2013 In Review: Aurora schools shine again in state report card

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Aurora — The school district, which was rated “excellent with distinction” in the 2011-12 school year, received A’s in seven categories in the new-format 2012-13 state report cards released Aug. 22.
The new ranking system, which assigns grades from A to F in the nine categories, has replaced the old system which ranked districts from “excellent with distinction” to “academic emergency.”
Aurora was one of only a handful of districts which achieved seven A’s, and Superintendent Russ Bennett said district officials were “very pleased.”
Aurora received A’s in performance indicators, performance index, overall value added, gifted students value-added, disabled students value-added, four-year graduation rate and five-year graduation rate.
Bennett was especially elated by Aurora’s performance index of 109.1, which is the district’s best since the state developed its annual rating system and the 14th best statewide this year.
“I consider that a very important category,” he said. “And we’ve been improving in that category just about every year.”
A high performance index means the district has a large number of students who achieve at an advanced or accelerated level, not just at a “proficient” level.
Three districts in Northeast Ohio were higher than Aurora in P.I. — Rocky River (third), Solon (fifth) and Hudson (13th), while Cuyahoga Heights was tied with Aurora. Madeira, a suburban district near Cincinnati, was No. 1.
Aurora received a C in the “lowest 20 value-added” category. Data from state tests over multiple years are examined through a series of calculations to produce value-added designations. Additionally, the tests determine progress of the specific groups of students.
Bennett said he was not concerned about that grade, noting it signifies the district is meeting the standard.
“To get an A, we’d have to perform two levels above the standard,” he explained. “With our gifted students already performing in the high 90th percentile, it’s very difficult to do that. Although some people might look at a C as being a low grade, we’ve still met the target.”
Aurora received a B in annual measurable objectives, which focus on specific racial and demographic groups of students. Each group is compared against the collective performance of all students in Ohio, and that determines if there are gaps in academic achievement between groups.
Also in 2013, Harmon School was designated a National Blue Ribbon Schoolby the U.S. Department of Education as measured by assessments referenced against national norms in reading and mathematics.

 

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