The Westerville City School District is "Excellent With Distinction" for the third year running, according to preliminary results from the Ohio Department of Education.

The Westerville City School District is "Excellent With Distinction" for the third year running, according to preliminary results from the Ohio Department of Education.

In a third round of releasing report card data, the department finally assigned grades to Ohio's school districts.

The state still labeled the result preliminary, however, as an investigation continues on school districts that allegedly doctored attendance data. Westerville is not part of that investigation.

"They keep dangling that carrot out there in front of us, and we keep getting a little closer," said Westerville Chief Academic Officer Karen McClellan. "We take a lot of pride in having the state's highest ranking again, three years running. We couldn't be more pleased."

The district also has received ratings for individual schools. Four schools -- Emerson Magnet School, Genoa Middle School, Huber Ridge Elementary School and Mark Twain Elementary School -- earned the top "Excellent with Distinction" ranking.

Westerville North, Westerville South and Westerville Central all earned Excellent ratings once again, as did Blendon, Walnut Ridge and Heritage middle schools, and Alcott, Annehurst, Cherrington, Fouse, Hanby, Hawthorne, McVay, Robert Frost and Whittier elementary schools.

Pointview and Wilder elementary schools were rated "Effective."

The district still is working with the state to get ratings for Longfellow and Central College magnet schools, McClellan said. Those scores were delayed because of the schools' closure at the end of last year.

The district is pleased with the results it's received this year, said Superintendent Dan Good.

"Having the state department validate what our own data analysis has shown -- an excellence with distinction rating -- is an official testament to the efforts of our students, the district's faculty and staff, our school parents and a community that expects and supports excellence," Good said. "We're pleased that Westerville schools, again, have this designation and are performing at such high levels."

McClellan said the data, which has continued to trend upward over the last several years, are a reflection of the district's working to constantly improve students scores and achievement.

"The district's mindset of continuous improvement is bearing fruit," McClellan said. "We continue to realize, yes, Excellent with Distinction, but how do we continue to move forward."

The delay in data from the state has not affected the district's ability to analyze its data and home in on areas for improvement, McClellan said.

"We have district staff who's responsible to execute our own data analysis, and they've been spot on," McClellan said. "It's nice to have that official word from the body that sanctions this and makes it official, but our district staff has done a phenomenal job in doing our own data."

This year, the district will continue to focus on closing achievement gaps for different student subgroups, such as students with disabilities and students who speak English as a second language, McClellan said.

"I think, like most districts, we're looking at gap closure," McClellan said. "We really take our data and try to look at it through different lenses."