SALEM - The Salem city school district fell a few points short of excellent on the preliminary state report card, but Superintendent Tom Bratten said there's still plenty to celebrate with the results.
"There's a lot of great things that I can take from this report card," he said Wednesday.
The Ohio Department of Education released preliminary district/school ratings, performance index and attendance rate information for work done in the 2011/2012 school year.
Final versions of the report cards won't be released until the state Auditor's Office finishes its investigation into some districts misreporting attendance numbers. Salem was not one of the districts, with Bratten saying the district earned a clean audit for its attendance records.
The preliminary report card rated Salem schools as effective, with a 97.7 percent score on the performance index and 22 out of 26 indicators met. Anything over 100 percent garners an excellent rating. By school, both Salem Junior High and Reilly Elementary earned excellent ratings, each meeting six of six indicators. Salem High School and Southeast were both ranked effective, with the high school meeting 11 of 12 indicators and Southeast meeting three of six indicators. Buckeye isn't rated since it only covers kindergarten, first and second grades, which aren't tested.
The school district as a whole met the value added rating which showed students improved from one year to the next. The district also had an attendance rate of 94.3 percent, which Bratten said was very good.
The graduation rate was 85.8 percent, which was the one indicator the high school did not meet. The other indicators where the district lagged were in the fifth grade test scores for reading, math and science at Southeast. The percentages of students passing were 73.3 percent in reading, 72.6 percent in math and 69 percent in science.
To secure a passing rate, test scores must be 75 percent or greater, the graduation rate must be 90 percent or higher and the attendance rate must be 93 percent or higher.
"This gives us areas we need to focus on," Bratten said.
Other test scores taken into consideration for indicators included: reading and math for third, fourth, sixth and seventh grades; reading, math and science for eighth grade; and reading math, writing, social studies and science for the Ohio Graduation Test for 10th grade and 11th grade.
Districts saw preliminary results this summer and teachers in Salem were already asking what they could do better. Bratten said they grind the reports down and look at what questions the kids missed the most and areas where the lessons didn't sink in and go from there to strengthen those areas.
"All we can do is identify where we can get better and work on that," he said.
The district had an excellent rating when the report cards came out last year, meeting 25 of 26 indicators, but the tests and the kids change every year. The district has a lot of economically-disadvantaged students, students with special needs and students with English as a second language.
Bratten said a district isn't going to be perfect every year and there are factors that can affect the outcome, but he said it's not from a lack of effort.
"We offer a good education and have good kids," he said.
Mary Ann Greier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org