It wasn’t too many years ago that Big Walnut would receive an Excellent or Excellent With Distinction on an Ohio Department of Education State Report Card. However, the district’s latest report card, issued last week by the ODE, makes Big Walnut look like an average student.
Big Walnut received a C letter grade in Achievement (with a sub-grade of C in Performance Index and a D in Indicators Met); an F in Gap Closing; a D in K-3 Literacy; a B in Progress (C Overall, B in Gifted, C in Lowest 20 Percent Achievement, C in Students With Disabilities); an A in Graduation Rate (98.7 percent of Students Graduate in Five Years); and a C in Prepared For Success.
During the Sept. 15 Big Walnut Board of Education meeting, district superintendent Angie Pollock said some school districts put a large part of their budget into just serving those students which will give them a higher Gap Closing score to avoid the F grade in that report card module that has been plaguing school district’s across Ohio.
“In some districts they target those kids,” Pollock said. “That’s not our philosophy in this district. We want all kids to do better. Any student not at level in any area is going to get the same resources.”
District Director of Academic Achievement Jen Young said state Superintendent Paolo DeMaria has called the ODE’s State Report Card a system in transition.
“According to this, we’re all performing very poorly,” Young said. “We look at the state data, but fortunately, we also look at other data as well.”
Board member Allison Fagan said that during a recent Ohio School Boards Association Candidate’s brunch she spoke with Rick Carfagna, the Republican candidate for the 68th Ohio House District, about Big Walnut’s frustration with shifting education funding models and graduation requirements.
Former board member Verna Hines was in the chambers for the board meeting. Hines, a former teacher, said the ODE’s 2015-16 State Report Card showed too many undeserved failures.
“Somebody needs to get to somebody and say something about this,” Hines told board members.
In response to 2014-15 ODE Report Card, the Big Walnut district published a Quality Profile that includes a District Overview, a review of Big Walnut’s 2020 Vision, an Academic Achievement page, a look at Student Culture at Big Walnut, a Staff Leadership & Development and Community Involvement page, and an overview of the district’s Fiscal Stewardship.
To download the Big Walnut Local School District Quality Profile, go to the school district’s website at bigwalnut.k12.oh.us and on the left rail click Quality Profile.
Pollock said for additional information about Big Walnut’s performance members of the public are invited to attend the 2016 Big Walnut Local School District State of the Schools presentation at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, November 1, at Big Walnut Middle School.
Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093.