How to read your kids’ school report card

Published: Thursday, September 14, 2017 @ 10:39 AM

How to read your kids’ school report card

The Ohio Department of Education each year releases a report card for each school district in the state, with scores and ratings on many factors.

» MORE: State report cards out Thursday; schools say look at bigger picture

Here are some of the most important, and what they mean:

Achievement: Grades schools based on their overall scores on state tests. Performance index is weighted 75 percent, and “indicators met” is the other 25 percent. There are 26 state tests (plus a "gifted" indicator), and schools need 80 percent of students to score proficient for the school to meet each test indicator. 

Performance index: A subset of Achievement, this is the most detailed measure of state test performance. It goes deeper than just a “yes or no” on proficiency, giving more credit for the highest performers and less credit for lowest scorers to create an overall score. 

» SEARCH: How did your school perform on the 2016-17 state report card?

Progress: Judges whether students made one year’s worth of academic growth from last school year. One year of growth equals a "C" grade. Generally, it is based on what statewide percentile students score in each year. 

Gap closing: Reports whether each subgroup of students (by race, economics, disability, etc.) narrowed achievement gaps when compared with the student body as a whole. 

» REPORT CARD: Clark, Champaign schools score low for achievement on report cards

Graduation rate: Shows diplomas earned within four or five years of starting ninth grade. The four-year rate measures students who would have normally become the class of 2016. The five-year rate measures the class of 2015. 

» RELATED:  Many local “A’s” for student growth; Dayton scores mixed

K-3 Literacy Improvement: Measures what percentage of struggling readers get back on track to proficiency between kindergarten and third grade. Schools with less than 5 percent of kindergarteners scoring below grade level are not graded. 

Prepared for Success: Tries to measure how well prepared students are for the future, via ACT/SAT scores, honors diplomas, industry credentials and participation in college credit-bearing programs.

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Wright State $6 million over budget on employee benefits

Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 9:16 AM

Wright State University.
Wright State University.

Wright State University is continuing to deal with financial problems as the school has so far overspent its budget for employee benefits by millions this year.

The university has spent $6 million on employee health benefits that were not planned for in its fiscal year 2018 budget, according to financial documents presented to the board of trustees in a meeting this morning. Trustees are expected to discuss the $6 million benefits overrun this morning.

RELATED: WSU research arm tries to rebuild reputation amid investigations

The surprise expense isn’t great news for Wright State, which is aiming to increase reserves by $6 million by June 30.

Wright State trustees in June slashed more than $30.8 million from the school’s budget in an attempt to begin correcting years of overspending.

RELATED: Ohio governor asks for review of campus sexual assault enforcement

On top of the benefits costs, WSU officials have also been trying to remediate more than $5.9 million lost through enrollment declines and unexpected scholarship and fellowship costs of more than $1.5 million.

Administrators have said that they intended to make up those losses by leaving positions vacant at the school.

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Kentucky teacher arrested after allegedly snorting crushed pill in class

Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 9:07 AM

School officials.
Matt Cardy/Getty Images
School officials.(Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

A Kentucky teacher was arrested Thursday on suspicion of snorting drugs in class, WLEX reported.

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Students at Menifee County Elementary/Middle School in Frenchburg told officials they saw Cherish Rednour, 41, crush a pill with a credit card and make a line with the powder. They alleged that after snorting the pill, Rednour slumped over her desk and was having trouble staying awake.

Rednour was confronted by the principal and officials from the Menifee Sheriff''s Office about the allegations. WLEX reported. She was subjected to several field sobriety tests and was arrested shortly after.

Sheriff's officials said they found a white residue on her desk and a credit card with residue. 

When a deputy searched Rednour at the Sheriff's Office, they found a tampon applicator in her bra that "resembled a very small, cut straw," according to arrest records. 

Rednour was charged with public intoxication, controlled substance (excludes alcohol), first-degree possession of controlled substance, and drug paraphernalia, according to arrest records.

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National Women's History Month: What is it, when did it begin, who is being honored this year?

Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 9:03 AM

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 18: Attendees listen at an annual Women's History Month reception hosted by Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi in the U.S. capitol building on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.  This year's event honored the women Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court: Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan. (Photo by Allison Shelley/Getty Images)
Allison Shelley/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 18: Attendees listen at an annual Women's History Month reception hosted by Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi in the U.S. capitol building on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. This year's event honored the women Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court: Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan. (Photo by Allison Shelley/Getty Images)(Allison Shelley/Getty Images)

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the passage of a law making March Women’s History Month in the United States.

The observation, which was born out of a California school district’s celebration of women’s achievements, now is celebrated across the country, and includes parades, lectures, health screenings, art exhibits and other activities that highlight women’s contributions to society.

