latest headlines

Trotwood school wins state honor, even as the district has struggled

Published: Thursday, December 07, 2017 @ 6:56 AM
By: Jeremy P. Kelley - Staff Writer

Trotwood’s Madison Park Elementary was one of nine schools in Ohio to be named a High Progress School of Honor by the Ohio Department of Education for 2016-17.

This honor goes to schools that meet certain state report card markers on test proficiency and gap closing while serving a student population that is at least 40 percent economically disadvantaged.

RELATED: Trotwood school candidates propose changes

Madison Park currently serves only students in grades 2 and 3, so all of the state test data comes from third grade, the first year that students take Ohio’s state tests. Madison Park received a “D” in achievement, but a “C” in K-3 Literacy and a “B” in gap closing, which measures whether each subgroup of students (by race, economics, disability, etc.) narrowed achievement gaps when compared with the student body as a whole.

“It says the things we have in place are really starting to take hold and they’re working,” Superintendent Kevin Bell said of the honor. “That’s actual evidence that achievement gaps are closing.”

RELATED: Trotwood test scores rank last in state

Madison Park saw third-grade reading proficiency go from 25.9 percent in 2015-16 to 50.5 percent in 2016-17. In third-grade math, the school improved from 38.5 percent to 57.5 percent proficiency.

“All children can learn and thrive, and these schools are supporting their students with the innovative practices that are closing achievement gaps,” said state superintendent Paolo DeMaria. “Congratulations to these teachers and administrators for making a real difference in the lives of their students.”

On the whole, Trotwood’s district report card was poor in 2016-17, ranking last out of Ohio’s 608 school districts in performance index, the most complete measure of test performance. The district got F’s in Achievement and Student Progress and is at risk of state takeover this summer if results from spring 2018 state tests don’t improve.

RELATED: See top 2017 graduates from all local high schools

“We have great confidence and faith in what our staff is doing here,” Bell said last month. “Ultimately I realize in a ranking system somebody has to fall last, but that doesn’t define us. You know, the state tests don’t really say who we are.”

Bell said Trotwood is doing heavy academic interventions concerning literacy, which he called a weak point. It has also expanded after-school academic programs, with busing offered to all.

“We want you to stay, get any extra help you need, and then we’re going to drive you home afterward,” Bell said. “It’s a no-excuses kind of mindset.”

RELATED: Graduation rules could change again for Class of 2019

WHIO-TV reporter Caroline Reinwald contributed to this story.