The Bexley City School District received an overall B on the latest report card issued by the Ohio Department of Education on Sept. 12, dropping from an A last year.

The state report cards are used to rate districts throughout the state on performance during the school year. This is the second year for the overall letter grade, according to the ODE’s “Guide to the 2019 Ohio School Report Cards” at education.ohio.gov.

Bexley’s grades this year for the other six components of the report card include: achievement, B; progress, A; gap closing, A; graduation rate, A; improving at-risk K-3 readers, C; and prepared for success, B.

Last year’s component grades were B in achievement, B in progress, A in gap closing, A in graduation rate, B in improving at-risk K-3 readers and B in prepared for success.

Although Bexley’s overall grade dropped from an A for the 2017-18 school year to a B for the 2018-19 school year, district officials say the Bexley Blueprint, the strategic plan the district completed in 2018, will allow the district to meet academic goals.

“Bexley City Schools have developed the Bexley Blueprint, which guides the district's work to achieve our mission and vision,” district spokesman Tyler Trill said. “Bexley City Schools' mission is to provide educational experiences that engage, equip and empower each of our students. Our staff members are always looking to grow and improve as educators. We will continue to build on our tradition of excellence and prepare our students for today and the future.”

Bexley school board president John Barno said the district takes ODE’s report card into account but uses it as just one metric to assess progress.

“It’s just part one of the data points that we use and the information underlying it,” he said.

Barno also said the district’s strategic plan provides a comprehensive guide for where schools are doing well and where improvement is needed.

“Whatever letter grade we get from ODE, we’re not going to change that,” Barno said, referring to the strategic plan. “We’re pretty confident with the path we’re on.”

Barno said he was encouraged that the district scored well in gap closing. ODE’s website describes gap closing as a measurement of how schools meet performance expectations for vulnerable populations of students in English language arts, math and graduation.

“We did get an A in gap closing, which is something that’s been a focus” throughout the district, Barno said.

Barno said he finds some of ODE’s assessments confusing. For example, although the district received a C in improving at-risk K-3 readers, “we had 100% passage of third-graders for the Third-Grade Reading Guarantee,” he said.

The Third-Grade Reading Guarantee, according to the ODE’s website, is a program that identifies students in kindergarten through third grade who are behind in reading, and it assesses the support that school districts provide those students to ensure reading success by the end of third grade.

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2019 state report cards: central Ohio school districts