SPRINGFIELD TWP.  With the Ohio Department of Education's release of state report cards last month, Springfield Local School District officials are stressing that people take an overall look while reviewing the final letter grades.

"You have to take everything in to account," said Springfield Curriculum Director Mary Meadows. "For example, What is the most important thing? Are indicators the most important, or is progress the most important?"

Meadows said each school district has its own way of looking at that. At Springfield, the goal is progess, which the report card shows the district is acheiving as it received an A in the Progress component, which mesauress growth students make from past performance. It also received straight As in the four sumponents that measure progress.

"We think that moving our kids is more important than getting indicators," she said. "Our kids are making leaps and bounds. We had an increase of over 28 percent more kids being proficient in several areas of the report card. "We have As in value added which means our students increased further than they were supposed to, our students with disabilities increased further than they were supposed to and our gifted students increased further than they were supposed to. That is huge, that means our students are growing. That is what we want our kids to do, we don't want stagnant students, we want them to be able to go up and up."

Meadows pointed out that by allowing students to retake the assessment tests in areas where they did not score well can be counted against the school, "But, that is what is best for kids and it counts against the school," she said.

The district received a D in Achievement, which represents the number of students who passed the achievement tests and how well they performed. Last year, several indicator grades were set as 64 counting as passing. This year, however, all indicators went to 80 percent to be counted as passing. The intention is for it to stay at 80 percent to pass, and officials say the changes make it difficult to compare the grades with last year's because the Ohio Graduation Test scores are also not included in the indicators as they were a year ago.

"If you look at growth, we had amazing growth last year and we have the same growth this year," Meadows said. "We count that as a win. An A in the growth area is huge for us."

The comparison chart on the Ohio Department of Education website shows, out of the 608 districts, Springfield ranked 137 in value added, which tracks growth.

"I think that is pretty good," Meadows said. "I would like to be one or two, but we are having our students grow. They are learning and that is what is important."

Other grades for Springfield were a D in Gap Closing, which shows how well schools are meeting the performance expectations. The district received a B in graduation rate, which looks at the percent of students who are graduating in four or five years. It received a D in prepared for success, which measures training in technical field or preparing for work or college. It looks at how well students are prepared of future opportunities. Also, it received a C in K-3 literacy.

Superintendent Chuck Sincere said the purpose of the report card is to help identify strengths and weaknesses of each district’s educational program and performance.

"This report card does not consistently measure how Springfield is actually performing," he said. "It fails to display everything we have to offer and the many things we do well," 

Sincere said that the district uses the report card to support ongoing discussions about school improvement and performance strategies.

"We will improve," he said, adding that great things are happening in the schools every day. "Our students are engaged and excited about learning and participate in high quality educational programs. Our teachers care about their students and go to great lengths to provide high-quality learning opportunities. We’re proud of our dedicated students and staff." 

Overall, Meadows said that district officials won't be completely satisfied with the scores until Springfield receives straight As.

"Overall, do we love our report card score? No, we don't," she said. "We know we can do better and we are going to work constantly to get better. That is really what it is all about, just getting better. We are teachers, we are educators, we want what is best for kids."