Schools aren’t alone in work to improve report cards

Ohio’s Department of Education has released this year’s School Report Cards, and as is apparent by the story and graphic being reported in today’s newspaper, results are underwhelming.

Still, the ODE points out, “Report Cards are designed to give parents, communities, educators and policymakers information about the performance of districts and schools — to celebrate achievement and success and identify areas for improvement.” In other words, they are a tool that should help us do better for our kids.

Locally, some districts could be doing a little better, though the language used by the state is telling.

For example, Youngstown City Schools received a low overall score of 2.5 stars out of 5, which the state department of education says means “needs support to meet state standards.”

Sadly, students in Youngstown haven’t started working on improving that score yet this year because their teachers remain on strike, unable to reach an agreement with the board of education, weeks after their counterparts in other districts headed back to school.

There was a bright spot for Youngstown City Schools, however, as the state gave it 4 out of 5 stars in the category of “gap closing,” which measures the reduction in educational gaps for students’ subgroups.

Campbell City Schools also received a 2.5 overall Achievement score.

Canfield School District achieved the highest Achievement grade locally, with 5 out of 5 stars.

Results for a few other school districts include 4.5 stars in achievement for Poland, South Range, Springfield, Western Reserve and Weathersfield.

Austintown, Boardman and West Branch each received Achievement scores of 4.

Parents and guardians can and should find specifics about their children’s school districts in the story and graphic in today’s paper. More information also is available here: https://reportcard.


But, “report cards are only one part of the story about what is happening in schools and districts,” as the ODE points out.

As teachers take a look at these scores and figure out how to do better for our students, no doubt there will be concerns such as “How do we get lawmakers out of our way while we try to educate these kids?” “How are we supposed to focus on teaching when our schools are also caring for the physical and mental health of students, feeding them (sometimes clothing them), keeping them safe and offering a haven they might not have at home? How are we going to get the resources we need to teach when our communities’ economies are still in shambles?”

And, “How do we convince students to prioritize their educations when families and communities too often place no value on — in fact, in some cases have a negative attitude toward — getting an education?”

There is blame to spread far and wide on this problem.

Teachers and school systems will use the data to get to work toward greater improvement. As they do, we must ask ourselves: Are we ready to do our share?



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