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Sylvania Schools get 4 A's, 4 B's, 1 D in state report card

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The Sylvania School District received above average scores, except in closing the educational gap, in the first state issued report card using letter grades.

The Ohio Department of Education issued letter grades on Thursday from A to F in nine indicator categories. However, this year no school district received an overall grade. The letter grade system replaces a designation ratings such as excellent and academic emergency.

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The Sylvania School District received four A’s: for the percentage of state standards students meet in their reading, math, and other subject tests; for overall value added, which is a metric that attempts to measure how much academic growth students achieved in a year; value added for gifted students; and for value added for its lowest performing students.

It received four B’s in performance index - a weighted average of all students' test scores -- value added for disabled students, for its four year graduate rate, and its five year graduate rate. And the district received a D in gap closing, a category that attempts to measure how well a district closes achievement gaps in subgroups such as race and special education.

“The results reflects the hard work of our students and staff,” Sylvania Superintendent Brad Rieger said, noting that in the value added category, the district received an overall A. “That A means we grew academically in the area of reading and math for more than one year."

In the indicator based on closing the education gap, similar to the former Adequate Yearly Progress, the district received a D, because of the performance among students in subgroups of economically disadvantaged, race or ethnicity, students with disabilities, and limited English proficiency.

Mr. Rieger said the district struggled the most in the category of children of special needs.

“It’s a pretty high standard for special education students to meet, and some of the students are doing the best they can,” he said.

When you have a wide spectrum of children at different levels, some that have mild to profound disabilities that are in wheelchairs and cannot speak, putting them at the same level and having them hit that level is challenging, said Adam Fineske, executive director for curriculum and assessment.

However, the two Sylvania school officials said that they will examine all of the data in the report card to analyze how children with learning disabilities are doing compared to children with cognizant disabilities, and make the appropriate adjustments for achievement.

Mr. Rieger noted that the district is implementing a new math curriculum that has made a significant upward shift in the expectations that they will help with math achievement district-wide.

He said that, although he is proud of the achievement and effort of the students and staff, the district will continue to strive for excellence.

An overall district letter grade will be issued in August, 2015. Last year, the school received an “Excellence with Distinction Rating” from the state.

Contact Natalie Trusso Cafarello at: 419-206-0356 or ntrusso@theblade.com. 

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