The Olentangy Local School District scored all A's and B's on report cards issued last Thursday, Aug. 22, by the Ohio Department of Education.
For the first time, the department assessed districts with letter grades instead of designations such as "excellent" or "excellent with distinction."
The nine previous state report cards gave Olentangy the top rating of "excellent with distinction," but even without straight A's, district Superintendent Wade Lucas said he's proud of the new scores.
"It shows that our staff and our students are doing a great job," he said. "That fact is actually highlighted and emphasized with these scores, because public education is often accused of teaching to the test, but we implemented the new state Common Core standards early and our students were tested on the old (Ohio Achievement Assessments) standards, yet they were still able to exceed those standards."
Districts won't receive overall letter grades until the 2015 report cards are released, but letter grades were assigned to districts in nine categories, including performance index and value-added.
Olentangy received an A grade for meeting all of the state's standards during the 2012-13 school year, which require that a minimum of 80 percent of students pass the 24 state achievement tests.
The district also was awarded A grades for its four- and five-year graduation rates, which were at 97.8 percent and 98.5 percent, respectively.
The other nearly perfect scores came in the value-added category, which measures the average yearly progress in math and reading among students in grades 4-8. Overall, the district earned an A, as did students who were in the lowest 20 percent in the achievement category and students with disabilities. The district's gifted students received a B in the category.
Olentangy missed earning an A by 0.3 percentage points for its performance index score, which was 107.5 out of a total 120. Because the performance index score was at 89.6 percent, Olentangy received a B grade in that category.
The performance index measures the achievement level of every student who was enrolled for the entire year. Last year's enrollment numbers were listed at 17,091.
Regardless of the B grade, the score is an all-time high for Olentangy, earning it the rank of 32nd-best performance index score in the state.
"We continue to move up and have moved up for the last five years, but we still want 108, because that's the mark when the A is," Lucas said. "It's no different than when we were students -- unless you had straight A's across the board, there was always something to work on."
Another area of the report card that Lucas said the district will work this year on improving is the annual measurable objectives category, which is new this year and reflects how well all students in the district are doing in reading, math and graduation preparation. With 89 percent of all students performing well, Olentangy was given a B score for annual measurement objectives.
Certain schools also will receive extra attention. Report cards issued for each building in the district resulted in overall grades of A's in all but one school. Arrowhead Elementary School received an overall C grade for failing to meet state standards.
Although Berkshire Middle School earned an overall A grade in the standards category, it's the only school in the district to receive an F grade in any subcategory. The school failed to meet value-added standards for gifted students, which resulted in an overall F grade in the value-added category.
"The professional development has already started at the administrative level and it will work its way all the way down to the classroom level," Lucas said of the dissection of the state report card that began even prior to the official scores being released.
"Our goal is to be the best at anything we do, whether it's academics, athletics or arts, because we truly believe in a well-rounded student."
Each November, the district publicly presents an annual report that outlines not just the state of the district's finances and buildings, but the results of the state report card. Lucas said even though the report cards have changed, the district plans to keep its annual report tradition this year.
To view full report cards for the district and each individual building, visit the Ohio Department of Education's website, education.ohio.gov.