For the sixth time in eight years, Marysville High School has earned an "excellent" rating from the Ohio Department of Education.

For the sixth time in eight years, Marysville High School has earned an "excellent" rating from the Ohio Department of Education.

The state released preliminary data for the state report cards in September, recognizing the Marysville Exempted Village School district as "Excellent with Distinction." On Nov. 14, more detailed numbers were released and Marysville High School achieved an "excellent" rating.

"I think the thing we're most excited about is the performance index numbers," said MHS Principal Matt Chrispin.

The state uses several indicators to determine a school's rank. One of the most crucial numbers is the Performance Index (PI) number.

The PI rating assesses five performance levels of students; advanced, accelerated, proficient, basic, and limited. The percentage of students scoring at each performance level is calculated and then multiplied by the point value or "weight" assigned to that performance level. The points earned for each performance level are totaled to determine each school's Performance Index score.

For example, 29.2 percent of MHS students scored "advanced" on the latest Ohio Graduation Test. The "advanced" category receives a 1.2 weight giving the school a total 35.1 "advanced" points. The MHS "accelerated" category received 32.8 percent with a weight of 1.1 giving MHS 36 "accelerated" points. Once all five categories are weighted and added together, MHS's total ranking is 104.3.

The high school has continuously brought performance index numbers up over the last several years, according to Chrispin.

"We're not just meeting proficient, we're hitting more accelerated and advanced marks," he said.

MHS' Performance Index rankings started at 97.6 in the 2004-2005 school year but the most recent ranking for the 2010-2011 school year is 104.3. The school made steady incremental increases every year over the last seven years.

The school tracked PI numbers starting four years ago and compared them with other high schools in the Ohio Capital Conference and other Union County schools. Marysville gained the most PI points out of those high schools. From the 2007-2008 to the 2010-2011 school year, MHS gained 6.8 points, New Albany 6.6, and Mount Vernon 4.9.

Marysville School Superintendent Larry Zimmerman said the increase in the PI scores at the high school is a big deal.

"That's significant," Zimmerman said. "Not only are they passing the test, they're getting higher grades. And we have more doing that now. That's a direct reflection of our teachers and the instruction the students receive."
Chrispin said the emphasis is district-wide.

"The lower level schools are doing a better job," he said. "I think we're doing a better job. We're aligning our curriculum to state standards. We're paying attention to the data. In other words, how are our kids doing on those middle school tests? Who do we really need to focus on in algebra, in those history classes?"

Chrispin said a few years ago the school was barely getting over the state-required 75 percent in science, so they made a change to the science curriculum. Instead of one semester of unified science the freshman year and one semester of biology the sophomore year, they designed the program for students to take a science class both semesters of both years, allowing the student to stay in "science mode" before the OGTs rolled around.

Chrispin said the other change MHS made was the inclusion program, which put students who normally work outside the classroom with Intervention Specialists back in the standard classroom. Intervention Specialists now go into the classroom with those students to help get them on the same page as the other students.

"We can't be any more excited for those folks," said school board President Jeff Mabee. "That's a huge school and a big undertaking. They do a great job there. Our hats are off to them."

Chrispin said the school will have to adjust again soon. The state standards will require a curriculum change. He said they are not sure what that looks like right now.

Chrispin was quick to honor the staff for the marked improvements over the past eight years.

"It's a credit to our staff," he said. "You look at the success we've had academically and the climate of our building. It's pretty amazing."