Westerville News & Public Opinion

Report card may be district's best ever


Like other districts across Ohio, the Westerville City School District continues to wait for its official State Report Card rating. But district administrators said they do have good academic news from the last school year.

Westerville City Schools Chief Academic Officer Karen McClellan gave a preliminary academic achievement report to the Board of Education at its meeting Monday, Sept. 10.

Official State Report Cards usually are issued in August, but a state investigation surrounding districts -- not including Westerville -- that falsified attendance records have kept the State Board of Education from releasing the reports.

The state board was scheduled to decide this week whether to move forward with issuing the report cards. Late Tuesday, Sept. 11, the board again delayed the cards' release.

But Westerville does know now that it once again met all 26 indicators on the report card, which are based on testing benchmarks, attendance and graduation rates, McClellan said.

The unofficial "performance index," a number based on how students perform against expectations on the various standardized tests, is a record high 102.9 over last year's 101.9, McClellan said, indicating that more students tested at accelerated and advanced levels on tests.

What is unknown without the official report card is whether the district met the "value-added" measure and made Adequate Yearly Progress benchmarks from the federal No Child Left Behind act, to maintained its A-plus Excellent With Distinction grade from 2011, McClellan said.

The district did see a slight drop in its graduation rate due to a change in the way the state now calculates graduation rate, McClellan said. The state reported Westerville's graduation rate for the 2011-2012 school year as 90.5 percent, a drop from 93.3 percent for the 2010-2011 school year.

Previously, the state measured graduation rates based on student statistics during a given year, said Machelle Kline, the district's director of assessment and alternative education services.

Now, Kline said, all four years of a graduating class' statistics are considered.

"If you can go back to the first time a student was a ninth-grader, that is now our cohort," she said.

For the first time, the state looked at how each district's gifted students perform on tests, McClellan said.

It's not known how Westerville will measure up to other districts, McClellan said, but she said she was thrilled to see that nearly 100 percent of the district's gifted students scored at "accelerated" or "advanced" levels on state tests.

"That's just amazing, and that is something that really drives that performance index," she said.

Members of Westerville's school board Monday commended the district's staff, students and parents for the positive academic news.

Board member Cindy Crowe said the district's high marks come from its focus on student intervention and enrichment, and professional development for staff.

"This doesn't happen overnight. The school district has been working on this, slowly gaining ground over time," Crowe said.