State report cards: Alder shines again
Once again, the Jonathan Alder Local School District topped all other Madison County schools in state performance report cards released on Wednesday.
District-wide scores put Alder in the “excellent with distinction” category with 26 out of 26 indicators met — the highest level of achievement.
London City, Jefferson and Madison-Plains local schools each scored “effective” ratings — the third highest possible.
Jefferson met 21 of the 26 indicators. Madison-Plains met 19 and London met 16.
Alder success: student focus
Gary Chapman, Alder’s newly hired superintendent, was both humbled and overjoyed by the news.
“It’s incredible and overwhelming,” Chapman said. “I am so impressed and in awe as to what I’ve walked in to.”
Each building in the district scored “excellent” with the exception of Canaan Middle School which scored an even higher “excellent with distinction.”
Chapman said that achievement was especially gratifying since middle schools are typically “challenging areas.”
He credits a focus on “each and every student” as the reason for the district’s success. In addition, administrators determine “measures of success” by counting not only academics, but involvement in extra-curricular activities.
“We count extra-curricular activities at the junior high and high school,” Chapman said.
He said more than 80 percent of those students are involved in activities outside the classroom that have a positive effect on their grades.
“There’s a direct correlation between academic achievement and extra-curriculars,” he said.
This marks the fifth consecutive year the Alder district scored either “excellent” or “excellent with distinction,” according to the school Web site.
London Elementary: judged ‘effective’
For the first time ever, London Elementary School received an “effective” rating on the state report card. That news was especially gratifying to Superintendent Steve Allen.
“The staff worked very, very hard,” he said.
News that London achieved “effective” district-wide designation for the second year in a row also pleased Allen.
“The state raised the bar this year and we still made the grade,” he said.
He credited an effort to obtain baseline data on each student’s performance, as well as quarterly progress assessments, as the reason for district improvement.
London Middle School scored a lower “continuous improvement” rating, largely based on fifth-grade testing — a problem that plagued middle schools across the state, Allen said.
London High School dropped from an “excellent” rating on the 2010 report card to “effective” as a result of a 1.5 percent decline in science test scores.
“That comes down to three kids,” Allen said.
Overall, Allen believes London schools are headed in the right direction.
“We’re never satisfied with what we have,” Allen said. “We’re going to consistently improve.”
Mullett ‘pleased’ with Jefferson results
Jefferson Local Schools were rated effective for the 2010-2011 school year and the district met 21 of 26 state indicators, which are based on state assessments, student attendance and graduation rates.
Jefferson Local has also had steady improvement in the Performance Index, which reflects the achievement of every student enrolled for the entire academic year and demonstrates a district’s achievement trends. Jefferson Local’s Performance Index has increased from 92.7 in 2008-09, 94.2 in 2009-10 and 96.5 in 2010-11.
“We are very pleased,” Superintendent William Mullett said. “We improved two state indicators from 19 to 21. We also made improvements at Norwood Elementary with one indicator and West Jefferson Middle School with one indicator. West Jefferson High School has been rated excellent in all 12 indicators every year of the state ratings. Our Performance Index has continued to improve and we also met Value Added, which is a key indicator for student growth.”
Mullett said that the use of map testing in the district has helped to better see where their students are in their educational growth. While Mullett believes there is still room for improvement, the district has seen great results from the hard work and commitment of the teachers and staff.
“Our goal is to meet every state indicator,” Mullett said. “Of the state indicators we missed, we were very close to meeting those. We were just a little bit away. We are very proud of our performance. Over the last few years we have initiated programs to help improve our student’s performance and we are pleased and proud of our staff and all of their hard work.”
Madison-Plains reaches 19 of 26 indicators
Once again Madison-Plains Local Schools has achieved an effective rating on the state report card.
Figures released Wednesday, Aug. 24 show the MPLS met 19 of 26 indicators.
Most of those indicators met were achieved by the students in grades 10 and 11. In fact, in the five subjects tested, reading, mathematics, writing, science and social Studies in both 10th and 11th grades M-P was perfect. In those 10 categories, M-P students exceeded, by a comfortable margin, the 75-percent state requirement.
Let’s not leave out the little ones: The third-grade and fourth-grade indicators in reading and mathematics were met.
In grades five through eight, it appears there is work to be done. Fifth grade and seventh grade reading and mathematics indicators and were not met. In sixth grade achievement the reading indicator was met, the mathematics indicator came up a little short. For the latter the state requirement is 75 percent, M-P added up to 73.6 percent.
What concerns M-P educators is the slip from met to unmet in four four categories. The following were met last year, but were not met this year:
• 5th grade grade reading
• 5th grade mathematics
• 7th grade reading
• 7th grade mathematics
• 8th grade mathematics
Eighth grade science, not met this year, was also not met last year. The problem there, according to numbers presented, this year’s score slipped by nearly 10 percent.
Curriculum director Gail Reidenbach said, across the state 5th grade math “has been struggling.”
To relieve that struggle, which Reidenbach described as predictable based on data collected, there will be some changes made.
“We’re putting some new things in place,” Reidenbach said. Among them are teachers put at different levels, the hiring of teacher coaches, instituting vertical alignment teams (K-12).
“We’re putting a lot of things in place so teachers have the resources and support they need,” Reidenbach said.
The coaches are former classroom teachers, specially trained at The Ohio State University, who will help teachers to learn the content and instructional strategies.
“Now you have someone willing and able to keep you on the right track,” she said.
The staff met in vertical alignment groups before school started to learn information about the students, to know their strengths and weaknesses and are ready to continue working with them through the year.
Reidenbach said in grades seven and eight they will introduce STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). She said it provides an integrated approach to become better at solving problems.