Wellston Superintendent Karen Boch addressed the Board of Education during this week's meeting regarding the upcoming release of the Local Report Card for Ohio school districts.
The information in these report cards are meant to measure district and school performance in the areas most critical to success in learning. The data shows educators, school administrators and families where their schools are succeeding as well as areas where they need to improve.
Boch stated during the Monday, Sept. 11 meeting that, while the district does still have work to do, there are also a number of positives in this year's report card.
Specifically, she told the board that about 91 percent of Wellston's fourth-graders scored at or above proficient in social studies, 100 percent of eighth-graders were at or above proficient on the algebra Ohio State Tests, the overall number of students that were at or above proficient increased in 16 of 23 assessments, every grade level increased its number scoring proficient in language arts, the district received an "A" for its graduation rate for the first time, and the district was found to be 100-percent compliant with regard to indicators for students with disabilities.
While these achievements are not necessarily enough to earn indicators on the report card, Boch said they do represent a step in the right direction for the district.
One glaring truth for districts such as Wellston is the negative correlation between poverty rates and performance in the classroom.
In a report from the Ohio Education Policy Institute (OEPI) in 2015, performance index scores and proficiency test results from grades 3 through 10 were analyzed. Following the group's study, OEPI stated it discovered a "very strong negative correlation between student performance and the percentage of economically disadvantaged students." Further, the reports says this pattern is found across all subjects and grade levels in both preliminary and final Report Card data.
Recently, Superintendent Boch was chosen to serve on the Education and Poverty Task Force, a group whose goal is to generate information that could prove to be useful to members of the Ohio General Assembly in their considerations of education policy. Thus far, the group has met twice and is set to meet again next week. In its latest meeting, Boch said the group discussed the negative correlation between health issues and student achievement for economically-disadvantaged children. She said the task force is examining the possible implementation of health-related services in schools.
Once released, information for individual school districts can be found at education.ohio.gov/Topics/Data/Report-Card-Resources.
In other business
Boch stated that the Ohio School Boards Association Fall Conference is set for Thursday, Sept. 28, during which Wellston student Grant Plummer will be recognized as this year's Outstanding Male Student for the region.
A water-line project by the City of Wellston is moving along nicely, according to Boch. She said this new water line, which is being installed in the area of State Route 327 and Golden Rocket Drive, is meant to serve the Wellston Fire Department's Burn Building site, but will also provide the main school campus with a secondary source of water.
The ongoing HVAC project is getting closer to completion. Thus far, Boch said roughly $10,000 worth of upgrades have been provided at no cost to the district. She further stated Ben DiMarco of DiMarco and Associates, one of the contractors that has been involved with the lengthy process, will be present for next month's board meeting on Monday, Oct. 2 to give a presentation on the project's progress.
Boch told board members that a second survey of the area behind Wellston High School, which is hoped to one day house a new running track facility and football field, will be conducted soon. This survey, she explained, is meant to determine whether or not any ground movement has taken place over the past two years. Boch further stated that a report including what risk factors are present in this area and estimated costs for the project is also nearing completion.