Last updated: August 29. 2014 9:26PM - 205 Views
By Rick Hanes

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During the month of September the Ohio Department of Education will be releasing local district report cards for the 2013-2014 school year. While great public school districts like Piqua City Schools offer so much more than a high quality classroom education for students through a variety of opportunities and experiences, the local district report card communicates the academic performance, based primarily on state test results of our specific school buildings and our district as a whole. Similar to last year the local district report card will provide letter grades on six academic measures including: Achievement (measures academic achievement compared to national standards of success), Progress (measures the average annual improvement for each student), Gap Closing (measures how well a school or district is doing in narrowing gaps in reading, math and graduation rate among students according to socioeconomic, racial, ethnic or disability status), Graduation Rate (measures the percentage of students who entered the 9th grade and graduated in four and five years), K-3 Literacy (measures the improvement in reading for students in kindergarten through grade three), and Prepared for Success (measures whether students who graduate are prepared for college or a career).

Unlike previous years when districts received an overall rating in which Piqua City School District received an “Excellent” rating, no overall grade will be determined this year. The new measures, percentages, and expectations continue to be developed and implemented by the Ohio Department of Education. An overall grade will be determined starting with data from this current school year and released in the fall of 2015.

Our new local district report card, to be released in the near future, will be developed under new proficient measures, expectations, and accountability. Percentages to meet indicators have been raised from 75 percent to 80 percent. Last year under the 75 percent standard, Piqua City School District met 20 out of 24 indicators earning a “C” letter grade.

If the report was to be developed following the former measures our results would have remained the same for our soon to be released report with an achievement of 20 out of 24 indicators. Currently, based on our preliminary information from the Ohio Department of Education, under the new increased measures of 80 percent, our district results are projected to achieve 14 out of the 24 indicators for achievement earning a “D” letter grade. Our preliminary graduation rates based on a 4-year comparison rate was at 88.5 percent earning a “C” letter grade. Our preliminary graduation rates based on a 5-year comparison rate was at 90.6 percent earning a “B” letter grade. Data has not been completely processed by the Ohio Department of Education to determine our preliminary grades in the other report areas of Gap Closing, Progress, K-3 Literacy, and Prepared for Success.

We are not on hold at Piqua City Schools waiting for the state. Rather we have entered the 2014-2015 school year with a focus once again on student achievement. A new K-6 math program is being implemented, which raises the expectations of math instruction and achievement to a new performance level. Our goal is to ensure that all of our students will have the math foundation skills to compete and succeed in any life endeavor.

We have implemented an extended learning program for literacy targeted at our primary students to strengthen emerging skills. Through a very competitive process we have also been able to secure over one million dollars through a “Straight A” Grant from the State to tackle our early literacy problem. These funds will provide literacy resources to extend into the homes of our students to further support our instruction at school. Our goal is to ensure that all of our students will read at their grade level or higher.

During the past decade Piqua City Schools has stepped up successfully to the challenge every time the State increased measures and expectations. Once again we are strategically stepping up to the new challenges with our commitment to excellence! As the political landscape and power at the state level continues to change the measures, expectations, and accountability for public schools in Ohio, we will strive to achieve the highest marks. But more importantly, we will continue to strengthen our focus on providing great opportunities and experiences for our students on a daily basis in our classrooms. We Are Piqua!

Rick Hanes is the superintendent of the Piqua City School District. Rick continues to ensure that the Piqua City Schools show residents the “Great Schools, Great Value” that they are each day. You can follow him directly on Twitter @raheducator.

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