Groveport Madison seeks to improve attendance and student performance index

By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport Editor
The Groveport Madison Board of Education heard a goals and planning presentation about improving attendance; educator equity; and curriculum, instruction, and assessment at its April 10 meeting.

According to Groveport Madison Schools Director of Innovation and Accountability Mike Morbitzer, the goal is to improve attendance at Groveport Madison Schools by reducing the chronic absenteeism rate by at least 45 percent from 36.4 percent to 19.9 percent by June 2027.

Of the 16 public schools in Franklin County, only Columbus City Schools (57 percent) and Whitehall City Schools (37 percent) have a worse chronic absenteeism rate than Groveport Madison.

Regarding educator equity, Morbitzer said the district plans to have six partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) with teacher preparation programs “to increase the teacher candidate pool with an emphasis on giving students access to diverse teachers and perspectives.”

“These are deep partnerships,” said Morbitzer. “The colleges embrace this and they want to work with school districts and high schools.”

Morbitzer noted that student enrollment at Groveport Madison Schools is 74 percent non-white and 26 percent white while the district’s community is 51 percent non-white and 49 percent white.

“There is a high density of children of school age who are persons of color,” said Morbitzer.

Under curriculum, instruction, and assessment, the district plans to focus “on all Ohio State Test tested subject areas” in grades three through 12 to “increase 28.8 percent to 80 percent as measured with the State Report Card – Performance Index by June 30, 2027.” Currently the Performance Index for the district is at 62 percent, which ranks the district 15th out of 16 Franklin County public school districts (Columbus City Schools are last at 51 percent.)

According to the Department of Education, the Performance Index uses the performance level results for students in grades three through high school on Ohio’s State Tests. It accounts for the level of achievement of every student, not just whether they are proficient.

Morbitzer said in the next three years after 2027 the district plans to raise the Performance Index further to closer to 90 percent.

“That’s how we have to operate,” said Morbitzer. “That’s how we’re setting our goals.”

Morbitzer added that the district’s schools are working together in planning and coordinating.

“It’s a beautiful thing to watch,” said Morbitzer.

Vouchers
The board heard a presentation from the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy of School Funding entitled, “Vouchers Hurt Ohio.”

In Ohio, the “EdChoice” scholarship program allows all Ohio students to receive vouchers to attend private schools. Qualifying low income students may receive a full voucher, while students in higher income brackets receive progressively reduced voucher amounts.

The Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy of School Funding filed a lawsuit against the state in January 2022 stating vouchers violate the Ohio Constitution. The group cites that vouchers: impair the state budget, mean less money for public schools, less control by local school boards, the prospect of additional tax levies, and impact pension funds.

The group asked the board to pass a resolution to support Vouchers Hurt Ohio. The board will consider such a resolution at its May 8 meeting.

New Chromebook computers
The board approved the purchase of 1,650 Chromebooks (and licensing) computers for students for the 2024-25 school year at a cost of $620,400.

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