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Here’s a look at the history of the movement, why it’s celebrated in March, this year’s theme and the National Women’s History Project honorees.

What is it?

Women’s History Month is a celebration of women’s contributions to society.

When is it?

In the United States, it is celebrated each year in March.

Why March?

March was chosen as the month to celebrate women’s history because the first observances of Women’s History Week revolved around International Women’s Day, which is March 8. International Women’s Day, which honors women’s achievements worldwide, was first celebrated on March 8, 1911. The United Nations has sponsored International Women’s Day observances since 1975.

How did it start?

In 1978, a school district in Sonoma, California, decided to honor women’s achievements by participating in a Women’s History Week event. According to the National Women’s History Project, schools hosted essay contests, presentations by women were given at many of the schools in the district and a parade was held in downtown Santa Rosa, California.

The following year, a two-week conference examining women’s history was held at Sarah Lawrence College. Those participating in the conference learned about Sonoma County's Women's History Week celebration and decided to organize similar celebrations within their own schools and organizations.

During the following seven months, they lobbied for a declaration of Women’s History Week and in March 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued a presidential proclamation declaring the week of March 8, 1980, as National Women's History Week.

In 1981, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Rep. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., co-sponsored a joint congressional resolution calling the week of March 7, 1982, Women’s History Week.

Schools across the country began to incorporate Women’s History Week into their curriculum and, eventually, the week grew into a monthlong observance.

Fourteen states had declared March Women’s History Month by 1986. In 1987, the National Women’s History Project asked Congress to establish March as Women’s History Month. On March 12, 1987, the celebration became official when legislation was passed to designate March as Woman’s History Month in the United States.

What is this year’s theme?

The 2018 National Women’s History Month theme is “Nevertheless, She Persisted: Honoring Women Who Fight All Forms of Discrimination against Women.”

The theme refers to remarks made by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., after he objected to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., reading a letter from civil rights leader Coretta Scott King that condemned then-Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. The Senate was debating Sessions nomination to become U.S. attorney general. McConnell objected to the reading of the letter on the grounds of “Rule XIX” which prohibits ascribing "to another senator or to other senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a senator.” He called for a vote to silence Warren, which passed on party lines.

Who is being honored this year?

Here, from the National Women’s History Project, is a list of those being honored this year.

  1. Susan Burton: Burton founded A New Way of Life Re-Entry Project in 1998 to help women break the cycle of incarceration. Burton is a co-founder of All of Us or None and the Formerly Incarcerated and Convicted People’s Movement, both national grassroots civil rights movements comprised of formerly incarcerated individuals, their families and community allies.
  2.  
  3. Margaret Dunkle: Dunkle played a key role in implementing Title IX, the law that transformed education for women and girls, from athletic fields to graduate schools. Her groundbreaking 1974 report documenting discrimination against female athletes became the blueprint for the Title IX regulations on athletics. Dunkle crafted the 1986 legislation that enabled low-income women to receive student aid without losing health insurance for their children.
  4.  
  5. Geraldine Ferraro: Ferraro was the first female vice presidential candidate representing a major political party. In 1993 President Clinton appointed Ferraro U.S. ambassador to the United Nations on human rights, and in 1995 appointed her vice chair of the U.S. delegation to the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing.
  6.  
  7. Jill Moss Greenberg: Greenberg is a lifelong crusader for fairness and the rights of underrepresented groups. She served as the first National Executive Director of NAME (the National Association for Multicultural Education).
  8.  
  9. Roma Guy: Guy is a social justice activist and policy leader on homelessness, public health, poverty, LGBTQI rights, immigrant rights, and women’s rights. She was a consultant and one of the LGBTQI activists featured in the 2017 ABC miniseries “When We Rise.”
  10.  
  11. Cristina Jiménez: Jimenez is a leader in the youth-led immigrant rights movement, and instrumental in creating the DACA program. She is executive director and co-founder of United We Dream, the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the country.
  12.  
  13. Saru Jayaraman: Jayaraman responded to the 9/11 tragedy by organizing displaced World Trade Center workers and co-founding Restaurant Opportunities Centers United. ROC United is a leader in the “One Fair Wage” campaign to end the two-tiered minimum wage system.
  14.  
  15. Marty Langelan: Langelan is a leader in the global effort to end harassment and gender-based violence. Langelan provides violence-intervention skills training for international human-rights organizations, anti-rape activists, environmentalists and others.
  16.  
  17. Pat Maginnis: Maginnis is an abortion rights activist. In 1962 Maginnis founded the Society for Humane Abortion where she advocated for “elective abortion” and argued that all women had the right to safe and legal abortion. In 1966, she founded the Association to Repeal Abortion Laws.
  18.  
  19. Arlene B. Mayerson: Mayerson is a leading attorney in disability rights law. She played a key role in drafting and negotiating the Americans with Disabilities Act and amendments to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
  20.  
  21. Pauli Murray: Murray was a civil rights and women’s rights activist. She finished first in her class at Howard Law School where she was the only female student. She was denied admission to graduate school in 1938 due to her race and denied a fellowship to Harvard Law in 1944 due to her sex. She went on to be the first African-American awarded a law doctorate from Yale (1965) and later became the first African-American woman to be ordained an Episcopal priest (1977). President John F. Kennedy appointed her to the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women (1961) and she was a co-founder of the National Organization for Women in 1966.
  22.  
  23. Elizabeth Peratrovich: Peratrovich, an Alaska native of the Tlingit Nation, was a civil rights leader. She petitioned Alaska officials to end segregation of native peoples. She was instrumental in the Feb. 16, 1945, anti-discrimination act to protect the civil rights of Alaska natives.
  24.  
  25. Loretta Ross: Ross has dedicated her career to feminist issues with a focus on women of color. She helped create the theory of reproductive justice, adding a human rights framework to include everyone in reproductive rights issues. She is a visiting professor teaching courses on white supremacy, reproductive justice, and calling in practices at Hampshire College for the 2017-2018 academic year. 
  26.  
  27. Angelia Salas: Salas is a key strategist and leader in the national movement for immigrant rights and policy reform. She is the executive director of the Center for Humane Immigrant Rights.
  28. Linda Spoonster Schwartz: Schwartz overcame a military injury to become one of the nation’s leading veterans’ advocates, focusing especially on the unmet needs of women veterans. She was chair of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Advisory Committee on Women Veterans, served as Connecticut commissioner/commandant of veterans affairs, was nominated by President Barack Obama to be assistant secretary of veteran affairs for policy and planning. She is the first and only woman elected president of the National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs.

