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Norton district discusses state report card

9/19/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Julia Kazar

The Norton City School District’s annual report card was discussed at the Board of Education meeting Sept. 16, and it was clear there were some areas that need improvement.

Sharon Herchik, the director of curriculum and instruction, was at the meeting to go over the results.

“The State Board of Education has made some changes to the way schools are graded now,” Herchik explained, “so I wanted to take some time to go over the grades the school district received for the 2012-2013 school year.”

Gone are the overall ratings of Excellent or Continuous Improvement, replaced with letter grades on certain areas measuring achievement. The revamped report cards assign A through F letter grades to schools in nine different categories, which range from graduation rates to achievement gaps to student performance on state tests.

As explained in a handout passed out in the meeting, achievement measures students who took state tests and gives results in a Performance Index and Indicators Met. Performance Index measures how many students passed the state tests. Norton received a rating of 85.3 percent, or a B letter grade, in this area. Indicators Met measures how well students did on the state tests. Norton received a rating of 91.7 percent, or an A.

Progress measures student progress in math and reading throughout the year, she said.

“They are looking to see at least one year’s worth of growth,” Herchik said.

Overall, the district received an A rating, but scored slightly lower when looking at the Gifted and the Lowest 20 Percent, where each had a little less than a year’s growth and were given a C, according to Herchik.

Gap Closing is where the district scored the lowest, and thus is where most of the faculty and staff will focus on to improve for the future, she said.

Gap Closing “shows how well all students are doing in your district on reading, math and graduation. It answers the question: “Is every student succeeding, regardless of income, race, culture or disability?” as stated on the handout.

Norton received a D rating in this area.

“We didn’t meet the standards in two groups,” Herchik said, “and if even just one is not met, you can’t get an A.”

Herchik assured the board this area would be focused on in the future so that more students in the district can succeed.

The report card also measures graduation rate. Norton received an A rating, with 96.8 percent of students graduating high school in four years.

The final two areas looked at in the report card do not have grades yet, as more data needs to be collected first, Herchik said. The Kindergarten Through Third-Grade Literacy measures whether students in grades kindergarten through third grade are learning to read. The Prepared for Success looks at how many students who graduate from the district are ready for college or a career, she said. Letter grades will be given in these areas starting in 2015, as will overall district grades, said Herchik.

The district report card is available to anyone in the public who is interested, she said.

[For more on area district report cards, see the Aug. 29, 2013, issue or visit the archives at www.akron.com.]

In other business, the board:

  • approved an agreement between the Ohio Association of Public School Employees (OAPSE) and the district, which was ratified by OAPSE Sept. 12. This agreement is good for three years;
  • approved the central office secretarial staff pay scale and the administrator’s salary and benefits; and
  • approved the creation of educational assistant II at Norton Middle School.

The next regular school board meeting is set for Oct. 21 at 7:30 p.m. in the Norton High School Media Center, located at 4108 S. Cleveland-Massillon Road.

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