District Nets Effective Rating

ST. MARYS — A state department released its official report cards for school districts across Ohio Wednesday, with a local school district seeing a few changes on its 2010-11 card.

The Ohio Department of Education released the official St. Marys City School District’s 2010-11 School Year Report Card Wednesday, with the district meeting 24 out of the 26 indicators and netting an effective rating.

“These are pretty much the same numbers that we had the beginning of August,” Curriculum Director Bill Steinbrunner said. “We’re effective, but we didn’t meet the standards for fifth-grade math or eighth-grade science.”

For the fifth-grade math option, Steinbrunner noted the district did not meet the 75 percent passage requirement by 3 percentage points.

“That translates to about five kids,” he said.

For the eighth-grade science rating, St. Marys received a 67.1 percent passage rating.

“We want to make sure all our kids do as well as they possibly can,” Steinbrunner said. “There are areas we need to work on — fifth grade across the state has always been weak.”

With eighth-grade science, Steinbrunner noted the district didn’t meet the passage rate by 1 percent.

“It’s an area we’ve had some struggles with before,” he said.

Steinbrunner noted the data for the sixth-grade math — there, the district had a 95.3 percent passage rate.

“Last year, they had 78 percent as fifth-grade students,” he said.

“There, something went right. It went up almost 18 percentage points.”

The areas where the district shows trouble, he said, has moved every year.

“I guess it’s a good thing it’s not the same every year,” he said. “As always, there’s room to improve every grade in every subject. We’ve worked on one thing that we didn’t make last year, and it’s something different this year.”

As for the effective rating, Steinbrunner noted with the number of standards, if a district misses one indicator, it can’t receive a rating any higher than effective.

“We’re 1.7 percent away,” he said. “That’s the closest we can get with missing two indicators.”

For the district’s performance index rating, Steinbrunner noted the district went down 0.5 points — making them 0.5 points away from the performance index score pushing them up to an excellent rating.

“Our concern isn’t whether we’re excellent or effective, it’s how the kids are all doing,” Steinbrunner said. “It just says we’ve got work to do and helps us see how the work needs to be done.”

An area where the district has continually struggled is meeting Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP, with its students with disabilities — something the district didn’t meet again this year.

“We’re doing a lot of different things,” Steinbrunner said, noting the district has implemented more inclusion with the students. “I think we’ll start seeing the benefits of that as time goes by.”

Because of the district not meeting AYP — which is based on a federal initiative to have all students proficient by the year 2014 — this year, the district will be in district improvement status year three.

That status means the district will be sending letters to parents of children at St. Marys Primary School giving them the option to opt out of the district or to participate in supplemental educational services, something the district also did last year but had no participants.

“As a district, we still have students with disabilities that didn’t make it,” Steinbrunner said. “We’re working on that.”

The students with disabilities requirement put St. Marys Middle School in school improvement year one delay because the school did not meet the requirement in 2009-10 but did for 2010-11. It is in an “at-risk” status because a district has to go two years with not meeting AYP to get out of school improvement status.

“If we fix some things with students with disabilities, we’ll be sitting pretty,” he said. “We’re so close.”

With the realignment of the buildings, Steinbrunner noted every student in each grade level is in the same building — allowing the teachers to “compare notes.”

“In the past, they’d have to do these things after school, now they can talk at lunch,” he said. “We’ve put in waiver days, where we focus on curriculum, planning, assessments, analyzing assessments. The teachers are writing formative assessments as a way to find out where the kids are.”

The report card that came out Wednesday, Steinbrunner noted, represents a year of much transition for the district.

“Having that year under our belts will help us a lot, too,” he said. “Things are going to be a lot smoother because we’ve got that transition year down.”

The district’s state report card is available online at the Ohio Department of Education’s website or at the district offices on Spring Street.