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Dayton urges communities to push Wright-Patt for action on water

Published: Thursday, February 22, 2018 @ 5:00 PM


            The city of Dayton is demanding the Air Force act more urgently to prevent the potential of groundwater contamination from the base to the city’s Huffman Dam well field along the Mad River. In this photo, ice flows down the Great Miami River, right at the confluence with the Mad River at Deeds Point. TY GREENLEES/STAFF
            Ty Greenlees
The city of Dayton is demanding the Air Force act more urgently to prevent the potential of groundwater contamination from the base to the city’s Huffman Dam well field along the Mad River. In this photo, ice flows down the Great Miami River, right at the confluence with the Mad River at Deeds Point. TY GREENLEES/STAFF(Ty Greenlees)

Dayton has called on neighboring communities to send a message to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to more urgently resolve concerns over the potential threat of contamination of a drinking water aquifer from tainted groundwater.

The city has urged city managers to join it in signing a letter asking the base’s commander to act quickly prior to groundwater contaminated with a byproduct of firefighting foam reaches seven city drinking water wells shut down as a precaution in April at Huffman Dam near the base boundary along the Mad River.

So far, some communities have said they will not sign the letter, at least one has endorsed Dayton’s efforts while others say they are studying the problem and weighing options.

Dayton and state officials have said drinking water is safe today.

The city has pursued communities backing while asking the Air Force to reimburse Dayton nearly $1 million for an environmental study and testing tied to concerns tainted groundwater at Wright-Patterson could reach the Huffman Dam well field.

“This was always about getting the attention above Wright-Patterson Air Force Base leadership where the decisions are made for resource allocation to address contamination,” City Manager Shelley Dickstein said in an interview. “Because there are hundreds of these (contamination sites) across the country, our primary goal was and continues to be the squeakiest wheel because of the proximity of the aquifer and well fields.”

RELATED: Dayton demands Wright-Patterson act on water concerns

The city reported it discovered polyfluroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the raw water intake of its Ottawa water treatment facility near the Mad River last November. The contamination level was less than 10 parts per trillion, below the Environmental Protection Agency health advisory threshold of 70 parts per trillion for lifetime exposure in drinking water, city officials have said.

The substance has not been detected in treated water in the distribution system, city leaders have said.

Communities react to Dayton plea

Kettering, Centerville, Miamisburg and Vandalia officials have said they will not support Dickstein’s request in a Feb. 7 letter she sent to city managers. Moraine also indicated it has not co-signed the document, and Riverside and Miami Twp. indicated no immediate plans to act on the letter.

City Council leaders in Brookville, a direct water customer of Dayton water, voted Tuesday to go on record supporting Dayton’s efforts, and will send a letter to water customers updating them about the water issue, according to City Manager Gary Burkholder.

