MAHONING VALLEY 80% of school districts improve state grades

The number of districts meeting 20 or more indicators is up from 13 last year to 24 this year.
Eighty percent of the Mahoning Valley's school districts posted improved marks on the 2002 local report card, and four had perfect grades.
Thirty-six of the 45 school districts in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties showed improvement on the cards that rank school systems on 27 performance indicators, according to results released by the Ohio Department of Education on Monday.
For the second consecutive year, South Range schools met all 27 indicators and was joined this year by Lakeview, Boardman and Canfield.
This year, 24 of the 45 local school systems met 20 or more of the indicators, up from 13 districts last year and 11 two years ago.
Still troubled: The Valley's two largest school districts also showed slight improvement yet remained in academic emergency: Youngstown met five indicators, up from four last year; Warren met five, up from three.
"Five standards is nothing to hang our hat on," Youngstown Superintendent Ben McGee said.
McGee said the district had hoped to tally six or seven standards this year.
Nevertheless, the district is showing progress, improving its scores in 18 categories. McGee said he would like to see a more rapid rate of improvement.
"I believe that some of the things that we're building in and institutionalizing, some of the practices and some of the standards and some of the interventions over the next couple of years will allow us to achieve greater gains at a faster rate," he said.
Purpose of cards: The report cards, now in their third year, are designed to show parents and community members how well their local schools are doing -- where they are succeeding and where there is room for improvement.
The cards are available at Printed versions of the cards will be sent to parents in March.
The 27 standards include results on the state's fourth-, sixth-, ninth- and 12th-grade proficiency tests, as well as graduation and attendance rates.
Districts meeting 26 or more of the standards are deemed excellent. Those with 21 to 25 standards are effective, and districts meeting 13 to 20 standards are in continuous improvement. A district with eight to 12 standards is in academic watch, and districts with less than eight are in academic emergency.
Comparisons: In the Mahoning Valley, five districts are in the excellent category: South Range, Boardman, Canfield, Lakeview and Poland. Fourteen are in the effective category, 23 in continuous improvement, one in academic watch and two in academic emergency.
Statewide, 71 school districts are excellent, 136 effective, 351 continuous improvement, 38 academic watch and 12 academic emergency.

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