Gallia County Local Schools were rated excellent and Gallipolis City Schools netted a continuous improvement rating in the “report cards” issued annually by the Ohio Department of Education. The data became public Tuesday.
The city system has one building that hit the excellence mark in Green Elementary. Gallia County Local saw three buildings — Addaville and Hannan Trace elementaries, and River Valley Middle School — ranked excellent.
Achieving high grades on the report cards is what each district strives for during the year, officials said.
Under the report card system, schools are ranked in descending order as excellent, effective, continuous improvement and academic watch. This year, two new categories were added by the state with federal permission to help with judging performance. These are excellent with distinction, and value added, in which students are determined to have made progress in more than one year.
Value added and requirements for Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) judging were met in several instances, officials said, although neither district met the overall AYP.
“We would have been rated effective but the new measure of value added represents the progress students have made in more than one year because our teachers did such an excellent job,” Gallia County Local Superintendent Dr. Charla Evans said.
“It’s truly a team effort,” she added.
In Gallia County Local, Southwestern Elementary, and River Valley and South Gallia high schools, were rated effective, while Vinton Elementary is in continuous improvement.
“I’m thrilled with the designation, but the district did not meet the federal AYP,” Evans said, noting that all buildings met AYP requirements. “The area we did not meet AYP in was for students with disabilities. We have been working on it, but we have to be sure those kids achieve at the same level as their peers.”
To that end, areas of need are under study this week as Gallia County Local starts the 2008-09 school year, which began Tuesday. The development of the Student Education Plan (SEP) by teachers in recent years is to address student learning needs and is reviewed every quarter.
“When you look at where we came from, each year there has been improvement,” Evans said. “There’s no guarantee we won’t be in academic watch the next time, but not for lack of trying. What we do not want to do is relegate some kids to a lower level of instruction. We want all kids to benefit, and that’s where our Student Education Plan helps.”
In the city schools, which began the new school year last week, Green Elementary benefited by meeting all 12 indicators on the evaluation and hitting a performance index of 101.6. Anything over 100 on that measure places a building in excellent standing, Curriculum Director Debra Queen said.
Green also met its AYP and value added designation.
“That’s a pretty perfect performance for them,” Queen said. “We’re absolutely tickled with what they’ve done.”
Gallia Academy High School, and Washington and Rio Grande elementaries were rated effective. GAHS was rated above the value added evaluation, while Rio Grande not only met value added but its AYP for the second consecutive year, which took it out of the school improvement ranking, Queen said.
The district as a whole did not meet its AYP in more than one subgroup of students for the third straight year, which resulted in the overall rating of continuous improvement. But as Queen noted, it was not through lack of effort as she cited the work by teachers and staff throughout 2007-08 to improve performance. Information will now be studied to target need areas.
“It is a continuous process,” Queen said. “We dig into the data, see what the data tells us, and we strive to ensure each student learns. We have confidence we will meet the AYP, and we have the staff to do it.”