Fairborn and Clayton city managers say they need more time to gather information.

“We certainly want to understand what we are signing on to before we agree to do that,” said Fairborn City Manager Rob Anderson. The city indicated in a 2015 test it did not find polyfluroalkyl substances (PFAS) found in firefighting foam in its groundwater field north of Wright-Patterson’s main flight line.

Montgomery County Environmental Services purchases water from Dayton and distributes it to communities across the area, including the cities of Centerville, Clayton, Kettering, Moraine, Riverside and Trotwood and the townships of Butler, Harrison, Jefferson, Miami and Washington. It also sells the water wholesale to Greene County.

“From all the information I have received, I have every reason to believe our water is safe to use and drink,” Riverside City Manager Mark Carpenter said in a statement to the Dayton Daily News.

Fairborn and Miamisburg are among regional communities with their own well fields and water distribution systems. Vandalia receives most of its water from the Northern Area Water Authority, which draws water from wells in Tipp City, according to Vandalia city officials.

RELATED: Wright-Patterson treating tainted water in contaminated wells

A Dayton official was expected to brief Clayton City Council members on the concerns March 1, according to City Manager Richard C. Rose. Clayton is a direct water customer of Dayton, along with Trotwood and Brookville.

In a statement, Kettering City Manager Mark Schwieterman said city administrators have talked about contamination issues with Dayton officials, but opted not to sign the letter “because we feel that given current information the matter would be best resolved by the two parties directly involved.”

Centerville City Manager Wayne Davis said in an email the suburb won’t co-sign the letter “since the issue was initially raised by the City of Dayton and is a matter between the City of Dayton and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.”

Pressure to act

The proposed letter to Wright-Patterson commander Col. Bradley McDonald said a “lack of action” to protect Huffman Dam drinking water wells was “unacceptable,” while the Air Force continues to conduct tests, rather than act.

“By doing so, you are jeopardizing the health of more than three million people who rely on clean, safe and untainted water when they turn on their faucets,” it said. “We are demanding that you take immediate steps to stop the flow of PFAS from the Base and into our water supply. We can no longer wait until you have more results before you act to protect our communities.”

Wright-Patterson spokeswoman Marie Vanover said in an email the base was not aware of the letter and was preparing to respond to Dayton’s demands to take action.

Jeff Hoagland, chief executive officer of the Dayton Development Coalition, said he was “surprised” Dayton sent the Feb. 7 letter to municipal leaders since city and base authorities have worked on the issue over two years.

The two sides met at DDC headquarters in downtown Dayton last August, he said.

“We walked out of there knowing the No. 1 topic was to properly address the water issues,” Hoagland said.

“The city asked us to come and see if we could listen to what was going on and see if there was anything we could do to make sure these issues were being taken care of at the highest levels,” he said.

Wright-Patterson has approached water contamination concerns “seriously,” Hoagland added.

Dayton leaders sent a suggested second letter to neighboring municipal leaders to tell customers the drinking water is safe, but also to inform water consumers about concerns for the potential of future contamination of the aquifer from polyfluroalkyl substances. The substances are found in consumer products from clothing to cookware, but were also used in industrial processes and in firefighting foam.

RELATED: City stopped pumping water from well field near Wright-Patterson

The U.S. EPA reported human epidemiology and animal testing studies indicate exposure to the contaminant suggest it may be responsible at certain levels for testicular and liver cancer; changes in cholesterol; low birth weight in newborns; liver tissue damage; and effects on the immune system and thyroid.

Both state and city leaders want Wright-Patterson to act faster to respond to the potential threat of reaching Huffman Dam. Ohio EPA Director Craig W. Butler has called the pace at which the Air Force was reacting to the situation “unacceptable.” The EPA director cited the base in recent weeks under a state public nuisance law to prevent water pollution and ordered Wright-Patterson to submit a work plan within 30 days to better track tainted groundwater and to prevent the plume reaching the Dayton well field, among expected actions.

In October 2016, Ohio EPA ordered Wright-Patterson to shut down two groundwater wells that supplied water to the base that exceeded EPA thresholds. A health advisory was issued at the time for pregnant women and breast-feeding infants, and the base provided bottled water to affected residents.

RELATED: Wright-Patterson ordered to shutdown well

Pumping at the wells resumed after Wright-Patterson built a $2.7 million water treatment plant.

The groundwater contamination at the base was believed to have come from a discontinued formula found in a firefighting foam. The Air Force faces PFAS groundwater contamination woes at dozens of bases.

By June, Wright-Patterson expects to complete replacement of the old firefighting foam with one deemed environmentally safer, a base spokeswoman has said.

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