Westerville City School District leaders say the district will continue to work on areas that need improvement, following the Sept 13 release of the school district report cards for 2016-17 school year by the Ohio Department of Education.

In the six categories of the card, the district scored a B in graduate rate; C's in K-3 literacy and prepared for success; D's in achievement and progress and an F in gap closing.

Superintendent John Kellogg said there are parts of the report card in its current form that are helpful and informative to the district while other parts are not.

"When I look at trend lines during the last two years, we're headed in the right direction," he said. "Only during the last two years did we use the same assessments."

In examining indicators that are part of the achievement score, Kellogg said, the district didn't do very well, meeting only two of 24 indicators.

"I'm not pleased with that, but we did improve on the performance index," he said. "We did better on 15 of the tests. Our average improvement was over 4 percent. It re-enforces the trend is going in the right direction."

The state increased the expected proficiency level from 75 percent to 80 percent on the latest test scores.

"What was difficult was the time frame they gave us to get to 80 percent," Kellogg said. "Eighty percent didn't bother me as much as the timeframe to get there.

"Also we now have access to assessment data that teachers can use to adjust what they're doing in the classroom. We didn't have that before."

Kellogg said the graduation rate was a big focus and the report card shows 90.5 percent of the class of 2016 graduated within four years.

"The class of 2017 will be on next year's report card and our data projects another increase," he said. "The graduation rate is up and we're doing better on the tests. Those are two areas that make sense to use and we think are helpful."

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 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," Wollard added.

He 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.

Kellogg said Westerville isn't satisfied with some elements.

"By no means are we satisfied with our current performance regardless of changes," he said. "We're going to get better. We have things in place we will continue to work on."

When looking at how Westerville did on the report card, he said it would be good to look how the district compares to the state, Franklin County and similar districts that are apple to apple comparisons.

"When looking at that, it doesn't look as gloomy," he said.

Kellogg said similar districts to Westerville in Franklin County include Hilliard, Gahanna and Worthington.

Hilliard scored an A, two C's, two D's and an F; Gahanna received two A's, two C's and two D's; while Worthington scored two A's and four C's.

Kellogg said he would also provide a deeper look into report card results at the next board of education meeting, which is set for 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 25, at the Early Learning Center, 936 Eastwind Drive.

For a complete look at Westerville's report card as well as building reports visit education.ohio.gov/topics/data/report-card-resources.

ThisWeek staff writer Thomas Gallick contributed to this story.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

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