As we move into Fall, the weather seems to be settling down; so hopefully, we won’t have to worry about the discomfort the heat waves have recently brought. Before we know it, we will be battling the snow-covered roads, inclement weather, and freezing temperatures!
On September 13, 2018, the Ohio Department of Education released the 2016-2017 report cards for schools and districts across the state. As a district, we acknowledge that our grades are not where we would like to see them, but we vow to continue to provide excellent instruction and support to our students in helping them reach the high levels of academic achievement that we know they are capable of attaining.
While we managed to evade the threat of state takeover by receiving an overall grade of a D (a new addition to the report card), we still have much work to do. Sadly, our neighbor to the west, East Cleveland Schools weren’t so lucky. They received an overall grade of F, which made then fall victim to state takeover/receivership. They will join the company of Lorain and Youngstown School Districts, who in the last two years under state receivership both received an F!
I recognize our focus isn’t on surrounding districts; but in light of what has been happening across the state, I feel I would be remiss if I did not paint a portrait of what public educators are experiencing. Our district showed some improvement. We increased in the Gap Closing measure from an F to a C. We also improved in our value-added measure, going from an F to a D. This measure looks at groups of students and compares them to the expected growth of students statewide. We are not pleased with this grade and will work diligently to figure out the root causes of the low grade, but we did make some progress from last year. We dropped in our graduation rate from a C to a D. Last year we had an 84% graduation rate, which was the lowest C possible, and by slipping 1.4%, we went down an entire letter grade to a D. Please keep in mind this is from 2017 graduation. We anticipate our 2018 graduates to be closer to 89%, which will be reflected on next year’s report card.
How did we measure up to our peers? The inner-ring suburbs, with whom we often compare ourselves, received the following grades:
Grade B: Cuyahoga Heights
Grade C: Berea, Lakewood, Shaker, Brooklyn, Fairview Park
Grade D: Parma, Cleveland Heights, Warrensville, Richmond Heights, Maple Heights, Garfield Heights, Bedford, South Euclid-Lyndhurst
Grade F: Cleveland, East Cleveland, Euclid
The distribution of district overall grades across the state are as follows:
A - 28 districts (4.6%)
B - 191 districts (31.4%)
C- 253 districts (41.6%)
D- 122 districts (20%)
F - 14 districts (2.3%)
For charter schools, the breakdown is as follows:
A – 5 (1.9%)
B – 26 (10%)
C- 55 (21.1%)
D – 95 (30.3%)
F – 79 (31.6%)
You can clearly see the astounding differences between charter and public schools. Again, although that is not our focus, we pay close attention to this because many of our legislators believe in choice and in funding charter schools, which often produce abysmal results.
We continue to strive for excellence and in doing so, we provide our students with numerous options to help them to be successful in school. We offer 165 courses at the high school with many opportunities for students to gain college credit and associate degrees. We also offer a host of career and technical education courses in five different districts in which students can enroll. In the last few years, we have added a number of extracurricular activities at no charge to our students.
At our elementary schools, we provide a strong foundation for learning and intense intervention for struggling learners. We offer a host of interventions during the school day, after school and through summer programs. We also have both all-day and half-day preschool so our young students can get a jump-start on their learning!
We offer mental health supports and wrap-around services at all of our schools. This year we added nurse and social worker interns to help better serve our students, recognizing that mental health and social-emotional supports are critical to student success.
The Bedford City Schools has a wealth of resources we offer students, too many to list here. I would encourage you to explore our newly improved website which spotlights a number of the great things that are happening in our district and for our students. As always, we will continue to work relentlessly on behalf of our children. Thank you for your support and continued dedication to our schools, students, staff, and families.