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State Performance Index reviewed by Superintendent

September 26, 2018
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

The state's performance index was released recently for the 2017-18 school year and Austintown Local Schools has shown some improvement.

"We are where we need to be," said Superintendent Vince Colaluca. "We can always get better."

For the numbers, Austintown Local Schools ranked 10th in Mahoning County and improved from 88.1 in 2017 to 88.9 this year. It gave the district a C overall. While the improvement is welcomed, Colaluca still said the performance audit has some areas that aren't fair to Ohio school districts.

On the plus side, Austintown got an A in progress, or how the child is growing over months of instruction. Colaluca said this area should carry the most weight in how a district performs.

Austintown got a B in the graduation rate as well as gap closing. In gap closing, a district is rated as to meeting the standards for sub groups that includes ethnic, financial, and handicapped break downs.

"We met nine of the eleven categories," Colaluca said. "We have struggled in this area in the past."

He said gap closing is the old No Child Left Behind act.

The two areas that Austintown and most other school districts didn't do well are achievement and preparing for success where the district received a D and F. The preparing for success area is where various districts use different programs that will affect that score.

Colaluca said Austintown uses College Credit Plus classes that are basically college-level classes ran by teachers who are equal to college professors. At the end students are tested and the test results are accepted by all public colleges and universities. Austintown has 11 College Credit Plus courses that are different from AP (Advanced Placement) courses where Colaluca said parents have to pay for the course exam for college credit. The AP courses are what the prepared for success area is based on.

"I don't feel it fair to evaluate a district based on the programs it chooses," he said.

He said it also involves the number of kids going into college. In Austintown, a good number of students enter skilled trade fields. These kids don't need to be concerned with the ACT tests, but the state includes them in the performance audit.

"You don't care how your plumber did on the ACT test, only that he has his plumber's certificate," Colaluca said. "There is just too much emphasis on this one-time test for college."

On the achievement side, Colaluca said the state used to use a 75 percent requirement, meaning that amount had to get a C or better. The state has moved that minimum to 80 percent and many districts are finding they are unable to get a good score.

"We are pushing the state to return to 75 percent," Colaluca said.

Also new for this year is the overall grade, which Austintown received a C. Colaluca said he is still pleased with the results that are shown in the caliber of students that graduate from Austintown.

"This one-time look into our district is all about the numbers, but the real key is the high quality citizens we put out, not high test scores," he said.



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