Report cards frustrate Wauseon school super

Staff report

An afternoon meeting of the Wauseon Board of Education held Sept. 27 focused on Superintendent Troy Armstrong’s candid appraisal of the school district’s state report card results.

During a lengthy presentation to board members, Armstrong expressed his frustration with the methodology the Ohio Board of Education uses to assign grades to the state’s school districts. Wauseon schools received an overall C rating, and were given a B in the Progress, Gap Closing, and Graduation Rate components, a D in the Improving At-Risk K-3 Readers component, and an F in the Prepared for Success component.

The superintendent said Monday that, while he’s not satisfied with the district’s C rating or the two lowest component ratings, the most important component is Gap Closing, which looks at the school district’s subgroups and whether students gained a full-year’s growth in them.

“We far exceeded the state’s goal,” he said. He said the district’s Gap Closing rating was one-tenth of a percent from an A rating.

However, he believes the state grade card doesn’t accurately reflect the performance of the district’s students, particularly in the Prepared for Success grade. That component looks at the percentage of students passing the ACT test, the number of students earning an honors diploma or an industry-recognized credential, those participating in advanced placement, those who scored three or better on an advanced placement test, and those who are dually enrolled in high school and college courses.

The ODE requires that students leave high school ready for college, the military, a straight path into the work force or the ability to earn a living wage. However, Armstrong said, the Prepared for Success component judges only on those students going to college.

“Wauseon schools absolutely prepare students for success after high school,” he said.

Armstrong said the school district “will certainly dig into our data and see what areas we can improve upon.” But he added that Ohio’s report card system is currently under review for another revision, “which is another frustration, in that the target keeps moving.“

In other business, the board members approved the following personnel items for the current school year: the resignation of bus driver Margaret VanGunten for the purpose of retirement; the transfer of elementary school teacher April Jackson to a middle school teacher’s aide; Christopher Yackee as a full-time bus driver; Carrie Dobaczewski as a substitute bus driver; Michelle Cantu and Michele Rittichier as detention and Saturday school monitors; one-year limited certified supplemental contracts to Christian Crew as junior high track coach and Kristin Woodard as piano accompanist; a one-year limited outside supplemental contract to Ryan Soekarmoen as an instrumental specialist.

Volunteer coaching positions: Tony Banister, high school wrestling; Mark Britsch, assistant, boys basketball; Nick Tule and Dave Wyper, high school wrestling; Kris Boysel, Austin Kutzli, and Dylan Nicely, wrestling.

Volunteer trainers: Lindsay Renfer and Aubrey Starkweather.

The board also approved the purchase of two school buses with up to 84-passenger capacity. They will be bid this month through the Ohio Schools Council, with approximate costs of $65,000 and $77,000.

Board members acknowledged that Neola career advising continues to meet the school district’s needs. The company is an educational consulting firm.

And they approved a “Then and Now” certificate for a Newsela PRO school license in the amount of $9,450.

Staff report