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Coventry BOE reviews state report card findings

9/26/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Emily Chesnic

The Coventry Local Schools Board of Education presented certificates of achievement to the district’s “Star Students” for the month of September at the Sept. 17 meeting. The students recognized, from left, include Coventry High School senior Ashlynn Watson, Erwine Middle School fifth-grader Antonio Barbitta and Turkeyfoot Elementary School second-grader Breanna Deeds.
Photo courtesy of Coventry Local Schools
The Coventry Local Schools Board of Education was presented with the results from the latest state report card at the Sept. 17 meeting.

Areas of success, as well as areas in need of improvement, were discussed.

Assistant Superintendent Lisa Blough, who also oversees the district’s curriculum and development, started by explaining the changes now seen on the state’s report card. Instead of the previous district distinctions, including rankings of Adequate and Excellent, the state is giving districts letter grades, she said. The state still is transitioning into the new grading system, however, Blough added.

She said the state report card continues to consider how a district is doing compared to the national average, if students are progressing in their knowledge each year and if students are getting the help they need to earn their diplomas.

In the area of achievement, Coventry received a B on the report card, with results compiled based on the 2012-13 school year, she explained. This means Coventry compares well with the average districts across the United States.

When it comes to progress, Blough said the district also did well, overall, scoring a B. She explained the district passed all of the high school tests for the seventh year in a row. In turn, however, the fifth-grade class failed in all testing areas, including reading and mathematics, Blough said. This year, those students, now in sixth grade, individually will be instructed in the areas in which they did not score well, she explained to the board. Blough said the fifth-grade class had substitute teachers often last year, and this in part may have led to the poor scoring.

Superintendent Russell Chaboudy added the district was forced to make cuts due to its financial position two years ago. He explained teachers and tutors had to be eliminated.

“There is no way to maintain a high level of academic standards when you continue to increase class sizes,” Chaboudy said.

The superintendent said the district could afford to bring several teachers back this school year, which would be beneficial to the students.

Despite the economic conditions of the township, Coventry students, overall, continue to advance appropriately each school year, and that is the important thing, he said.

Blough said Coventry actually scored ninth highest in the entire state in the area of progress, also known as Value Added.

She told the board the district continues to have a high graduation rate, too, and received an A in this area on the report card.

This school year, Blough said the district must focus on two new testing areas on the report card. For the first time, kindergarten through third-grade students would be tested on their literacy skills. The report card also will grade the district on how well it prepares students for success beyond a diploma, she said.

Another area of concentration this year is assisting gifted students with progressing in their abilities, as well, Blough said.

Also during the regular meeting, the board honored district employees Natalie Masalko and Patricia Vaughn for 25 years of service.

The board also recognized Coventry High School senior Ashlynn Watson, Erwine Middle School fifth-grader Antonio Barbitta and Turkeyfoot Elementary School second-grader Breanna Deeds as the Students of the Month for September.

In addition, the board approved the permanent appropriations for Fiscal Year 2014. Treasurer Aaron Butts said the General Fund total is about $19 million, and the total for all funds is about $51 million, which reflects money obtained through the recent passage of a bond and levy issue.

The board additionally accepted the resignation of Kerri Riley from the position of Coventry Middle School choir director. Chaboudy explained she has been an “outstanding” choir director for Coventry but was offered a higher paying position with Massillon City Schools.

Lastly, the board tabled the approval of the 2014-15 school calendar. Chaboudy explained the district would start after Labor Day next school year, and the days off, specifically the dates for spring break, still need to be determined.

At the meeting’s close, the board went into an executive session, with no action taken, to discuss contract negotiations.

The next regular board meeting will take place Oct. 15 at 6 p.m. at the Lakeview Administrative Offices, 2910 S. Main St.

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