The South-Western City School District earned an overall C grade for meeting 17 of 24 standards on the new State Report Card issued Thursday, Aug. 22.
"It's a mixed bag for us," said Patrick Callaghan, the district's assistant superintendent for curriculum, in a review of the report card for the Board of Education Monday, Aug. 26.
"It gives us many areas to celebrate, but also gives the district more lenses to look at where we can improve and get better," he said.
Under the new letter grade system, the district earned more Cs than As and an F in the Annual Measurable Objectives category.
The report card is for the 2012-13 school year and evaluates districts in nine areas.
The letter grades replace rating categories such as "excellent" and "effective" under the old system.
The district earned a C for its Performance Index score of 93.5, which measures the achievement of all students enrolled for a school year.
While the Performance Index score fell 1.6 points, "over the last three or four years, it's been pretty consistent," Callaghan said.
South-Western earned an overall grade of A for Value-Added, which measures how much academic progress students make in a school year.
The A grade indicates the district "adding significantly more than a full year's growth to our students," Callaghan said.
The district also earned an A in Value-Added categories for students with disabilities and students who fall within the lowest performing 20 percent of all students statewide.
The C grade in Value-Added for gifted students still indicates the district provided a year's worth of growth for those students, Callaghan said.
The district earned C grades for both four-year and five-year graduation rates.
The F in meeting Annual Measurable Objectives measures the academic performance of 10 student subgroups. The AMOs review the student subgroups in math, reading and graduation rate and the overall grade is assigned for efforts to close achievement gaps between all groups.
The AMOs are replacing Average Yearly Progress as the gap-closing component of the new report card.
"It's a different way to look at it," Superintendent Bill Wise said. "We intend to look at the data to see how we can improve."
Over the years, every change made in the State Report Card has resulted in an overall reduction of scores in the state, Wise said.
South-Western must serve a large group of students with diverse backgrounds and needs, he said.
If the old report card system was still in place, the district would have earned an Excellent rating for the fourth consecutive year, he said.
Callaghan said the district is undertaking a number of actions to help improve its record, including:
* Using and implementing the Ohio Improvement Process in all buildings. The OIP is a unified state system of support focused on improving the academic achievement of all students.
* A focus by the curriculum department on three challenging student subgroups, to enact high-yield strategies with which to support buildings.
* Adding literacy instructional support in middle schools to strengthen reading and writing across the curriculum.
* Continuing to build coherence across grade levels, content areas and between student services.
* Adding new strategies to boost third-grade achievement.
The district fell below the 75 percent passage rate standard both in third-grade reading and third-grade math.