Large local school districts shine on report card’s growth measure

Kettering, Troy, Centerville, Northmont were among the state’s best on student progress

Several of the Miami Valley’s large suburban school districts scored especially high in student growth on the 2021-22 state report cards, an encouraging sign as schools attempt to rebound from COVID-era learning loss.

Student growth is also called “progress” or “value-added” on the report card, measuring how students improved year-over-year on state standardized tests.

Of the 11 largest school districts in the Dayton area, about half of them (Centerville, Kettering, Northmont, Troy and Springboro) got the maximum five stars on the progress rating. Those first four also ranked in the top 6% of the entire state in “effect size,” which the Ohio Department of Education says “tells us the magnitude of academic growth relative to the state as a whole.”

“We are particularly proud of the progress we’ve made,” Troy Schools Superintendent Chris Piper said after Troy ranked 23rd out of 606 Ohio districts in effect size. “We are focused on improving student learning, and it’s good to see that hard work paying off.”

Troy received about $8.1 million in federal COVID-19 relief funding after the pandemic caused schools to shut down. The district said it has spent nearly $5 million, mostly on facilities and instruction.

Kettering schools had the highest student growth scores in the region, ranking 15th in the state on “effect size” and third overall in the state’s “growth index.” Kettering City Schools officials told the paper earlier this year that the district’s $18.3 million in COVID-19 money went in part towards reading and math summer interventions.

The district also paid aides and teachers during extended school days to help kids catch up and hired additional school nurses and school-based therapists.

Dan Von Handorf, Kettering’s assistant superintendent of teaching and learning, said the way the district used COVID-19 funds contributed to the growth.

“We could not be more proud of the growth our students made this past year. It has been a challenging couple of years. Through this challenge, our students, parents, teachers and administrators continued to work together, and the effectiveness of this teamwork is evidenced in our report card results,” Von Handorf said.

Centerville Schools got about $9.1 million in federal COVID-19 relief for K-12 schools. Like Kettering, Centerville spent much of the funds on teacher salaries.

“We are very encouraged by the learning rebounds we are seeing in our schools,” said Cherie Colopy, Centerville’s director of elementary curriculum. “There is always room for improvement, but over the past year, we have seen growth in all areas.”

Northmont Schools got about $8.3 million in COVID-19 relief funding and offered tutoring and mentoring once school returned to in-person learning.

“Helping students grow is always our goal, and to see that much growth is a great accomplishment,” said Susanne Lintz, Northmont’s assistant superintendent/director of curriculum, instruction, and technology.

Several smaller local school districts that traditionally score high on the state report card also did well on report card growth measures. Miami East, Bellbrook, Oakwood and Versailles also ranked in the top 10% of Ohio districts on the “effect size” measure.

Critics of Ohio’s school report cards have long pointed to the fact that achievement scores largely mirror wealth and poverty data, with Oakwood at the top and Dayton near the bottom. The progress measure has been touted as an alternative, as every district can achieve growth of some kind.

Most of the local schools that scored highest on progress are in the upper half of the state economically. But Hamilton and Middletown schools, which are lower-income, earned 4 stars out of 5. And Kettering schools scored highest locally in progress despite ranking 24th out of 40 local districts in median income.

State Report Card progress leaders

The numbers on the left edge of these lists are statewide ranks out of 606 school districts

VALUE-ADDED GROWTH INDEX (268 districts positive, 1 flat, 337 negative)

3 — Kettering, 19.97

7 — Centerville, 15.54

20 — Troy, 12.86

21 — Northmont, 12.71

37 — Hamilton, 8.95

40 — Bellbrook, 8.71

43 — Springboro, 8.37

55 — Miami East, 7.45

58 — Oakwood, 7.05

Ohio Department of Education definition: The growth index can include several years of growth data and helps determine the certainty that the expected growth or shortfall did happen. The growth index will fall in the range of +20 to -20 for almost all schools and districts.

VALUE-ADDED EFFECT SIZE (258 districts positive, 33 flat, 315 negative)

15 — Kettering, 0.21

23 — Troy, 0.18

34 — Miami East, 0.17

35 — Centerville, 0.16

36 — Northmont, 0.16

38 — Bellbrook, 0.15

45 — Oakwood, 0.14

58 — Clark-Shawnee, 0.12

60 — Versailles, 0.12

Ohio Department of Education definition: Effect Size tells us the magnitude of academic growth relative to the state as a whole.

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