Report cards reflect improvements

The state released its 2016-17 School Report Cards Thursday, showing some districts improving in areas.

Districts and schools were graded on six component for the 2016-17 school year, including achievement, progress, gap closing, graduation rate, K-3 literacy and prepared for success. Districts and schools received A-F grades on each component and most individual measures.

“I am very proud of the faculty, staff and students,” Gary Barber, TCS superintendent, said. “They have worked very hard.”

Barber said the district has seen significant improvements in three areas, including K-3 literacy, which moved from an “F” grade to a “C” grade; the progress component; and graduation rate.

In the progress component, gifted students earned the district an “A,” which improved from the previous year.

“I commend (TCS gifted coordinator) Paula Zirm and the other teachers,” Barber said. “That population of students is difficult to increase.”

Barber said they are beginning to work more together.

“The district has worked in isolation and we are working on becoming more interdependent,” he said.

In areas that need improvement, he said he is “pleased, not satisfied.”

Barber said the report card is “only part of the story.”

“We have to be excited about what the district does have, like excellent co-curricular and extracurricular activities, performance arts and student relationships with teachers,” he said. “We are taking the report card very seriously and continuing on improving.”

The initial report received was no surprise to Greg Edinger, Vanguard-Sentinel Career and Technology Center superintendent.

Vanguard-Sentinel earned a “B” in technical attainment, “C” in prepared for success and “A’s” in graduation rate and post-program outcomes, which includes program placement, industry-recognized credential, post-program placement and industry credential.

“I am proud of all the results we received,” Edinger said. “The staff and students have put in a lot of hard work.”

Edinger said although the report card is important, “it is only a snapshot of what really happens in the districts.”

He said the district has doubled the number of students who earned industry credentials.

The district’s focus is to get students placed in programs to meet workforce demand, Edinger said.

“We know it is working because students are being placed and getting jobs,” he said.

Overall, Hopewell-Loudon Local Schools Superintendent David Alvarado said it was nice to see that what was put in place last year is making an impact and improving the district.

“There is, of course, still work to do,” he said.

For example, the district’s K-3 literacy component was an “F” last year and improved to a “C.”

“We have been making progress from year to year,” he said.

Alvarado said last year was the first year the district focused on working in teams.

He said he was pleased to see what the district has been able to maintain from previous years.

“I see districts go through things and lose what they gained in other areas,” he said. “To still maintain what we had from last year and still be able to improve is a plus.”

The district is to continue working with teachers on professional development and instructional strategies and interventions with students, Alvarado said.

“We are moving in the right direction,” he said.