Tuesday, January 30, 2001

Schools improve rankings

Good news for Middletown, Hamilton, Lockland

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        Don't tell Middletown schools Superintendent Wayne Driscoll that Ohio's urban school districts can't make improvements.

        In one year he has seen his district move from academic emergency — the lowest rating for schools — to academic watch.

        “By the time we get kids to the ninth grade, they catch up and accelerate. We work hard with our kids and it pays off in the long run. Our kids are getting better and better each year,” he said.

        Five area school districts have shown enough academic improvement in the past year to be upgraded on the Ohio State Report Card, which was posted Monday on the state's Web site at www.ode.state.oh.us.

        Only one local district, Lockland, moved up two rankings.

        The state has four categories: academic emergency, academic watch, continuous improvement and effective. Each school is judged based on the number of standards Ohio's school districts reach on 27 criteria that make up the Ohio State Report Card. Schools must meet nine criteria to get out of the lowest category.

        Here's how the area's eight districts that were in academic emergency last year fared this year:

        • Middletown and Hamilton were among a handful of urban schools statewide to go from academic emergency to academic watch. Middletown met 10 standards this year and seven last year; Hamilton met 12 standards this year and eight last year.

        • Goshen and Felicity-Franklin, which are not urban districts, also moved from academic emergency to academic watch. Goshen met 11 standards this year and eight last year; Felicity-Franklin met nine standards this year and five last year.

        • Lockland moved into the continuous improvement category. Lockland met 14 standards this year and eight last year.

        • New Miami schools nearly doubled the number of standards it met but stayed in academic emergency. The district met seven standards this year and four last year.

        • Cincinnati Public met five standards, one fewer than last year, and remained in academic emergency. And although CPS improved on 16 of the 27 criteria, results weren't enough to meet state standards.

        • Mount Healthy met eight standards, the same as last year, and remained in academic emergency.

        The criteria are based on proficiency test scores, attendance and graduation rates, and reflect the 1999-2000 school year.

        Six districts in the region were rated “effective” during the 1999-2000 school year, meaning they scored well on proficiency tests at grades 4, 6, 9, 10 and 12, and had exemplary attendance and graduation rates. They are Indian Hill, Madeira, Mariemont, Mason, Sycamore and Wyoming.

        Report cards for individual districts will be mailed to every household at the end of the month, said LeeAnne Rogers, a public information officer for the Ohio Department of Education.

        For information, parents and others can call the Ohio Department of Education toll-free at (877) 772-7771 or contact their school district.

       Andrea Tortora contributed to this report.


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