The Bexley City School District received an overall A on the latest report card issued by the Ohio Department of Education Sept. 13.

The report cards are used to rate districts throughout the state on performance during the 2017-18 school year.

For the first time, districts and schools were awarded overall letter grades.

According to the ODE website, the overall grade is calculated by using results in the six components: achievement, which includes performance on tests in various subjects; progress, the growth all students are making; gap-closing, how students in various subgroups are performing; improving at-risk K-3 readers (previously known as K-3 literacy improvement); graduation rate and prepared for success, how well students are prepared for future opportunities.

Bexley received an A for graduation rate and gap-closing. It received a B in achievement, progress, improving at-risk readers, and prepared for success.

For the report card of the 2016-17 school year, Bexley received an A for graduation rate and prepared for success, and a B in the K-3 literacy category.

The district saw improvements in the progress category, with a B compared to a D for the 2015-16 school year, and a C in the gap-closing category, up from a D the previous year.

"We're happy with the A, but it's just one thing we look at to determine if we're successful," said John Barno, Bexley school board president. "We have a lot of room to move in a lot of different areas."

In the coming weeks, Barno said he expects he and board vice president Marlee Snowdon and members Mike Denison, Melissa Lacroix and Michelle Mineo will meet with Superintendent Kimberly Pietsch Miller and administrative staff to thoroughly evaluate the report card.

He said they will take the school report card into account, along with other factors outlined in the district's recently adopted strategic plan, such as students' social and emotional well-being.

The district is focused on "an overall, well-rounded educational experience instead of just state testing and state report cards," Barno said.

In an email, Miller also said the district takes a holistic approach to evaluating academic success.

"We always review all data that we receive in order to reflect and consider growth and continued areas for improvement," Miller said.

"However, while we consider all data, including that on the state report card, we do not make decisions based upon one factor, data point, or report," she said.

"Also, in addition to quantitative data such as that on the report card, we also actively solicit input from our students, staff, parents and community regarding the additional experiences and offerings that define an exceptional education, " she said.

Miller said its strategic plan exemplifies how the district gathers input.

"While academic excellence is always an expectation, we know that athletics, the arts, social and emotional learning, service opportunities and relationships are critical to an education that will engage, equip and empower each student," she said.

In a statement, Paolo DeMaria, state superintendent of public instruction, also said the school report cards are just one measure of a district's success.

"The overall grades provide a quick snapshot of district and school performance," he said in a news release.

"But they don't tell the whole story. It's crucial that we dig into the data to ensure we tend to the needs of each child in Ohio," he said.

Bexley's individual school ratings on the school report card are as follows:

* Bexley High School -- overall grade: A; achievement: B; progress: B; gap-closing: A; graduation rate: A.

* Bexley Middle School -- overall grade: B; achievement: B; progress: D; gap-closing: A; graduation rate (not rated).

* Cassingham Elementary School -- overall grade: B; achievement: B; progress: D; gap-closing: A; graduation rate (not rated).

* Maryland Elemntary School -- overall grade: B; achievement: C; progress: B; gap-closing: A; graduation rate (not rated).

* Montrose Elemntary School -- overall grade: B; achievement: B; progress: D; gap-closing: A; graduation rate (not rated).

Grades and other data for all Ohio schools and districts, including community and other schools, can be found at Reportcard.education.ohio.gov.

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