Chief now seeks highest designation
By JORDAN A. COHEN
For the first time, the Mathews Local School District has been rated excellent by the Ohio Department of Education.
Superintendent Lee Seiple said the designation is based on 29 standards that districts are required to meet. Mathews easily exceeded the minimum requirements in 28 of the 29 during the 2009-10 school year, he said.
“My staff has been diligent in making sure our students are prepared to meet the minimum standards, but we don’t want to be just minimum,” Seiple said.
According to the ODE website, Mathews previously had been rated effective for the 2008-09 school year, a step below the excellent designation.
The rating is based on student-proficiency tests in reading, mathematics, writing and science in grades three through eight, additional proficiency testing for 10th and 11th grades, graduation rates and attendance.
The state’s minimum passing standards for proficiency tests is 75 percent. Seiple said many of Mathews’ scores in the various grades easily exceeded 90 percent.
“Mathews High School and Neal Middle School have had excellent ratings previously, but this is the first time we can say it for the entire district,” Seiple said.
The excellent rating is one step below the top rating of excellent with distinction. Seiple said he is hoping the district ultimately will qualify for that.
An ODE representative declined to comment on that possibility or the ratings of other Trumbull County school districts.
“We do not plan to release that information until Aug. 27, but we can understand the excitement,” said Julie Daubenmire, ODE assistant press secretary.
Meanwhile, the Mathews school board has approved the registration of 86 students through the open-enrollment program, the largest number, 24, coming from the Brookfield district.
Mathews’ student population at the end of last school year was 851.
“We had to turn away a number of our district applicants for first, third and fifth grades,” Seiple said. “Our elementary buildings are full, and I don’t want to overload our teachers beyond what we feel is comfortable for them to teach.”
The ODE will release the report cards rating all Ohio schools Friday.