Worthington News

State: District is 'excellent,' but not 'with distinction'

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The Worthington City School District has earned an "excellent" rating on the 2010-11 state report card.

The district fell short of the top "excellent with distinction" rating because it missed the mark on something the state calls "value added."

"Value added" measures whether students in grade 4-8 have made a year's worth of academic progress for a year's worth of instruction. In Worthington, they made the expected progress but did not make more than a year's worth of progress.

"As I am not clear in how the value-added measure is calculated, and I have not yet seen the specifics on how Worthington was rated, I cannot answer why the designation has eluded us," said Jennifer Wene, Worthington's director of academic achievement and professional development.

On all other parts of the report card, Worthington had very high marks. It met all 26 state standards, which include 24 exams, plus graduation and attendance rates; earned a performance-index score of 103.1, which was higher than three Franklin County districts that have earned the "with distinction" rating; and made "adequate yearly progress" in all subgroups of students.

In fact, Worthington did better on the report card this year than in the previous year. Ironically, scores were considerably higher in 2010-11 than two years earlier, when the district was rated "excellent with distinction."

That year, the performance index was 102.6, and 29 of 30 standards were met.

Last year, the performance index was 102.1, adequate yearly progress was met, and "value added" was met but not exceeded, as it was this year.

Individual buildings improved their ratings in 2010-11, with 13 being rated excellent or excellent with distinction, compared with 11 buildings earning those ratings for the prior school year.

Buildings considered excellent with distinction this year were Evening Street Elementary School and Kilbourne, McCord and Phoenix middle schools.

Schools designated as excellent were Bluffsview, Granby, Liberty, Wilson Hill, Worthington Estates, Worthington Hills, Worthington Park and both high schools.

The buildings that fell short of the excellent standards were Worthingway Middle School and Brookside, Colonial Hills and Slate Hill elementary schools. District officials did not announce the ratings of those schools, but they will be noted when results are posted on the Worthington City Schools website this week.

"I believe our results this year show strong and steady improvement in academic achievement and growth, as measured by the Ohio standards," Wene said. "Worthington students, parents and teachers can feel confident and proud."

Results of curricular and instructional initiatives put into place in classrooms over the past five years are clear, she said.

A focus on reading resulted in 92.1 percent of students being rated proficient or above in reading.

The district is ramping up its focus on math, Wene said.

The building renewal program also will continue to be developed. Each building in the district has designed an individual plan though which learning is designed to be more relevant, rigorous and engaging for students.

"In Worthington, we feel that both high achievement on the state tests and students being excited about their learning are equally important," Wene said.

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