Worthington News

State report card

In terms of progress, Worthington fares among best in state

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JOSHUA A. BICKEL/THISWEEKNEWS
Worthington City Schools Superintendent Thomas Tucker sits with Jennifer Wene, director of instruction, as they discuss results of the district's recent state report card Aug. 26 at the Worthington Education Center.
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Worthington is the only school district in central Ohio to receive all A's in the progress section of the state report card, an achievement earned by only eight districts in Ohio.

The report cards, which were released last week, assigned letter grades to school districts for the first time. Worthington received five A's, three B's and a D and met all of the state's 24 performance standards.

"I couldn't be more pleased," said Jennifer Wene, Worthington's director of academic achievement and professional development.

Although the B grades in graduation rates and the D in a category that measures the achievements of students in special groups are concerning, the A's in all categories that measure progress of students in grades 4-8 over a single year reflect well on the district's formative instructional program, Superintendent Thomas Tucker said.

The progress, or value-added, categories measure how much each student grows academically in a school year. Worthington received A's in all four categories -- overall, gifted students, lowest 20 percent in achievement and students with disabilities.

"We're stretching at the top; we're stretching at the bottom; we're stretching in the middle," Wene told the Worthington Board of Education on Aug. 26.

The formative instructional program keeps students on track by testing them in the classroom at least three times a year. Based on the results, students are assigned to small groups to work on the skills and information they need to master.

Worthington's D was in gap closing, a measurement referred to on the report card as annual measurable objectives. It measures students in certain groups against state goals for those groups.

Worthington's grade was a 65.3 percent, with economically disadvantaged, African-American, Hispanic, limited English and students with disabilities not meeting the state goal in reading or math.

Though the district needs to address those areas, the category penalizes diverse school districts because districts with fewer than 30 students in any of the groups are not graded for that group.

"It is a convoluted and unfair grading scale," Tucker said.

Grades based on graduation rates in Worthington were both B's. One measured the number of students who graduated within four years of entering ninth grade (92 percent), the other the number who graduated within five years (93.9 percent).

Some students with disabilities stay in school until they are 22, and some never graduate. The district will continue to support those students, Tucker said.

Others enter high school with limited proficiency in English, and others have rough starts for other reasons, he said.

Relatively new programs help those students with online classes and other options designed to help them recover lost credits so they do not become discouraged, he said.

The district will continue to find ways to make sure students don't drop out, he said.

"It comes down to the relationships we have with our kids," he said.

He said he was pleased with and not surprised by the district's showing on the report card, but he likes to remind people that the report card is just one measure of how the district is doing in preparing its students for higher education and careers.

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