading scale. The new system will replace the current method using categories ranging from "excellent" to "academic emergency."

At the Dec. 18 meeting of the Grandview school board, Superintendent Ed O'Reilly reviewed the anticipated changes the new law will bring.

The state board is required by April 30 to adopt the performance measures, benchmarks and grading system that schools and districts will be evaluated by for the 2012-13 school year, O'Reilly said, noting the deadline is only about a month before the school year ends.

It is uncertain whether the current standard of 75 percent of students passing the state achievement tests will be maintained for this school year, he said. In 2013-14, the standard will be boosted to 80 percent.

There will be no overall grade for schools until the 2014-15 school year, O'Reilly said.

Other elements of the new law include:

* In the area of value-added progress, a district that earns a "C" grade in even one sub-group will not be able to earn an overall "A" grade.

"You could have 10 'A's' and if you get one 'C,' it means no 'A,' " O'Reilly said.

A number of new subgroup categories will be added, he said.

* A number of items -- including the percentage of students in AP classes and scoring 3 or more on AP examinations, the number of students earning at least three dual enrollment credits, the percentage of students who have taken the ACT or SAT and the percentage of students receiving an honors diploma -- will be reported but not part of the overall grade until 2014-15.

* In 2014-15, grades will be based on groupings in six areas, including performance measure, progress on value-added, graduates' preparation for success in college and career and K-3 literacy progress.

"K-3 literacy progress is not defined yet, but it will be a major part of the report card," O'Reilly said.

Also at the Dec. 18 meeting, board President Grant Douglass read a statement from the board regarding the recent controversy in which some in the community were upset about high schoolers being assigned a novel that contains a depiction of date rape. The school allowed parents to choose a substitute book for their child to read.

"There has never been any intention of banning any book by any parent, staff member or board member," Douglass read from the statement.

"Coming-of-age books are appropriate and while it is very important ... for dating violence to be discussed, it is equally important this discussion be led by our school counselors/school psychologists" and other experts, he said.

"As the district moves forward in the language arts, we will be led by our educators who will establish a (grade) 7-12 instructional material policy and procedure working group," Douglass said. "That group will ensure that our district continues to meet and exceed the state standards" for language arts curriculum.

O'Reilly is reviewing the district's process for selecting materials used in classes and is expected to bring any recommendations to the board in February.

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