By Linda Dillman
The grades are in for the state 2017-18 State Report Card and Canal Winchester Schools received an overall grade of “D.”
While the district consistently earned an “A” component grade for its graduation rate for at least the last three years—including the most recent reporting period—it also received an “F” in progress for the same time period.
“Right now, we’re all disappointed in the grade,” said Canal Winchester Schools Superintendent James Sotlar. “(But) it’s not a true reflection of what’s going on. Never has, never will be. If you look deep into the details, our kids are making progress.”
According to the Ohio Department of Education, the progress component looks at the growth that all students make based on their past performance.
In 2017-18, Canal Winchester rated a “D” in achievement, “D” in gap closing, a “C” in K-3 at risk reader improvement and a “D” in prepared for success.
Gap closing shows how well the district is meeting performance expectations for vulnerable students. Achievement measures student performance on state tests, overall test performance and chronic absenteeism. Prepared for success looks at how well students are prepared for future opportunities.
For the 2016-17 school year, the district received a “C” in achievement, “C” in gap closing, “C” in K-3 literacy and a “D” in prepared for success.
In 2015-16, the component grades were “C” in achievement, “F” in gap closing, “D” in K-3 literacy and a “C” in prepared for success.
Unlike this year, overall district grades were not posted for the previous two school years.
Statewide, 28 districts were awarded an “A”, 191 received a “B”, 253 rated a “C”, 121 other districts also earned a “D” and 14 received a failing grade.
Parent Patrick Chiles said the recent report card caught a lot of parents by surprise.
“Looking at trends over the last few years, there’s been a steep decline,” Chiles said before commenting on an increasing reliance on online course materials and testing. “I caution you against writing off the grades on the report card.”
Sotlar said the State Report Card is a snapshot of what is happening, but said to get a true picture of the district, one must look deeper.
“We are looking at the letter grade,” said Sotlar, “but you have to look at more than the letter grade. This is a measuring tool and we’re going to own it.”
Mental health services
The Canal Winchester Board of Education approved a contract with Dr. Rochelle Dunn to provide student mental health services at a rate of $50 per hour, not to exceed $32,000. The position is covered by IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act) funding.
Companion action approved the placement of three Ohio State University and one Ashland University mental health interns, at the rate of $10 an hour, in district buildings for the 2018-19 school year. The placement is also covered by IDEA.
“Our goal is to remove barriers to achievement,” said Dunn, who is also an OSU professor.