By Sue Botos
The grading system may have changed, but Rocky River remains on the honor role when it comes to the state board of education report card.
At the August Chamber of Commerce luncheon, which welcomed 11 new teachers and two new staff members, Superintendent Michael Shoaf announced that the city schools, along with those from Aurora and longtime rival for the top spot, Solon, earned an A in the four main categories of state grading. These included student achievement and student growth as well as graduation rate and annual measurable objectives (AMO), which gauge the academic performance of specific groups such as racial and demographic groups.
In addition, the district got top marks in “value added” for both grade level and gifted students, which examines student growth. The schools also met all 24 of a total of 24 possible standards. While pleased with the outcome, Shoaf said there was some room for improvement.
“The new report card provides us with many areas of opportunity. We will work to maintain the areas of strength as well as improve upon subgroup performance. The rating for students with disabilities was a C, which means that annual level of improvement was met but not exceeded. The rating for the lower 20 percent of students was a B, also meeting the annual level of improvement. We will target both of these areas for further improvement,” Shoaf said in a post-luncheon statement.
“Every year, we seek higher and higher standards,” Shoaf told the chamber crowd, referring to a graph that showed steady improvement in student performance each year.
But the old rivalry with Solon for top district bragging rights will have to wait. Under this new system, districts will not receive an overall grade until 2015. Until then, it will give out grades in specific areas to call attention to district strengths and weaknesses.
The new system replaces the past ratings, which ranged from “Excellence With Distinction” to “Academic Watch.” Rocky River had received the highest recognition for 11 years in a row, according to Shoaf, who added that in spite of that, improvements are always being made.
Shoaf and his staff also greeted 13 new staff members, who each received large gift bags filled with items from over 50 area businesses. Joining the district this year:
Goldwood Primary School –
• Daniea Beard, preschool and tutor
• Leah Halloran, tutor
(also middle school)
• Cassandra Koch, tutor
• Kelly Riolo, 2nd grade
Kensington Intermediate –
• Kathryn Griffin, tutor
• Sharon Risko, music
Middle School –
• John Mendicino, social studies
• Frank O’Grady, tutor
• Mark Saska, social studies
High School –
• Katherine Hamm, English
• Elizabeth Trifon, French
Transportation director – Erin Peacock
Supervisor of facilities – Adam Sywanyk