GALLIA COUNTY — The Ohio Department of Education recently released report cards for each district across the state, and at first glance, things look bleak.
Districts across Ohio are receiving D’s and F’s in numerous areas, largely failing to meet expectations in areas based on these reports from the state, and Gallia County local is among them.
According to local officials, the letter grade issued is not a true indicator of how a school performs in that academic area, or how they meet their objective and role as public education. In the K-3 literacy category Gallia Local received an F at -16 percent. Despite this, in the county district 93.9 percent of third grade students met the requirements for promotion to fourth grade.
According to the report card, this indicator is intended to portray how successful the district is at getting students on track in reading proficiency. In kindergarten, they have 27percent off track, which is drastically reduced to less than 5 percent in first and second grade. According to Rochelle Halley, curriculum director for the district, the letter grade fails to show how they are truly doing as a school.
”Last year in the fall we gave a third grade test. If kids don’t do well you have to put them on a plan to get them to proficient,” stated Halley. “We put all of our kids that were supposed to be on there. They changed the test from the fall to the spring, and more kids did not pass because of that.”
GCLS officials explained that they were hurt on the score because some students did not pass the test and should have been on the plan, even through they passed the test in the fall. According to their scores in the fall, they did not need to be on a plan according to the state.
There is an A on this report card for Gallia Local Schools: they earned an A in the graduation rate. 96.3 percent of students at River Valley and South Gallia are graduating on time. The state average is 83.4 percent, 13 percent lower than Gallia Local. Local administrators are left asking why they have a significantly high graduation rate according to state standards, and are failing to meet expectations in most other measurable areas.
“If you look at the history of the report card, this always happens.” said Meyers. “The first year everyone bombs the test, but then we learn how to do it and come back strong.”
That is often the case when reviewing district report cards; showing a learning curve when a new test is introduced, explained Gallia Local Officials. This has happened nearly every year for the last several. Teaching standards have also changed three times since 2011.
“The schools get together, they work on it, and they figure it out, and then we pass the test,” stated Meyers.
“This report card only measures X, Y, and Z, but what about all the other things that wer’re doing in a school building that contributes to a students learning and success?” said Halley.
Meyers explained that many students in a lower socioeconomic areas have to overcome problems before they can ever learn: hunger, family problems, drug related issues, and others that have to be remedied before the student can begin to care about literature or math. That is where the grades fall short, according to Halley and Meyers.
Only one school district in all of Ohio got a perfect report card, Ottawa Hills, located outside of Toledo, one of Ohio’s major cities.
The grades are complicated at best, according to Halley. They are based on complex formulas that often rely on percentages over scoring or data. Gallia County Local School District earned a D in Achievement and Prepared for Success, an F in Gap Closing, K-3 Literacy, and Progress, and an A in Graduation Rates. To view specific detail about the report card or to compare to other districts across Ohio, visit education.ohio.gov.
“The position of our district is this: we’re going to do what we do best, and that’s care about our kids,” said Meyers. “That’s the most important thing, we’re not going to compromise that for anything.”
Meyers explained that meeting the basic needs of the students first will lead to better education for those students. If anyone wants to be sure of their child’s education, Meyers invites them to come to the schools and see what the teachers are doing and talk with the administrators.
Reach Morgan McKinniss at 740-446-2342 ext 2108.