Dear Kent families,
Coffee with the Superintendent
Please join me for “Coffee and Conversation with the Superintendent” on Wednesday, March 30, at 8:30 a.m. in the back room at Little City Grill, 802 North Mantua. We will also meet on Wednesday, May 4, and Wednesday, July 27.
A number of community members have shared their thoughts, questions and concerns with me at these coffees earlier this year. It has been an interesting and helpful process. Hope to see you there.
Posing with Hadi Partovi, tech entrepreneur and the founder of Code.org, are Stanton students from left, Tara Sefchick, Olivia Gallardo, Gianna Ferrara, Sami Baron, Laurel Lund-Goldstein, Rhiannon Lewis, Lily Marken, Sienna Leising, Anna Carman, Emma Schweitzer and Paige Stiles.
Kent Girl Coders present at Ohio tech conference
Kent Girl Coders made a standing-room only presentation recently at the Ohio Educational Technology Conference in Columbus. The Stanton students talked about the importance of involving girls in coding and technology.
“It’s unusual for students, especially middle school students, to be invited to make a presentation at this premier conference attended by 4,000 educators,” explains Chris Carman, who serves as co-advisor with Nikki Marchmon-Boykin. “Each girl did a great job sharing their reasons for joining Coders. During the rest of the day, attendees stopped them to compliment and encourage the girls.”
New information about Ohio Report Cards
On February 25, the Ohio Department of Education released the second portion of the 2015 Ohio School Report Cards. This portion includes Achievement, Gap Closing and Progress, as well as updated information about gifted students and district financial expenditures.
For the Kent Schools, the Achievement Component results show a 90.9%, a letter grade of “A” under Indicators Met and Performance Index of 82.8% and a letter grade of “B”.
The Progress Component results show Value-Added scores, which identify the 4-8 grade students’ growth of a year’s worth or more. We received an “A” in every Value-Added category, including Overall, Gifted, Students with Disabilities and Lowest 20% in Achievement. Our students are achieving more than a year’s growth in one year in every category. Gap Closing Component results shows a 64.3% and a letter grade of “D”.
The three areas represented in the AMO are Reading, Math and Graduation Rate. The 2015 AMO state goal (red line) for Reading is 71.3%, Math is 65% and Graduation Rate is 80.5%. In Reading, 5 of 7 subgroups achieved higher than the state’s goal, scoring between 76.2% to 87.8%. Math score results ranged from 68.8% to 83.3%, higher than the state goal of 65% with the same 5 of 7 subgroups. In Graduation Rate, the state goal was 80.5%, and students in 4 of 5 subgroups in Kent scored between 85.7% to 95.1%.
Our students performed extremely well on the 2014-15 State Report Card, and our District is ranked 70th out of 671 school districts and charter schools in Ohio with Value-Added results. This means our students are achieving more than a year’s growth in one year’s time—thanks to the hard work of our teachers, administrators and support staff.
The release also contains Career-Technical Planning District and dropout recovery school report cards. The Six District Educational Compact received all “A’s” for every indicator reported on the 2014-15 report card for CTE. The following link provides an overview and explanation of all six report card components and other key elements of Ohio’s testing system. Guide to 2015 Ohio School Report Cards
Important information about Kent’s “K-3 Literacy” grade
Q: What is the “K-3 Literacy” grade?
A: On January 14, 2016, the Ohio Department of Education released a new piece of data involving a district’s “K-3 Literacy” ranking for 2014-15. This ranking, supplied by ODE for the first time, reflects information about students attending kindergarten through the third grade from August of 2014 to June of 2015. According to ODE’s website, “This grade measures whether more students are learning to read in kindergarten through third grade. This component uses results from the fall reading diagnostics and the third grade Ohio Achievement Assessments (OAA) to measure the improvement schools and districts are making moving students from “not-on-track” to “on-track” and eventually proficient.”
Q: How is this “K-3 Literacy” grade calculated by the state?
A: At the beginning of each school year, students in grades K-3 in the Kent City Schools are assessed in reading. Kindergartners take the Kindergarten Reading Assessment, first graders take the STAR Early Literacy exam and second and third graders take the STAR Reading exam. These are all state-approved assessments.
If these assessments show that a student is not “on-track” according to the state’s definition and cut-off score, that student’s name must be reported to the Ohio Department of Education. Now labeled “not-on-track” by the state, this pool of students is used to determine a district’s “K-3 Literacy grade. Of all the Kent students in kindergarten, first, second and third grades in the Fall of 2014, less than 20 percent met the state’s definition of “not-on-track.”
Q: How did the Kent Schools score on “K-3 Literacy?”
A: Kent Schools received a 37.3 percent or D grade on the “K-3 Literacy” measurement. According to the state, this grade is computed according to a matrix showing the number of students who were first labeled “not-on-track” in the Fall of 2014 and later reported by the district to be “on-track” at the end of the school year.
Q: How many K-3 Kent students were “on-track” for 2014-15?
A: After students completed assessments in the Fall of 2014, 89.4 percent of our first graders scored “on-track” with 10.6 percent labeled “not-on-track.” Of our second graders, 71.7 scored “on-track” and 28.3 percent labeled “not-on-track.” Of our third graders, 79.9 percent scored “on-track” with 20.1 percent “not-on-track.” With the current change to all-day kindergarten in Kent, we expect more first graders will score “on-track” in the future.
Q: How does the Kent Schools help these “not-on-track” students?
A: First of all, an individual Reading Improvement Plan (RIMP) is put together for each student by his or her teacher. A number of resources and interventions are used to help students improve their reading scores.
In fact, in the Kent Schools we have taken a cautious approach. Our teachers and administrators want to make sure our students are successful readers—and have met the reading benchmarks necessary to meet the Third Grade Guarantee.
In addition, it is important to note that even when students make progress, we proceed carefully. We want to make sure our Kent students are reading on grade level, even if that means keeping them on RIMPs longer than the state requires. Last year, we made the decision to raise our “cut scores” on the STAR assessments, which definitely kept more Kent students on RIMPs—and unfortunately, in the state’s “not-on-track” group.
Those decisions—made with the best of intentions to give as much help as possible to our at-risk students—adversely affected our Report Card scores.
Q: How have Kent Schools performed on the Third Grade Guarantee?
A: Since the start of the Third Grade Guarantee, 100 percent of third graders in the Kent City Schools were promoted to fourth grade. All third graders passed either the state assessment or an approved alternate assessment.
George J. Joseph
Kent City Schools