Schools in the Bexley City District kept up their tradition of excellence last year, according to evaluations recently released by the Ohio Department of Education (ODE).
The ODE released its annual report cards for school districts last week. Bexley City School District finished with a designation of Excellent with Distinction, the highest possible designation, and overall finished slightly better than in 2006-2007.
Dr. Michael Johnson, superintendent of the district, said he was pleased the teachers were able to get continuous improvement out of a school district that was already performing at a high level.
The district met 29 out of the 30 state indicators, which are standards that a certain percentage of students must meet in a variety of categories, like reading, math, social studies, science and graduation rate.
The one category that the schools missed was social studies in the 8th grade achievement test. The percentage of students in the district who scored at the proficient level or higher in that category was 74.7 percent, only 0.3 percent under the state requirement of 75 percent.
Johnson said because different students would be enrolled in 8th grade this year, it wouldn’t make sense to change the entire curriculum or the way it is taught just because of the prior year’s results. Instead, he said, they would assess the incoming students and try to meet their specific needs.
"What we really need to do is more of what we’ve been doing, and that is to do diagnostics, see where kids are, then deliver curriculum so that it moves them forward," he said.
However, he said, the district always can perform better.
"Whatever level we are, in terms of the continuum of performance, I know that our teachers are going to try to figure out a way to get better from the last year," he said.
In several other categories, the percentage of students who were proficient was well over the benchmarks.
In the report card, schools are ranked in levels ranging from Academic Emergency all the way up to Excellent. If the schools exceed their expected yearly improvement two years in a row, they get moved up in the rankings.
Because Bexley was already at Excellent, technically the highest level, and the district qualified to move up, they were designated as Excellent with Distinction.
In the Performance Index, the district scored 104.5 out of 120, a slight increase over last year’s score of 103.9. The index is a measure of performance in tested subjects and grades. A score is assigned based on the percentage of students who placed in various categories ranging from "limited" to "advanced." It provides a way to measure achievement trends from year to year, according to the report card.
In the Adequate Yearly Progress measure, schools must meet federally assigned standards in various categories like reading proficiency, math proficiency, attendance rate and others. The Bexley schools met every one of these standards.
"I do think that we need to work a little harder and figure out what’s going on in a couple of areas," Johnson said, although he thought the school district was performing well overall. "If 90 percent of the students are performing well in every area except social studies, then we probably ought to figure out what we need to do for the students so they can perform better. Wherever we’re performing at the lowest levels, we need to purposely focus resources."