State report card improvements noted to Fort Frye board

By Sam Shawver

Special to the Times

BEVERLY-Superintendent Stephanie Starcher reviewed the latest Ohio Department of Education report card for members of the Fort Frye Local Schools Board of Education Thursday evening, noting the district showed improvement in 19 of 22 subjects tested in 2015 and 2016.

“I wanted the board members to know what’s going on with this report card so they will be able to respond to any questions from the public,” she said.

The district increased from a ‘D’ to a ‘C’ grade in K-3 Literacy between 2015 and 2016, and improved from ‘F” to ‘D’ in Gap Closing objectives, according to the state report card.

Gap Closing is the report card’s measurement of improvement of at-risk students, which includes underprivileged or intellectually disadvantaged students.

Fort Frye received an ‘A’ grade for graduation rate in both years.

But Starcher expressed some frustration with the Ohio legislature that sets testing standards from which each year’s report card data is collected. And she has said the reports rely too much on a test without considering other factors and skills that contribute to a student’s education.

In addition, the testing and the way the resulting data is assessed may be changed by legislators from year to year, which makes it difficult for school districts and the public to interpret the annual report cards.

“It seems like educators are not being involved in the process, only the legislators,” said board member Lloyd Booth.

Starcher encouraged parents to become involved and contact their state legislators about improving the state report card process.

Also on Thursday, Lenora Lockhart, an intervention specialist with the district, gave a presentation on the Orton-Gillingham process of teaching students how to read.

She said the program was originally developed for students with dyslexia and uses a multi-sensory approach for teaching students with disabilities or those struggling with learning how to read.

“Not all students do well with workbooks,” Lockhart said. “This program uses a hands-on approach.”

She said the kindergarten-through-third grade students in her classes learn through physical manipulation of a variety of objects that relate to spelling, grammar and developing reading skills.

Lockhart noted some students who struggled with reading skills have shown as much as a 200 percent improvement from one year to the next through the Orton-Gillingham program .

What’s ahead

≤ The next regular meeting of the Fort Frye Local Board of Education will be at 5 p.m. on Oct. 19 at Beverly-Center Elementary School.

≤ All board meetings, except executive sessions, are open to the public.