How should you interpret the Ohio school “report card” info?

by | Oct 7, 2016 | Schools & Education

Friday, October 7, 2016 – Every year when the Ohio Department of Education releases its State Report Card, there are dozens of school districts painted with a single brush stroke by the letter grade they receive. But Greg Hutchings, the Superintendent of Shaker Heights schools says it best: “it is important to remember that one data point – a state assessment administered last year – does not define the quality of our schools, our students, our teachers or our administrators.”
The truth of the matter is that the Ohio Department of Education has used three new assessments in three years which makes it inevitable that scores go down. Not only do they have a new assessment every year, but the state’s learning objectives and benchmarks have also changed and it takes time to establish a curriculum that aligns to the state’s new learning objectives.
So schools that receive a C or D should not be completely eliminated from your short list of schools to consider if you are relocating to NE Ohio. You must consider all aspects of the school district. Do they provide the critical extracurriculars that your children love (music, art, drama, sports), what are their graduation rates? how active are the parents in the school? what colleges are the seniors going to after they graduate? Does the diversity of the school play an important role in shaping your child for life after school (including religion, race, ethnicity, socio-economic, etc.)? Does the school “teach to the test” using this measurement above all others?
Meet with parents, talk to the administrators, tour the school while kids are learning, ask about AP courses, IB programs, typical ACT & SAT scores, etc.
A Shaker mom was in our office today and said “Last week one of the Shaker high school teachers was at the home of a student watching the presidential debate because the class was asking so many questions about our system of government and they thought this could be the ideal way to discuss it with them. When was the last time you heard of a teacher at a student’s home? …..and when a friend’s son forgot his lunch, the teacher asked the cafeteria to put it on their account…..and a math teacher of one of my children starts their class every Monday by asking the children what they did over the weekend that brought them joy. A math teacher who is reminding kids to find joy in things! This is the kind of school I want my kids to attend. One that works to do whatever it takes to help a kid succeed.”
Rich Exner, the facts & figures guru of Cleveland.com has created a searchable database on this topic.
We we challenge parents to look for THAT kind of school, regardless of  whether or not it got an A on the Ohio State Report Cards. And, if your company thinks it would be useful to have the help of Executive Arrangements as out of town recruits/new hires struggle to navigate the complicated world of finding the right school for their kids as they relocate to NE Ohio, call us: 216.231.9311. It’s just one of the many ways we help carefully match candidates & newcomers to the things that they need in Cleveland or Akron to quickly acclimate and connect in their new town.