K-3 Literacy Grade Being Appealed by District - Message from Superintendent Ben Hegedish
As you may have read or heard, the Ohio Department of Education has reported Independence Local Schools’ K-3 Literacy grade as an ‘F’ on the portion of the state report card that was recently released. The ODE has acknowledged errors with their processes and we discovered a data entry error that has since been corrected. We contacted the ODE with our error and have been notified that the appeal process will begin next week and be expedited. Once corrected, our district should be in the "C" range on the K-3 Literacy grade.
The initial preliminary report last week from the Ohio Department of Education showed that our district would be considered “No Report” for the K-3 Literacy Data. We received this rating last year, as the vast majority of students at Independence Primary School far exceed the state’s “readiness” measures. Our students continually rank high on any state assessments when compared to our surrounding districts. Other high-performing districts in our area fell into this same “NR” category.
Yesterday’s release of a different report was surprising. As we reviewed our data, we understood that we were over the threshold for receiving the exemption (NR) rating. We had three Kindergarten students considered “not on track,” which is 6% of our total enrollment (50 Kindergarten students in the 2014/15 school year). The threshold to receive a grade is 5%.
Unfortunately, the corrected Independence Local School District’s data shows some of the concerning, and personally frustrating, components of the Ohio Department of Education’s reporting. Like any district, we have students with learning disabilities and language needs. We embrace all of our learners and work hard to provide an outstanding education. Students with learning needs show progress at different rates than typical peers. We make a multiple-year commitment of interventions and support to help at-risk students. Our county-wide testing data supports these successes, as our at-risk students show long-term growth. 40% of students initially reported as “not on track” could be placed into at-risk categories.
As a district, we had 20 students considered “not on track.” There were 11 of these students that made the expected progress, which should place our district in the “C” range on the K-3 Literacy Data. In this case, the unfortunate truth is that the vast majority of our students were not included for this component because they far exceeded the baseline assessment to be considered for this measure. Independence Primary School has been a two-time National Blue Ribbon School. Independence Primary School students’ PARCC and AIR assessment data scores rank first or second in the county for all assessments. We are blessed to have the students and families that we work with. Our staff members are committed and far exceed expectations time and time again.
We will continue to work hard to help all of our students grow. We understand that different students grow at different rates. We will continue to view our students as individuals, striving to understand and challenge them while we celebrate success both inside and outside of the classroom. State testing data can provide a snapshot of that success, but it is only one photo in the portfolio of child development.