Columbus City Schools Superintendent Statement Regarding Ohio's State Report Card Release
Ohio's State Report Card was released today. Below is a message Columbus City Schools Superintendent/CEO Dr. Talisa Dixon shared with the District's students, families and staff.
Dear CCS Community,
As many of you are aware, the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) released its 2021-2022 School Report Cards today.
View the Ohio School Report Card for Columbus City Schools here.
Like many districts across the nation, we are still navigating academic and social-emotional challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic. We know there is still much work to be done, and we are actively addressing issues and seeking to continually improve student outcomes.
The annual state report card is a reminder of the work ahead in CCS, but it does not show a whole picture of what students, families, teachers, and administrators have accomplished since the return to in-person learning last year.
I’d like to share some positives that aren’t reflected by the number of stars we see in this year’s report card:
- Overall, 16 of the 22 tested grades and subjects showed improvement, four remained stable (within 1% of last year), and only two declined by more than one percent.
- We had double-digit growth in English Language Arts (ELA) proficiency for third and fourth grade students, with proficiency data improving from 23% to 33.5% and 25.4% to 36.8% respectively.
- We had exceptional gains in fourth grade mathematics proficiency with proficiency data improving from 18.8% to 29.3%.
- Students in sixth grade ELA came within one percent of pre-pandemic performance.
- Our four-year graduation rate remains near 80% and is anticipated to be similar for the class of 2022. Our five-year rate was slightly higher at 84%.
As you can see, much of this is centered around growth, and it is important to understand that improvements in achievement cannot happen without improvements in growth first. And as we continue to focus on growth, guided by four Strategic Priorities, I am confident we will see a positive impact on achievement. We are already seeing encouraging results and examples of the Board of Education’s goals and vision for Portrait-Ready Graduates in action across all grade levels.
Closing Opportunity Gaps & Improving Graduation Rates
The state report card measures the graduation rate of the previous academic year’s senior class. Despite the challenges the class of 2021 faced during the pandemic with transitions between virtual, hybrid, and in-person learning, nearly 80% of these students were able to graduate on time. Graduation rates remain an area where we consistently perform comparably to other large districts in the state.
The new report card also recognizes the importance of continuing to work with students who need extra time to complete their graduation requirements. Our five-year rate for the class of 2020 was nearly 84%.
Credit advancement, course recovery, and summer and winter graduations help our students move one step closer to their postsecondary aspirations, but it’s our investments at the elementary and middle school levels that will ultimately prepare them for this long-term success.
Our state report card shows students are capable of growth, and by continuing to be intentional with intervention and support, we can implement equitable frameworks to close gaps, accelerate learning, and meet our long-term goals for future graduating classes.
Early Literacy & Strengthening Reading Proficiency
Similar to graduation rate data, reading proficiency is measured based on the previous academic year. The District’s early childhood education investments are already showing promising results, as we see more students moving to on-track reading proficiency. Some of that growth is shown on this year’s report card, but much of what we are seeing now will be reflected in the coming years.
We are committed to building a literacy landscape in CCS and the greater Columbus community. This starts with introducing more books into classrooms and students’ homes – something accomplished through the “Together We Read” home library initiative. Last year, more than 250,000 books and novels were provided to all CCS students, and through partnerships with Scholastic and other organizations, we will continue engaging and growing readers.
Improving achievement starts with students being in the classroom every day and ready to learn. Chronic absenteeism is a known issue that was amplified by the pandemic. Though the rate dropped by 10% in 2021-2022, there is still work to be done at both the district and building levels to engage students and families.
We have placed a heavy emphasis on prevention and early intervention – a shift from truancy-focused – to address issues impacting student attendance, including challenges outside of school. We are also continuing to leverage partnerships within the community to raise awareness and create solutions for reducing absenteeism, including “Stay in the Game,” a new long-term initiative with the Columbus Crew.
We know that every day counts, and we are committed to proactive engagement strategies that address the issues affecting student attendance.
Improving School Climate
We also know that how students perceive school strongly correlates with how they perform in school. To improve school climate, we must ensure our schools are thriving, safe, and healthy environments.
We are implementing the CASEL Framework to foster knowledge and skills around evidence-based Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) strategies aligned with our schools strengths, needs, and diverse cultures. Through authentic school-family-community partnerships, we are working to establish learning environments and experiences that feature trusting and collaborative relationships, student voice, supportive classrooms, and positive school climates.
Finally, I’d like to remind you that, as it is with students and their individual report cards, the state report card is just one part of a whole when it comes to assessing education and growth. Our Strategic Plan and Portrait of a Graduate reflects our commitment to improving student outcomes in ways that align with and are relevant to our students, families, and community.
We have a lot of work ahead, but I know we won’t be doing it alone. Our entire CCS Family – teachers, principals, staff, families, community members, and partners – together as the Power of One we WILL prepare our students to be Portrait-Ready Graduates and reach their full potential.
Superintendent/CEO, Columbus City Schools