The Reynoldsburg school district improved from "effective" to "excellent" on the 2010-11 school year report card issued by the Ohio Department of Education.

The Reynoldsburg school district improved from "effective" to "excellent" on the 2010-11 school year report card issued by the Ohio Department of Education.

The ODE said the district met 26 of 26 state achievement indicators, received a 100.3 performance index score and met value-added measures but did not meet adequate yearly progress.

The overall designation is produced by a complex system that calculates four things: achievement indicators, which measure whether 75 percent of students score proficient or better on standardized tests; the performance index, which reflects the achievement of every student enrolled for the full academic year; adequate yearly progress (AYP), a federally required measure of set goals for reading and math proficiency, attendance and graduation rates; and value-added, which calculates whether students in grades four through eight achieve a year's worth of academic growth in a year's time in reading and math.

If a district meets 25 or 26 achievement indicators or has a performance index score of 100 to 120 points, it earns a designation of "excellent," regardless of whether it meets AYP.

Superintendent Steve Dackin said he was very pleased to see the district receive an excellent rating, which included a couple of "firsts."

"The first thing is, we hit 26 out of 26 indicators this time and we have never done that in the history of the report card," Dackin said. "The second 'first' is, we scored 100.3 on the performance index, and that measures achievement relative to accelerated advanced scores."

In other words, Dackin said, the performance index rating means the district has more students as a percentage of the entire student population scoring at advanced and accelerated levels.

"So we have a lot more kids advancing and learning at higher levels, and that is a first for us. We've never had a 100 ever on the performance index," Dackin said.

He said the improved results on the state report card can be attributed to a couple of factors.

"The first factor being we had a lot of hardworking kids and families who are supporting their kids and their learning," Dackin said. "I think as important, if not more important than that, is that we have a whole lot of very talented principals, teachers, and support staff who are professionally committed to the best interest of the kids and challenging kids at the highest level.

"We wouldn't get the PI index that we have if we didn't have teachers challenging kids to be the best they can be. To attain the kind of levels they've attained, it's a tribute to our staff," he said.

As for other challenges to be worked on, based on the ODE report card, Dackin said he is not pleased with the scores for students with disabilities, which account for 14 percent of the district's enrollment of 5,811.

"They're still not achieving and growing at the rates that we need them to grow, and that's a challenge for us to continue to reach out and ensure that every child in this district achieves and grows like they have the right to do," he said.

In addition, according to the ODE report card, schools identified for improvement (SI) were Herbert Mills and Rosehill elementary schools and Reynoldsburg High School, each of which has been listed in SI status for two years.

According to the Ohio Department of Education, a school will enter into SI status after missing AYP for two consecutive years, and it can exit SI only after meeting AYP for two consecutive years.

Each school in SI must create an improvement plan. If a school retains SI status for three or more years, it requires more extensive corrective actions and eventually, restructuring.

Jana Alig, the district's director of elementary education, said continuous improvement plans are made by all Reynoldsburg schools each year. She said that will continue, but a focus will be on students with disabilities.

"We're going to find out where the gaps are in between the children with disabilities' education and our general education population and we're going to narrow those gaps," Alig said.

One of the strategies to achieve this, she said, will be through a research-based curriculum survey, a data tool that will allow the district to conduct a "gap analysis" between the curriculum that is taught and what the state standards say should be taught.

"It really looks at the gaps between all of that with our general education and our special education and it will give us some powerful data for us to look at, if there's any gaps within our curriculum (in grades) four through eight," Alig said.

"We will also continue to be very focused with our response to intervention and really progress-monitor our students.

"That means, every two weeks, if our students aren't on benchmark, we're going to monitor where they are and see if the intervention and supports are working and if not, we're going to change them," she said.

Overall, Dackin said he is pleased with the recent report card.

"I'm very, very pleased with where we are now, but we can get better we're pleased that we made improvement from last year to this year, but we're never happy until we get the best rating," he said.

dowen@thisweeknews.com

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