The Ohio Department of Education school report cards are out, evaluating schools on a range of measures, including student graduation rates and performance on state tests. And while some Dayton Public Schools’ grades held flat over last year, the district showed progress in some key categories.
Overall, DPS received a grade of D, an improvement over last year’s failing district grade of F. In the category of "gap closing" that looks at progress in closing the achievement gap between white students and students of other backgrounds in English, math, graduation rates and English proficiency, the district earned a C.
Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli says DPS has more ground to make up. Student attendance remains one top concern.
But, Lolli says an improvement strategy that included using state curriculum and increasing professional development for teachers is starting to pay off, and this year’s gains show it’s possible to turn around a struggling school district without the threat of state takeover.
“The internal staff of a district can actually make the changes that are needed whenever the focus is on academic achievement, when it's on attendance, when it's on great behaviors for students. An outsider didn't need to come into the Dayton public schools to start a change process,” she says.
Under state education rules, three years in a row of failing grades would typically force districts under the oversight of an Academic Distress Commission.
That process is on hold as lawmakers debate proposals to revamp it. Now, DPS's higher grade means the district would avoid state takeover if lawmakers lift the moratorium in the future.
School Board Vice President Jocelyn Rhynard calls Dayton's school district report card "a relief," saying the district's progress gives officials more time to work on improvements in the classroom.
"We have reset the clock and we are not worried about next year and hopefully next year we will also have a higher grade and we'll make an improvement. We expected that the test scores would go up," she says. "We also knew that no matter what the test score would be we would avoid state takeover because of the moratorium on the budget bill. But it's a relief nonetheless."
In a statement, the Ohio Education Association representing 123,000 teachers, faculty members and support professionals in state public schools, colleges and universities, criticized the state’s report card system saying it relies too much on standardized tests and disadvantages lower-income districts.
“It’s widely recognized that the current report cards rely too heavily on standardized tests and counter-intuitive methodologies that are stacked against low-income districts,” said OEA President Scott DiMauro. “As the work continues to fix the flawed state report cards, efforts must also be made to do more to overcome the barriers to learning that are caused by poverty.”
Other district report card grades include:
The Trotwood-Madison school district received an overall district Grade of D.
Springfield received an F.
Beavercreek got a grade of B.
Fairborn received a C.
Find your school district report card at the Ohio Department of Education website.