Reynoldsburg's Summit STEM Elementary School has been open only a year, but both Superintendent Steve Dackin and Principal Dee Martindale say good things are happening there.
"Last year, we opened as a brand-new building, with students from five different buildings, but we saw right away that good things are happening for our kids," Martindale said in a presentation to the school board at its April 16 meeting.
The school was rated "excellent with distinction" on the state report card, based on 2011-12 test scores. The performance index score on the report card was 108.
Performance index is a weighted average in which the greatest weight is given to advanced scores.
Martindale said 79 percent of students scored at accelerated and advanced levels in third-grade reading, while 62 percent of third-graders scored accelerated or advanced in math.
Sixty-seven percent of fourth-grade students scored at accelerated or advanced levels in reading and 73 percent earned accelerated or advanced scores in math.
Martindale said data from this school year, specifically from the fall reading tests, revealed that those percentages will likely be higher for this school year.
"We are also working on a plan to improve our curriculum for students with disabilities in order to keep increasing those scores," she said. "We have increased our special-education staff in some classrooms and made sure all changes in staffing and curriculum were based on student need."
She said Summit's continuous-improvement plan lists several goals, including maintaining the highest rating on the state report card, with a focus on improvements for students with disabilities.
"We also want to make sure each student is making one year's growth in one year's instruction," she said.
Dackin said he was happy to see the academic growth at Summit, which he told Martindale "is a tribute to your leadership and quality of instruction."
"As a first-year principal, you have assembled a talented group of people," he said. "This happened out of leadership. I am pleased and proud of that leadership. When you walk into Summit, you quickly see that the culture is one of student engagement. There are great things going on at Summit Elementary."
Martindale said the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) core values include encouraging students by teaching curiosity, compassion, collaboration, communication and complex thinking.
"Our students lead assemblies where they are in charge of demonstrating one of our core values," she said.
She said staff members are also working to develop and refine instructional practices and partnerships to increase student personalization, engagement and achievement.
"Our partnerships have grown -- we have had more than 15 high school mentors working with students this year, along with parent and community volunteers," she said. "We have also increased communication between our teaching teams to help match our instruction to student needs."
Martindale said she was happy with Summit Academy's first year.
"We believe that by continuing rigorous, relevant and personalized instruction, our students will meet or exceed our expectations," she said.