Little Miami Superintendent Greg Power Releases Statement after District falls in State Report Card
Since my last post, Little Miami received word that our district’s rating had dropped from “Excellent” to “Effective” on the Ohio Dept. of Education’s school report card.
As I said in media accounts at the time, this was bad news, but it was not entirely unexpected. The financial challenges we have faced over the last three years have profoundly affected what goes on in our classrooms. When state minimum operating standards have been imposed upon by us a state oversight commission, it can’t help but show up in the academic performance of our students.
At Little Miami, we reject the state’s idea that test data captured on a single day gives an accurate portrayal of the quality of a Little Miami education, but our new rating does remind us that we have a lot of ground to make up with our students. For example:
Our kindergarten, first, second and third grade students were given a new Fountas & Pinnell literacy assessment in September to get a better picture of their reading levels as part of theThird Grade Reading Guarantee. We chose this assessment because it more closely aligns with the new, more rigorous national Common Core Language Arts standards.
What we found was concerning: More than 500 students in grades K-3 are not reading at grade level. These numbers are a bit higher than expected, but we anticipated a high number because the Fountas & Pinnell test is more rigorous than current state tests. We anticipate that many students will very quickly reach grade level expectations with this extra attention and support.
Ohio school districts were given the option of choosing their own assessment tool this year. Little Miami could have selected a less rigorous test, but we felt this would be a disservice to our students, especially with the new Common Core State Standards coming in 2014.
We instead chose the rigorous F&P test, and will now institute an intensive intervention plan for these students, which will be 30 minutes per day, four days per week for a five-week period, and will then re-assess students’ progress. Our plan is to aggressively intervene with kindergarten students, eliminating as many future deficits as possible as these students move through higher grade levels.
As we get back on track with our student academics, we also plan to provide more support and training for our teachers, something we have not been able to do for a few years now. In fact, our teachers will spend their in-service day on Nov. 6 in professional development sessions, digging deeper into Common Core standards. It’s the first November Election Day in four years a Little Miami levy has not been on the ballot, and the symbolism is not lost on us.