State report cards don’t tell a school district’s entire story


GALION — The Ohio Department of Education released its latest Ohio School Report Cards data Thursday.

And as they have each year since their inception, they’re a pretty good source of conversation, until they’re forgotten until being released again next year.

For the record, this year’s overall grade for Galion City Schools went from a C to a D.

“They’re important, and we’re always trying to improve,” said Galion City Schools superintendent Jim Grubbs. “But I only get two phone calls about them each year. Yes, we look at the report cards and the numbers each year and see what we can do to get better. But year-by-year and district-by-district comparisons don’t make a lot of sense.”

Each year the report cards are changed and adjusted. Some adjustments are minor. Some are pretty significant. But the same data is used for each school district across the state and Grubbs says that can create problems.

There are wealthy district and poor district. The spending disparities between per pupil spending can be substantial. School districts also have different social-economic characteristics, that also are not taken into consideration. The parents of students in some school districts pay a lot of attention to their kids’ education. In other districts, school activities are largely ignored by parents and guardians.

“The grade cards are important, but I’m not certain they are the most important thing to look at it when judging a school district,” Grubbs said. “School report cards don’t look at the 10,000 hours of community service our students put in to graduate last year. They don’t look at the $1 million in scholarships Galion students receive each year. They don’t track our students who end up going to college out of state or to private schools.”

And he said Galion students have other advantages.

“I think I’ve got this right,” he said. “But Galion students have an opportunity to receive an associates degree, while they attend high school … at no cost to the students And as far as I know, we are the only district in the state where students can do that … and take all the classes they need right here in this district. They don’t have to go to another campus to do this.”

He said that’s another plus at Galion that is not taken into consideration by the ODE.

Grubbs said a focus at Galion City School’s is to better prepare students for life after leave school.

“We strive to produce the the leaders of tomorrow,” he said. “That’s a focus. That’s important. We are doing that. Another goal is to graduate students who want to come back to Galion and Crawford County and build a future. Brain drain is a big problem. That’s also something we are addressing.”

The Lima News, one of the Inquirer’s sister newspapers, put together an abridged version of the grade card. To look for specific school district information, go to https://www.limaohio.com/reportcards.

You can visit the Ohio Department of Education website to read information about each district and each school in a district at https://reportcard.education.ohio.gov/

“We are taking steps to improve areas that need improved,” Grubbs continued.

Galion students struggle when it comes to mathematics, specifically algebra and geometry.

“We’ve changed our curriculum in math,” Grubbs said. “Most districts use the Pearson curriculum and the grade cards uses Pearson to get it’s numbers. So this year we started using Pearson, too. We will get better.”

In recent year’s Galion Primary School has scored better than other schools in the Galion district. This year the primary school received an A, much better than the elementary school and middle school, and a little better than Galion High School.

‘We changed things up a few years ago and started the ELA (English Language Arts) teaching program in our primary school,” Grubbs explained. “This year we implemented that program in the elementary schools and we expect to see those changes there, too.”

He said Galion City Schools focus on teaching kids the building blocks to learning. That way, no matter what type of program they get into after they graduate, they will have the tools available to make it easier for them to learn.

“I promise you we are taking steps to improve our scores on the grade cards,” he said. “We focus on curriculum, we focus on professional development. We are doing things to improve. But the school report cards are just one piece of the pie.”

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Report cards don’t tell a district’s entire story