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Highland officials discuss state report card rating

11/29/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Audrey French

At the Nov. 19 Highland Local Schools Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Catherine Aukerman discussed the district’s State Report Card for the 2011-12 school year, in which the district received an Excellent with Distinction rating.

Four different but interrelated indicators go into the State Report Card rating, including: state indicators, performance indexes, adequate yearly progress (AYP) and value added.

Highland Local Schools met 26 of the 26 state indicators and scored well above the state standards, according to district officials. In particular, Highland High School scored 95.2 percent or higher at the 10-grade level compared to a state standard of 75 percent and neared 100 percent at the 11th-grade level vs. a state standard of 85 percent. Aukerman said she also is proud of Highland’s 96.3 percent graduation rate; however, there are some areas she thought the district needs to continue to work on to obtain more scores in the mid-90 percent or higher range.

According to Aukerman, Highland Local Schools also received a higher overall performance index rating of 106.1 out of 120 for 2011-12, compared to 105.4 in 2010-11 and 104.6 for 2009-10. In her opinion, she said this weighted average is one of the best indicators to look at since it measurers student performance on state tests. Highland’s high performance index rating reflects its large number of accelerated and advanced students, said Aukerman.

According to Aukerman, AYP is one of the cornerstones of the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and is comprised of six state-mandated goals, of which Highland met or surpassed, including: reading proficiency, math proficiency, reading participation rate, math participation rate, graduation rate and attendance rate.

Lastly, the value added indicator measures the amount of growth in one year’s time and remains the factor that distinguishes between Excellent and Excellent with Distinction ratings, she said. Two years ago, Highland did not meet the value added standard, last year it did, and this year it surpassed it to receive the Excellent with Distinction rating.

Aukerman thanked teachers and administrators for their role in obtaining the Excellent with Distinction rating. She added Highland will have to continue to look at the data and figure out ways to improve instruction, given the fact there will be new assessments and ratings in the next few years as the state transitions to a new report card system. Even as one of the top performing schools in the state, Highland will have to continue to make great strides to stay at its current rating level, which focuses more on growth than achievement, said Aukerman.

In other business:

• Board members agreed to approve the October 2012 financial reports and amend the Fiscal Year 2013 appropriations as presented by Treasurer Neil Barnes.

• The board sent its condolences to board member Bob Kelly and the entire Kelly family following the passing of Bob’s mother, Ruth Kelly, Nov. 18. Ruth and her husband, Bill, were lifelong supporters of Highland Local Schools and have given generously over the years, said board member Dan Petek.

• Aukerman presented the school calendar for 2013-14 that is now uniform with all the other school districts in Medina County. The board adopted this new calendar, in which students will begin school two days earlier than normal in August so that the school year ends before June.

• The board approved 14 2012-13 student scholarships that the school district helps manage. Aukerman clarified that in addition to these scholarships, there are many more that outside organizations manage as well.

• Board members approved the Highland Middle School trip to Washington, D.C., from May 29-31.

• Several donations were made to the district, including a total of $150 to the Highland High School Speech and Debate Team, a three-burner stove for Highland Middle School, a turkey for Highland High School Special Education and a Magical Theatre Company performance for Granger Elementary School.

• The board also approved the renewal of the Community Education Agreement for fall 2012 and the Education Funding Group Agreement effective July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2016. The Education Funding Group Agreement specifically utilizes the services of a company to file federal paperwork to ensure the school district receives all the funding they are eligible for, said Aukerman.

The next regular school board meeting will be Dec. 17 at 7 p.m. at the Highland High School Media Center, 4150 Ridge Road.

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