The recently released state report cards on Ohio schools isn’t a complete picture of how local school systems are doing, say some area education officials.
Butler County’s largest school district — the 16,500-student Lakota Schools — recently mailed out their own “Quality Profile” report out to homes and businesses in West Chester and Liberty townships.
Though Lakota was among the half of Butler County districts to receive a “B” on the Ohio Department of Education’s annual report card — no district earned an “A” — officials said they joined a statewide group that generates the additional report to provide the Lakota community a more comprehensive view of how the district is performing.
“The state report card is just one tool for measuring our progress toward meeting state-directed benchmarks,” said Lakota Schools Superintendent Matt Miller.
“At Lakota Schools we go beyond the state minimums in many areas that are not captured and shared in the report card. The Quality Profile is designed to fill that gap by showcasing our performance in areas we value most, as well as sharing our goals for future growth,” Miller said.
The Lakota, Monroe, Edgewood, Fairfield, Middletown and Talawanda districts in Butler County are among the 85 member school systems of the statewide Alliance for High Quality Education, which oversees the annual district profiles.
In Warren County, Mason, Kings and Little Miami schools are also members of the alliance.
Lakota’s profile report is available on its website.
The profiles are based on six categories: academics, arts, student leadership and activities, fiscal stewardship, parent and community involvement, and student services.
Lakota’s report includes information touting the district’s financial state, which is not covered by the state’s annual report card but is of keen interest to residents given that local school taxes are the primary funding source for Ohio public schools.
According to the report, the district has maintained a balanced budget since 2012 and projects that will remain until at least 2022. Lakota has also maintained a bond rating of “Aa1” by Moody’s Investors Service.
In the area of community involvement, which is also not addressed in the state’s report, Lakota touts that its officials conducted 42 “community listening sessions” and held 175 parent and community engagement events and delivered 1.7 million emailed messages to school residents and businesses in the 2017-18 school year.
Miller said “the quality profile showcases, and dives deeper into, six areas we believe to be high priorities for our district. It goes beyond the state-mandated testing results, because our students and our schools are more than just a number.”
Monroe Superintendent Kathy Demers said her district decided to participate in the alliance of school profiles because the annual report “provides the opportunity for us to share more with our community about what we offer as a district and areas of student achievement beyond state testing.”
According to Monroe’s report the district’s average cost per pupil of $8,373 compares favorably with the state average of $11,603 and districts of similar size and demographics’ average student cost of $11,009.
And Monroe touts that of the 180 members of its most recent graduating class, 57 graduated with honors.
“We are proud of the well-rounded curricular and extra-curricular education we offer our students including academics, fine arts, athletics, various clubs and activities,” Demers said.