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Forest Hills shares update on academic programming, report card

August 26, 2016

This fall, the Ohio Department of Education will release its annual local report card for schools and districts across the state. Among other details, the report card is intended to share information on student performance on state tests.

During the August 22 Forest Hills Board of Education meeting, Natasha Adams, FHSD director of curriculum, instruction and assessment, provided a preliminary look at the data that will be included in the state’s report card.

“Achieving personal success each day and passing a state test that is given in one moment in time are two different things,” said Adams.  “Even though Forest Hills prides itself in the collection of student data on a regular basis to inform instruction, the state measures student, school and district achievement with only one test per year. Moreover, during the past three years, the state’s testing format and content has changed each year, making it difficult for school districts to effectively use the information provided.” 

Adams further stated that Forest Hills looks forward to state testing stability and consistency from year to year because, according to Adams, it takes three to five years of stability to effectively influence instruction and programmatic improvement decisions. 

“Accountability is important to us but we believe, in the midst of all of this change, Forest Hills students and staff rose to the challenge and have much to celebrate,” said Adams.

Based on preliminary Ohio Department of Education report card information, Forest Hills will earn 98.9 of the possible 120 points and maintain a rating of “B” on the Performance Index, which measures student achievement. According to preliminary results, this level of achievement places Forest Hills in the top 10 percent of all districts in the state according to Performance Index results. 

In addition, 100 percent of Forest Hills third-graders met the requirements of Ohio’s Third Grade Reading Guarantee.  Forest Hills’ grade on the K-3 Literacy Measurement also improved, meaning struggling readers have increased their skill sets and are on-track to meet the Third Grade Reading Guarantee.

Forest Hills will also maintain its “A” rating for the graduation rate measurement by increasing .5 percentage points with 95.8 percent of students graduating in four years.
For the first time, the state assigned a grade for the Prepared for Success measurement which is intended to indicate if graduates are prepared for college and careers.  This is calculated by assessing the performance of students who earned remediation-free scores on ACT and SAT college admissions exams, the percent of students who graduated having earned an honors diploma, high scores on Advanced Placement exams and students who participated in College Credit Plus programs.  Forest Hills earned a grade of “B” in this measurement.

FHSD earned "A's" on all progress measurement components, which measure student academic growth during the year.  This grade indicates more than two years of growth for students.

“We are proud that our students continue to excel and congratulate them,” said Adams.  “Moving forward, we will continue targeted work to meet and exceed state requirements as Ohio raises expectations for students, schools and districts.”

Like many districts across the state, Forest Hills is challenged with the Gap Closing component of the report card which measures how well students succeed regardless of income, race, ethnicity or disability. Due to changes in the state report card, FHSD and many school districts across the state will receive lower results; the state assigned a Gap Closing grade of “F” to Forest Hills.  

Adams commented on these results by stating, “We are always striving to improve instruction, empower learners and personalize learning to meet the needs of each individual student. We are going to recalibrate and refocus so we continue to increase our performance and remain a district of excellence.”

To do this, the district will focus on three areas, each including a research-based approach to foster increased learning results and collaboration. First, the district has created continuous improvement plans in all buildings that focus on literacy, mathematics and gap closing. Secondly, the district will implement professional learning communities at all grade levels so educators can work in more collaborative ways to support students academically, socially, emotionally and physically. The final area of focus, called Positive Behavioral Supports and Interventions, will help students focus on academics, improve social behavior and achieve higher academic outcomes. 

“Our long-term goal is not just about helping a student pass one test; it is about fostering the love of learning, pursuing excellence and meeting the needs of each child,” said Adams.

Scot T. Prebles, FHSD superintendent, agreed.

“While we welcome the state’s data as it helps us refine our instructional practices to better serve students, it does not share information on all of the comprehensive programs and services that our community values,” said Prebles.  “Therefore, we will soon release a Quality Profile as a supplement to the state report card to share information on the arts, student leadership, student services and the district's fiscal stewardship.  We are proud of our students, staff, parents and greater community and are hopeful that the Quality Profile provides additional information regarding the excellence we seek to achieve.”