Groveport Madison working on academics

Though many issues are percolating regarding the operations and functioning of Groveport Madison Local Schools, the main purpose of the district remains unchanged – educating the students.

"Improving student achievement is a top priority in the Groveport Madison School District," said Director of School Improvement Susan Briggs in a March 20 interview. "Through a partnership with the teacher, the parent, and the student, it is our goal to help every child learn the knowledge and skills essential for success in school and life. I feel very honored to serve as a director of school improvement for the Groveport Madison Local School District."

Background

The 2006-07 State Report Card indicated Groveport Madison  reached "continuous improvement" status for the second year in a row.

"According to an Ohio Department of Education report, this past school year we once again improved our levels of student achievement," Groveport Madison Superintendent Scott McKenzie said last August. "In examining the district’s overall preliminary test scores, our students met over a third more state indicators than last year." He added Groveport Madison passed 11 state indicators and showed strong improvement on many others.

"We are a ‘continuous improvement school district’ and we’re working very hard to support our students in their learning," said Briggs on March 20. "We have very supportive parents and dedicated teachers who care deeply about our children and often go well beyond what might be expected of them. I applaud them!"

The state of Ohio requires a 75 percent passage rate on its achievement tests given to students in third through eighth grades, as well as 10th grade. Last year Groveport Madison met the state requirement in third grade mathematics, fourth grade reading, seventh grade writing, eighth grade reading, 10th grade reading and writing, and 11th grade reading, writing, mathematics and social studies. The district narrowly missed passage in several other indicators.

Briggs cited Dunloe Elementary as a school making big strides academically.

"For the 2006-07 school year, Dunloe Elementary met six indicators out of 10 which gave it an ‘effective’ school rating," said Briggs.  

Groveport Elementary, Sedalia Elementary and the junior high school made progress in every tested area last year and several schools had grade levels that met all their indicators, including third grade at Asbury, Dunloe, Glendening and Groveport elementaries and fourth grade at Madison and Sedalia elementaries.

Working to improve

When asked what actions are being taken to improve academics at the high school, the junior high, the middle schools, the elementary schools, Briggs noted the following steps the district is taking:

•Working with a state support team to align the curriculum, instruction, and assessment with Ohio’s Academic Content Standards.

•Providing professional development that supports: the understanding and use of Ohio’s Academic Content Standards; the study and integration of relevant and current best practices that enhances the understanding of instructional strategies appropriate to specific content and addresses the needs of diverse learners; efforts to ensure that all educators understand and use various types of assessments to measure student learning; efforts to provides educators with tools to engage students, families and communities in improving student achievement.

•Providing time for teacher collaboration in all the district’s buildings.

State testing: a help or hindrance?

When asked if state testing requirements affect the educational process, and whether too much time is being taken "teaching to the tests" so that it may adversely affects students’ ability to think and absorb the nuances of learning, Briggs replied that state testing requirements do have an impact on the education students receive.  

"Students need to have access to the State Academic Content Standards on which they will be tested," said Briggs. "As a result, our teachers try and make sure students not only receive instruction on the standards, but many of our teachers also try to make sure students who need extra help have an opportunity for more instruction. Many of our teachers have come up with very creative ways of providing intervention for students needing help. I am very proud to say that in all 10 buildings in our district, we have several teachers tutoring students and working with students to make sure they understand the learning content."

A sprawling district geographically

Formed in 1848, the 42 square mile Groveport Madison school district includes the villages of Groveport and Brice, parts of  the village of Obetz, parts of the cities of Columbus and Reynoldsburg, Madison Township, and parts of Truro Township. Each area brings its own economic and societal pressures to bear on families and the schools. These pressures, coupled with state and federal education requirements can play havoc with the learning process.

Additionally the district’s 10 school buildings range in age from 33 to 85-years-old.

When asked how all these pressures impact the district’s efforts to improve academics, Briggs stated, "The Groveport Madison School Board of Education endeavors to provide all students maximum educational opportunities within the constraints of available facilities and financial resources."

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