For the third year in a row, the Hilliard City School District has received a rating of "Excellent with Distinction" - the equivalent of an A+ - on the state's Local Report Card for 2009-10.

For the third year in a row, the Hilliard City School District has received a rating of "Excellent with Distinction" - the equivalent of an A+ - on the state's Local Report Card for 2009-10.

"We're extremely pleased," Superintendent Dale McVey said. "We feel very good about those results, but we also feel good about the results within the results."

The Ohio Department of Education said the District met all 26 indicators on the report card, and Hilliard's performance index score of 101.9 was its highest yet. (When the performance index scores were first issued in 2001, Hilliard had a 92.1 score.) In addition, 19 of the 22 schools in the district were rated "Excellent" or "Excellent with Distinction."

The ODE bases its ratings on the percentage of students who tested proficient in reading, mathematics, writing, social studies and science, as well as attendance and graduation rates. Hilliard had an attendance rate of 96 percent, bettering the state standard of 93 percent; and a graduation rate of 95.4 percent, bettering the 90 percent state standard.

District administrators gave a number of reasons for the success of Hilliard schools.

"We have outstanding educators," McVey said, "but I also think it's a partnership. You need to have a supportive community working in concert with teachers, administration and the board of education, and I think we have that in this system."

"For the last couple years, we've been involved with a major literacy and math course of study revision/implementation," said Andy Riggle, assistant superintendent of curriculum instruction. "The other thing that we've done is we completed our High School 2020 initiative and built in a number of recommendations from that work into our school improvement plans, and we're seeing some really positive results.

"It's not only direct instruction," Riggle said, "but students producing something to demonstrate they've mastered these skills."

"Our staff is very dedicated to learning themselves," said Leslie McNaughton, assistant superintendent of personnel. "For example, we had Summer Academy over four different weeks, and we had more than 700 teachers participate."

In addition, McNaughton said, "We are dedicated to hiring the best of the best" teachers.

"Two of the populations we focus on are the economically disadvantaged and also our English Language Learners, both of which continue to grow in our district," said Craig Heath, director of assessment and research. "For the second consecutive year, we've made increases in both reading and math across the board in both in all the grade levels in those two groups."