Trotwood avoids takeover, board president says schools on path to ‘A’ grade

Trotwood-Madison school officials were celebrating and focusing on the future Thursday, as the new state report card showed the district made enough improvement in 2017-18 to avoid state takeover.

Trotwood needed to avoid an “F” on the report card’s new overall grade, and improvements in test scores and gap closing helped the district earn an overall “D” — not great, but a step in the right direction. School board President Denise Moore said Trotwood will become an “A” district.

FULL REPORT CARD: View results for area districts

“We’re excited, and we know that we have a strategic plan in place now that’s going to allow us to make even greater gains,” interim superintendent Tyrone Olverson said.

Trotwood still received multiple F’s on the report card, including in the the primary achievement and student growth categories. But after finishing last of Ohio’s 608 school districts last year in test performance index, Trotwood jumped over four districts this year.

The district’s performance index percentage increased from 45.9 to 49.5, the largest increase in the region.

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It also received D’s for graduation rate and for work helping young readers improve. But the best grade was a “B” in gap closing, which reports whether each subgroup of students (by race, economics, disability, etc.) narrowed achievement gaps when compared with the student body as a whole.

Olverson, who joined Trotwood schools near the end of last school year, called the gap closing grade a pleasant surprise, as the district went from an “F” last year to a “B” this year. He was headed to a meeting Thursday morning to review the state data and better understand last year’s efforts on that front.

Olverson emphasized the district still needs significant improvement. He and Moore both thanked families, school staff and community members for buying into the turnaround efforts the district has started this year.

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“First and foremost, we have changed the culture here in Trotwood. We have raised the expectations and the standards,” Moore said. “Now we charge the superintendent and cabinet with implementation of the strategic plan. … The goals that we’ve outlined will take us to the top. We will be an ‘A’ district.”

Olverson, has worked with the school board to implement a turnaround plan since he was hired in April, just as last year’s state tests were wrapping up. Olverson said the plan overlaps with recommendations from the state review team that has been working with Trotwood.

The district has reassigned many staff members, increased teacher training to align classroom approaches and hired social workers to address non-academic problems holding students back.

Only two Ohio school districts have been in the state takeover system the past few years, Youngstown and Lorain.

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