Wednesday, August 16th, 2006
By Janie Southard
State: six local schools perfect
  Seven of the nine local school districts scored the top rating possible on the state's 2005-06 report cards, which were released Tuesday by the Ohio Department of Education.
Six local districts tallied perfect scores
Those districts reaching a perfect 25 were Coldwater, Marion Local, St. Henry, Fort Recovery, Minster and New Bremen districts. St. Marys also scored an excellent rating with 24 indicators, only one point off a perfect score.
Celina district with 22 indicators, and Parkway district with 15 were both ranked effective.
Celina Superintendent Matt Miller said this morning he and his staff have known math scores in certain grades need improvement. "We have adopted a new math series that will be implemented at the start of this new school year," Miller said.
"I believe we will continue to improve and work on areas that need work until we get the excellent ranking," he said.
Although Parkway's actual score fell within the continuous improvement rank, the district's performance index pulled it up to an effective rating.  
According to state literature, the performance index measures the achievement of every tested student, not just those who score proficient or higher.
All achievement tests have five performance levels: advanced, accelerated, proficient, basic and limited. Each level is assigned a point value - advanced is high with 1.2 points and limited carries 0.3 points.  
At Tuesday night's board of education meeting, Parkway Superintendent Doug Karst said he was disappointed the math and science scores were slightly below state average.
"We are designated an effective school but we continue to be at risk," he said.
The district will hold a two-day in-service before school begins next week for teachers to work on solutions to the problem areas.
In Auglaize County, the St. Marys district is a success story as it makes its first appearance in the excellent category and also meeting AYP standards. Superintendent Ken Baker credits the district's team effort. "It's our entire staff, not only teachers but bus drivers, secretaries, custodians. Everybody here (contributes to) a successful district."
Baker continued: "All our local districts are hardworking when it comes to school improvement. It's not a straight line. Some years show marked improvement and some years it's slower. Our goal is to show continuous improvement over a five-year period."
Over the past four years, local superintendents have pointed out that comparing local districts to each other is an apples and oranges proposition. The state has established comparison groups "tailored" to each district and has developed a set of about 20 "peer" districts.
Some tailoring factors include district size, poverty level, income level, rural or urban, etc.
Over the past six years, Ohio students' test averages have increased from 73.7 to 92.9. This year more than 96 percent of Ohio school districts improved their performance index scores over last year's scores (2004-05 school year).
Districts are also measured on Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), a federal mandate that holds schools responsible for subgroups' performance in addition to all other students' performance. (ODE's examples of subgroup members are students with disabilities, ethnic and racial minorities, and economically disadvantaged.) AYP is linked to the federal program No Child Left Behind.  
All local districts met AYP except for New Bremen, Celina and Parkway.

Report card facts:
The state ratings in descending order are excellent, effective, continuous improvement, academic watch and academic emergency.
Indicators are based on students' achievement test scores.
Excellent: meets 24 or 25 indicators or scores 100 to 120 on the Performance Index (PI).
Effective: meets 19 to 23 indicators or scores 90 to 99.9 on the PI.
Continuous Improvement: meets up to 18 indicators and scores up to 89.9 on the PI and met AYP, or meets 13 to 18 indicators or scores 80 to 89.9 PI and missed AYP.
Academic Watch: meets 9 to 12 indicators or scores 70 to 79.9 on the PI and missed AYP.
Academic Emergency: meets 0 to 8 in-icators and scores less than 69.9 PI and missed AYP.
Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) is a federal mandate that holds schools accountable for reading and math in subgroups, i.e. ethnic and racial minorities, economically disadvantaged or students with disabilities.
Performance Index rewards the achievement of every tested student, not just those who score proficient or higher. Districts earn points based on how well each student does in tested subjects in grades 3 to 8 and on the Ohio Graduation Test.
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