Sept. 14, 2017 – The Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District showed progress in the latest Ohio state report card data that was released on Thursday.
The CH-UH Schools showed marked improvement on the 2016-2017 report card in the K-3 Literacy scores and in high school graduation rate while also holding steady on the “Prepared for Success” measures. The District’s career prep consortium also performed well to garner a number of A’s on its report card.
“As expected, our district showed improvement on some of the measures on the state report card, most notably the K-3 Literacy score and graduation rate,” said CH-UH Superintendent Dr. Talisa Dixon. “Our staff and students should take pride in the improvement we’ve shown from pre-K through high school, but there is still more heavy lifting to do. We know that there are aspects of our report card that warrant further effort and continued focus.”
“However, the state report card is just one measure for our district--and it’s a measure that’s standardized across several hundred school systems in Ohio,” added Dr. Dixon. “CH-UH is a special community that knows the value of our public schools goes beyond a test score. We will continue to strive for excellence on these standardized measures, but we will not teach to the test.
“Our Curriculum and Instruction team has adopted district-wide, teacher-tested curriculum in our core academic areas. Our focus is instructing our students to master this curriculum. If we do this, improved test scores should follow.”
The district’s continued work with early learning and literacy is paying off with improved scores on the K-3 Literacy measure, which looks only at those K-3 students who are “not on track” according to reading diagnostic tests, and assess their progress over a year. The goal is to get students to on-track within one calendar year or by the time they reach third grade. CH-UH increased to 50.2% on the component, an increase from last year’s score of 44.6%, to earn a “B” on the report card.
As part of its Strategic Plan, the District has placed an emphasis on early learning so students are better prepared as they enter Kindergarten and first grade. CH-UH has pre-K programs at three of its elementary schools. Gearity Elementary and Noble Elementary both received five-star ratings for their preschool programs, while Oxford Elementary is in the second year of its program and is striving to earn a five-star rating as well.
This marks the second straight year CH-UH has seen significant gains in the K-3 Literacy measure, and the success can be attributed to a number of factors, including the implementation of a standard English Language Arts curriculum across the elementary schools, the work of intervention specialists focused on literacy and the development of building-wide improvement plans that are concentrated on increasing students’ literacy.
High School Graduation Rate
Heights High School had a four-year graduation rate of 85.6% for students who entered the 9th grade in 2013 and graduated in 2016. This rate held steady compared to last year’s rate of 85.7%. Where Heights High saw its improvement came in the five-year rate which jumped to 92.7% this year compared to 88.8% last year. The five-year rate earned the high school a “B” on the report card.
“One of the major goals of our Strategic Plan is to achieve a 90 percent graduation rate by the year 2020,” said Dr. Dixon. “I’m happy to say that we have met that goal for our five-year rate and we’re getting close with the four-year rate as well. Our middle school and high school staffs have been working hard to close the gap, as it takes a multi-year approach to prepare students for graduation.
“What is important, though, is we not lose sight of the ultimate goal of preparing all of our students to succeed in college and career. We cannot just graduate our students--they must graduate and also be prepared to succeed in whatever they choose to pursue after they leave Heights High.”
Prepared For Success
Heights High also held steady from last year in the “Prepared for Success” measures, which assess the district’s performance on preparing students for college and career readiness. This measure includes student participation in several programs or tests, such as taking the ACT or SAT, receiving an industry-recognized credential, receiving an Honors diploma and performance on Advanced Placement exams.
Strategic Plan Goals 1 and 2, which target student outcomes and educational approach, outline explicit action steps towards improving district performance on this measure.
CH-UH has made significant strides in increasing educational equity, which is a focus within Goal 2. The District’s partnership with Equal Opportunity Schools has helped provide equitable academic opportunities to all students, especially in regards to access and support for minorities in taking AP courses.
CH-UH is also in the midst of revamping its gifted program as a result of last year’s Gifted Task Force work. Among the recommendations, enrichment and gifted programming will be extended to more students beginning in Kindergarten through high school.
Career and Technical Education
CH-UH’s career prep consortium, Tri-Heights Career Prep, received all A’s for its Graduation Grade and Post Program Placement Grade.
Heights High now offers more Career and Technical Education courses for juniors and seniors with the expansion of its career consortium. Bedford and Maple Heights joined CH-UH, Shaker Heights and Warrensville Heights in the consortium beginning this year, giving Heights High students access to 24 different career programs.
“Our Strategic Plan was created to address every aspect of our district’s performance, and it’s clear that we are making strides as a result,” said Dr. Dixon. “However, it is going to take a collective effort--from teachers and staff to students and parents to the community at large--for CH-UH to attain the success we have set out to achieve.
“These state test scores are just one small component to measure that success. There is real work to be done ahead, and for CH-UH, we look forward to that challenge.”
The public is invited to attend the CH-UH Board of Education’s two upcoming work sessions, as the Board will discuss state test scores and other standardized measures with the District’s Data and Assessment team. The work sessions are scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 19, and Tuesday, Oct. 17. Both meetings begin at 7:00 p.m. and will be held at Heights High School.