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Aurora schools post 10th highest Performance Index in Ohio

by KEN LAHMERS | EDITOR Published: September 21, 2016 1:00 AM
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Aurora -- Although there was a slight drop in the district's overall report card rating, the Aurora schools remain among the state's elite, and local officials are not worried.

The Ohio Department of Education's 2015-16 report card data was released Sept. 15.

"The report card grades are a bit lower than last year, but our slight decline was much less than that experienced by most other districts," said Superintendent Pat Ciccantelli.

"The scores still reflect achievement levels and student growth levels that rank us in the top academic performance tier in the state."

Aurora's performance index was 104.5 out of a possible 120, a B grade and 10th best in the state, but slightly below its 2015 index of 107.5. Solon posted the highest PI in Ohio.

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The PI is one of two subcategories under achievement; the other is indicators met, for which Aurora received an A.

Only two districts statewide received A's for PI. An A requires a PI of at least 108.

PI measures the test results of every student, not just those who score proficient or higher. "Indicators met" measures the percent of students who have passed state tests, and includes the gifted indicator.

Aurora received one A (for graduation rate) and four B's (for achievement, gap closing, progress and prepared for success).

The ODE said no rating was given for K-3 literacy, because the district had fewer than 5 percent of its youngest students who read below grade level in 2015-16.

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There will not be an overall grade for a district or school until 2018.

Under the value-added category, Aurora received A's for the overall and gifted subcategories, and C's for students with disabilities and lowest 20 percent in achievement.

Last year, Aurora got an A for students with disabilities on its 2015 report card.

"Although a C is not our goal, it reflects one year's worth of growth," said Ciccantelli. "The grade of A in our overall value-added score and in the gifted subgroup reflects over two years worth of growth in a single school year.

"ALTHOUGH we're not satisfied with the C grade, it does reflect at least an expected year of learning.

"On the achievement side, our scores still rank us in the top 1 percent to 2 percent among districts statewide despite earning a B as an overall mark. Only a very few districts [eight] earned an A in this category."

He said the report card results are just one set of data that the local district uses to measure its students' learning.

"We also look at our ACT, SAT and Advanced Placement scores, plus other data such as our own summative assessments," he noted.

"The outstanding scores on these assessments help confirm our students and staff are doing an incredible job."

The schools chief added the district will continue to work hard to provide the very best education possible. "Our students continue to perform at very high levels, and we are proud of their accomplishments," he concluded.

School Board President Gerald Kohanski also lauded the district's performance.

"We continue to maintain our position as one of the outstanding districts in the state," he said. "This achievement includes two national Blue Ribbon school and middle and high schools that are highly ranked by national publications.

"Schools today are faced with the challenge of many ranking systems, the criteria for which are continuously evolving and changing.

"The one constant for Aurora's schools is the continuing outstanding performance by its students, no matter what rating system is used.

"The Board is extremely proud of our students, teachers, staff and administration, and believes we continue to offer excellent value in education and opportunities for student growth."

"Ohio has raised expectations to reflect what is necessary for students to be successful in college, careers and life. This year's report cards and grades we're seeing reflect a system in transition," said Ohio Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria.

"They reflect new tests, higher achievement targets and more challenging expectations. Improvement is happening. With time, it will begin to show on the report cards."

Email: klahmers@recorpdub.com

Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4189

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