Reynoldsburg News

BELL, Encore academies

State report card results spur improvement plans

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Principals from Reynoldsburg's Encore Academy and BELL Academy said their staff members are working on school improvement plans partly based on the recently released state report card results.

Principal Katy Myers said Encore Academy, which focuses on the arts, communication and design, received an A for meeting state indicators, which include meeting all math, reading and science benchmark scores.

The school's performance index score was 101.6, a B grade on the report card.

"We are encouraged by the positive trends we are seeing and the fact we met all the indicators, but we have set a goal to raise the performance index score to 110," she said.

The performance index score measures the test results of every student, regardless of whether they score at a limited, basic, proficient, advanced or accelerated levels. The higher the achievement level, the more points are awarded to the school's index.

The academy's score for gap-closing, however, was a C on the state report card. Gap-closing measures the performance of student subgroups, such as ethnic groups, students with disabilities and economically disadvantaged students.

Myers said the Encore Academy fell short of the benchmark for math for black students.

"We are looking at gap closure and focusing on our African-American and students with disabilities groups," she said. "We are using flex time in the morning to target those students for extra help."

She said the school also added a part-time social worker to help target attendance.

Staff member Sarah Lapinski said she will work with teachers and students in determining college and career readiness, which is expected to become a grade on the state report card in the future.

"We will be really focusing on helping students choose more-rigorous courses to work toward a career," Lapinski said. "We want to help students develop a curiosity about different careers and will be taking students on college visits as well as inviting colleges to visit us."

BELL Academy, which focuses on business, education, leadership and law, received a performance index score of B on the state report card, with a score of 100.7.

"Even though we went from a 96 performance index score last year to a 100.7 score this year, this is not the standard we want," Principal Erica Dodson said, "so we are setting our goal for PI to 110 for next year."

BELL's score for achievement on state indicators, however, was a D, based on achieving 50 percent of the state indicators for the high school grade levels.

Dodson said one of the areas in which BELL students fell short in was science on the 10th-grade Ohio Graduation Test.

She said the school has incorporated a program called "Excellence at 8" so students can come in early for intervention in science, English or math.

In gap-closing, the school earned a B grade.

Dodson said two groups -- black and economically disadvantaged students -- did not meet the benchmark scores for math on the report card.

"Those groups of students are also being targeted in our intervention periods," she said.

She said BELL Academy also will work on college readiness and dual enrollment.

"We will have all students taking practice ACT tests this year and we will be redesigning our college- and career-readiness courses so that juniors will be practicing writing college essays and filling out college applications," she said.

Superintendent Steve Dackin said both academies have made strategic staff changes that resulted in improvements on OGT scores.

"We saw some improvement but we hope to do much better," he said.

He said educators predict that by the year 2020, two-thirds of jobs nationwide will require a post-secondary education.

"This is a race for talents and jobs and we are not there yet," he said. "We are falling short with regards to college readiness and other career and job readiness. The bar is rising fast for our kids and we are improving, but we are not there yet."

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