The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

June 26, 2013

Conneaut schools expect same grade on state report card

By MARK TODD - mtodd@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

CONNEAUT — Preliminary information indicate the Conneaut Area City Schools district will receive the same grade on its 2012-2013 report card as the previous year, Kent Houston, superintendent, said Monday night’s Board of Education meeting.

Early data provided by the Ohio Department of Education shows the district meeting 21 of the 26 indicators the state uses to gauge a district’s performance, the same number as the preceding school year, Houston said.

“I’m happy again, but I’m not satisfied,” he said. “We met the same number of indicators.

Based on the numbers, it appears none of the district’s schools will receive an excellent rating, Houston said.

Overall, scores dipped somewhat at the middle school level but jumped at Gateway Elementary School. Scores sagged in sixth- and seventh-grade math, but eighth-grade science results were “awesome,” he said. Third-grade scores, too, were “outstanding,” he said.

Conneaut High School appears to have again fallen short in an indicator that gauges how many students graduate within a four-year span, Houston said. Missing that indicator could cost the school an excellent rating, he said. Late last year, school administrators claimed faulty data was to blame when CHS missed that indicator in  2011-2012.

In related news, Houston said he is being forced to shuffle staff to meet Ohio’s reading endorsement requirement, an additional level of certification — and training — now required by the ODE for third-grade educators. Three Conneaut teachers won’t have the certification before the start of the school year, requiring Houston to put them in new positions and fill their spots with educators who possess the endorsement. Houston said he was loathe to break up the third-grade staff, seeing how well they performed this past year.

“It’s the kind of team you normally don’t want to touch because it’s high-performing,” Houston said.

Teachers in kindergarten through second grade will need the reading endorsement in time for the 2014-2015 school year, board members were told. The ODE may offer an on-line training program to those educators, Houston said.