State report cards: Toledo fails; Perrysburg, Ottawa Hills top area school districts

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    Kathleen Jones, top left, teaches a group of sixth graders Thursday at Sherman Elementary School in Toledo.

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  • The tables have turned. Instead of students receiving grades, school districts are being evaluated by the state.

    The Ohio Department of Education released state report cards Thursday and, for the first time, each district received a specific A through F letter grade. 

    In the Toledo metro region, Perrysburg and Ottawa Hills schools scored highest with “A” grades. Toledo Public Schools scored the lowest with an “F.”

    Sylvania, Maumee, Anthony Wayne, and Bowling Green schools achieved B grades while Washington Local, Oregon, Rossford, and Springfield schools were awarded C grades.

    Lake and Northwood schools in Wood County each earned a D.

    RELATED CONTENT: Look up your district ■ Toledo Public Schools report card ■ Perrysburg report card ■ Ottawa Hills report card

    Across the state, all but two of the state's urban school districts within Ohio 8 coalition — Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo, and Youngstown — received F grades. Cincinnati and Akron recorded a D grade.

    Perrysburg Superintendent Thomas Hosler said the district is pleased with the positive results, adding the report card grades only give a snapshot of how the district is performing.

    "The report card results show that our students and dedicated staff are doing some really great work," he said."But it doesn't tell the whole story of what a Perrysburg education is. Today we pause and say 'good job,' but there's more work to do."

    Districts earned letter grades based on six factors — achievement, progress, gap closing, graduation rate, improving at-risk K-3 readers, and preparation for success. Report cards are designed to give an indication about the performance of districts and schools as well as identify areas for improvement.

    The two most significant contributing factors into each district's overall grade are “achievement,” which calculated how students performed on state tests, and "progress," which measures the growth students made based on past performance.

    State report card grades have often been criticized by educators and lawmakers who say grades are too often linked to the poverty level of the district.

    TPS officials have likewise expressed frustration at being branded with a failing grade, arguing that the tests fail to account for the district's growth and unique challenges that transcend the classroom.

    The district has one of the state's highest disabled, impoverished, and homeless student population, said James Gault, TPS' director of curriculum and instruction.

    He added the state's grades don't show other improvement areas, such as how TPS’ overall graduation rate has increased from 63.9 percent in 2014 to 71.4 percent this year and is projected to reach about 80 percent in 2019.

    "There's progress happening," Mr. Gault said. "It's disheartening seeing what we're doing and what our kids are doing and it not be reflected in the grading process.

    "We have a very diverse population, students going to Harvard, students earning college credits, and students getting associate degrees."

    State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria also cautions against making sweeping judgments about a district based on the overall letter grade.

    “We encourage people to look underneath the data, dig in, and look at the details,” he said. “The report card isn’t the only part of gauging what a school is doing. Visiting schools, talking to students, teachers, and principals can give a more complete understanding.”

    Breakdown of grades for northwest Ohio school districts:

    • Anthony Wayne Local: B
    • Bowling Green: B
    • Maumee City: B
    • Oregon City: C
    • Ottawa Hills Local: A
    • Perrysburg Schools: A
    • Rossford: C
    • Springfield Local: C
    • Sylvania Schools: B
    • Toledo Public Schools: F
    • Washington Local: C

    Staff writer Lauren Lindstrom contributed to this report.

    Contact Javonte Anderson at janderson@theblade.com419-724-6065, or on Twitter @JavonteA.