Board takes closer look at report card


By Cecilia Fox - cfox@civitasmedia.com



HUBER HEIGHTS — At their meeting Thursday, the Huber Heights Board of Education heard an in-depth analysis of the district’s state report card.

“At face value, when you look at two Ds, a C, and an F, we weren’t necessarily happy with those scores,” assistant superintendent Shelley Hildebrand said. “But you have to kind of peel back the layers.”

The district earned letter grades in categories like achievement, gap closing, K-3 literacy, graduation rates, and progress. An overall district grade will not be released until 2018.

While overall scores are low, there are still some reasons to celebrate, Hildebrand said. The district received high marks across all grade levels in reading, she pointed out.

Hildebrand also added that the state scores don’t reflect growth from year to year.

“An F is a range between a zero and a 59.9 percent. Sometimes when you have growth from a previous score being a 20 percent and you grew to a 55 percent, there was a lot of growth in there…Even though it says an F or a D, we’ve had some celebration behind some of those letters,” she said.

Some of the benchmarks were the same as previous years, Hildebrand said, but there was a new state test, which affected the district’s achievement scores.

The district scored a D — 69.8 percent — on the achievement performance index, which measures student performance on state tests.

“Last year we did have a new assessment and they did give us a different set of standards to which to achieve,” Hildebrand said.

She explained that the district had to aim for a higher achievement level using new standards, and had a relatively short amount of time to teach to those standards.

“We were running in about the mid-90s for several years,” Hildebrand said of the district’s performance index scores. “We dropped down to the mid to low 80s last year, why was that?

That drop in performance index scores is largely due to parent refusal of testing, Hildebrand said.

Last year parents were able to opt their children out of state testing. When students opt out of state testing, the state counts that against the district, she explained.

“And that’s a parent’s right,” Hildebrand said. The district received more than 100 zeros in that category, reflecting the number of tests students opted out of.

“When you calculate a zero into an average, we all know what happens to the average. It drops,” she added.

Achievement scores are also affected by many other outside factors that the report card can’t measure, Hildebrand explained.

“It is affected when a student comes to school hungry in the morning, it is affected by social economics, it is affected sometimes by ethnicity, it is affected by whether or not a student has been identified with a learning disability,” Hildebrand said.

While student achievement is affected by different factors, Hildebrand said that all students have the ability to grow, learn and improve.

“We’ve been through a lot as a district. We’ve been through financial situations, we’ve been through cuts,” Hildebrand said. “When you don’t have the right resources in front of you, when you don’t have the right curriculum, that impacts you.”

Hildebrand added that the district has a lot of room for improvement in categories like gap closing — which measures how students from different economic and racial backgrounds and students with disabilities achieve — and the graduation rate, which is currently a C at 84.2 percent.

“Do we have a lot of work to do? Yes we do,” Hildebrand said. “But we want to encourage people to pull back the layers and don’t take those Fs and Ds at face value.”

In other business, the board discussed plans to add another driveway at Rushmore Elementary School.

The installation of an extended driveway would cut down on traffic in the neighborhood, as well as streamline student drop off and pick up, Superintendent Susan Gunnell said.

The district will advertise for bids for the project.

The board also set the Class of 2017 commencement ceremony for 6 p.m. on Sunday, May 21, 2017, at the E.J. Nutter Center.

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By Cecilia Fox

cfox@civitasmedia.com

Reach Cecilia at cfox@civitasmedia.com or at (937) 552-2205.

Reach Cecilia at cfox@civitasmedia.com or at (937) 552-2205.