Northridge Local Schools Superintendent John Shepard says he couldn't be happier with the district's latest rating of "effective" on the state report card, released Tuesday by the Ohio Department of Education.

Northridge Local Schools Superintendent John Shepard says he couldn't be happier with the district's latest rating of "effective" on the state report card, released Tuesday by the Ohio Department of Education.

"We're pleased," he said. "We know we have more work to do. We're the same as Johnstown with the only difference being they didn't score as high over the years, so they get bumped up (to excellent)."

For the third consecutive year, Northridge met 26 of 30 indicators. The state report card rating is based on reaching a specific number of state indicators, a minimum performance index score, Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) and value-added measure.

"We've stayed very consistent over the years," Shepard said. "There's always room for improvement, even if your score is perfect. We will work on areas where we're deficient."

Northridge came within less than one percent of reaching a 27th indicator with 74.6 percent of eighth-graders reaching proficiency in science. The state requirement is 75 percent. The district also failed to meet requirements in eighth-grade social studies, 62.7 percent; fifth-grade social studies, 71.9 percent; and fifth-grade math, 65.8 percent.

Shepard said he tracks the indicators from year to year following the same groups of students.

"That's how we measure from year to year," he said. "Each year you're dealing with a different year of students. That's what our teachers focus on -- the students they have this year.

"This is a great piece of accountability," he said. "It's one of the checks and balances we look it. We're pleased."

The latest report card, based on academic year 2008-09, also shows Northridge meeting AYP for the second consecutive year. That measure demonstrates every student subgroup to be at or above annual goals or improved over the previous year.

"We work hard to achieve that," Shepard said.

The district also made gains with its performance index score, raising it to 97.8, from 95.7 the previous year. The performance index reflects the achievement of every student tested.

In looking to the future, Shepard said Northridge will use part-time services with federal stimulus money to hire a school improvement consultant.

"She'll work in that capacity, he said. "We'll take each score of each student to map out the year academically. Our teachers also worked over the summer to develop common assessments that will track student progress through the school year.

"Again, it's a welcome thing," Shepard said. "We use data to drive instruction. That's a good practice."

Each Northridge building also received a ranking by the state. Northridge High School was rated "excellent" by meeting 12 of 12 indicators.

For complete report card information, visit the Ohio Department of Education's web site: www.ode.state.oh.us.