With the Grandview Heights City School District's grades ranging from A to D on the 2016-17 Ohio State Report Card, leaders say they're happy with the overall results but, as always, are looking for ways to improve.

Report cards for each state school district were released Sept. 14 by the Ohio Department of Education.

The district's worst grade was a D in the Progress category; its best mark was an A in graduation rates.

"Overall, we're pleased with our performance on the state report card," Superintendent Andy Culp said. "I think overall we performed well. As we do every year, we celebrate our successes and will take time to reflect on areas where we can see growth and improvement and take a balanced approach to analyzing the data on the report card."

Grandview again earned the highest Performance Index score in Franklin County, with 103.8 out of a possible 120 -- an improvement over last year's 101.7 score.

"Our Performance Index score is up over last year, and to have the top score in the county is cause for celebration," Culp said. "This is one of the more important metrics on the state report card because it measures achievement of every single student in the district."

The district also earned a B for indicators by meeting the passage rate on 20 of the 24 state tests.

"The state has raised the bar on the indicators. They now require 80 percent of your students to pass each test in order to meet the standard," Culp said. "There's a significant increase of rigor and accountability on this year's report card."

Grandview did not meet the benchmark on the fifth-grade math test (70 percent passage rate), sixth-grade English language arts (72 percent) and sixth-grade math (79.8 percent) indicators, nor did the district meet all of the components of the indicator that measures success with gifted students.

Seventy-eight percent of the districts across the state met the benchmark on 10 or fewer of the 24 state tests, Culp said.

"Dublin, a great school district, met 12 indicators, Hilliard met only three indicators and Worthington met eight indicators," Chief Academic Officer Jamie Lusher said. "These are all well-regarded school districts that have a strong curriculum, strong leadership, strong teachers and strong communities that support their schools. It shows just how much tougher the standards for the state report card have become."

Grandview ranked 26th out of 608 school districts on the state report card, she said. It also ranked 26th in the number of indicators met.

The district earned a C grade in the Gap Closing component, which shows how well schools are meeting the educational needs of their most-vulnerable students. The measure compares how well students in several subgroups, including those in poverty, ethnic minorities and students with disabilities, fared compared with other students.

The report card gives Grandview a D grade in progress. The component measures the progress made by all students and subgroups of gifted students, students in the lowest 20 percent of academic performance and students with disabilities.

A district that met an expected year of growth would earn a C grade.

Grandview also earned a C grade in K-3 Literacy, which measures how well a district moved K-2 students who were not on track to read at grade level at the beginning of the 2015-16 school year to being on track at the start of the next year. In Grandview, five of 15 students achieved the goal, while 10 students remained off track.

Grandview earned a B grade in Prepared for Success, a component measuring whether students are prepared for future opportunities.

The district again earned an A grade for its graduation rate, with 95.8 percent of students graduating in four years and 96.4 percent in five years.

In areas where the district's grades are lower than desired, "we will look at the results through a lens of curriculum, instruction, leadership and structure to determine what the root causes are and why they happened," Culp said.

On last year's state report card, the district met state-test benchmarks for fourth-grade math and English language arts, but the fourth-grade team was not satisfied with the results.

"Our fourth-grade teachers responded to that by looking closely at the data and changing instruction and developing intervention strategies for our students," Lusher said. "We saw improvements in those areas on this year's report card.

"We will be looking at that model for addressing our deficient areas on this year's report card," she said.

Chris Woolard, senior executive director at the Ohio Department of Education, said the ODE has seen positive signs in this year's report cards.

"One of the things that we're seeing across the board is that achievement levels are up," Woolard said.

He said the proper context is needed to understand the grades.

"We encourage parents and community members to talk to teachers and talk to principals," he said.

Woolard said the report cards should not be the lone piece of evidence residents use to judge a district.

"We know there's a lot more to the story," he said.

He said the report cards are "designed to be aspirational."

"The whole point of the system is it's designed to be a system of continuous improvement," he said.

Woolard said students could be achieving a lot in districts that have D's or F's on their report cards.

"It does not mean that your school district is failing," he said.

To view state report cards, visit reportcard.education.ohio.gov.

ThisWeek staff writer Thomas Gallick contributed to this story.

afroman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekAfroman