HEBRON – Thanks to a policy change, open enrollment has nearly doubled – 42 to 80 – this year in Lakewood Schools.
“We’ve almost doubled open enrollment,” Superintendent Jay Gault said. He explained that the state allows for three options on open enrollment, or allowing students from other districts to attend yours. The options are not accepting any students from outside the district, only allowing students in from contiguous districts, or accepting students from anywhere in Ohio.
Gault said that until earlier this year, Lakewood only accepted open enrollment students from contiguous districts. Lakewood was losing students (and the state funding based on enrollment) to other districts that accepted students from anywhere and, since Lakewood only accepted students from adjoining districts, it couldn’t recover students as quickly as it was losing them. So, earlier this year, school board members changed the policy to accepting students (as long as they met specific criteria) from anywhere in the state. So far, said Gault, the change has proven very successful. “We went from a potential loss (in funding) to a potential gain,” he said.
In other district news:
• Gault said students will notice some new things this school year, which began Wednesday. He said the middle school is far more comfortable with new windows throughout to help control the climate inside the building. Also, security cameras have been updated inside and outside of all buildings, and door locks are updated as well. Computer labs were added to two buildings so now all Lakewood school buildings have at least two computer labs – the high school has four and the middle school has three. “There’s been a lot of work done over the summer,” said Gault.
• No one, not even Ohio superintendents, said Gault, know what “grades” the Ohio Department of Education will give to the state’s schools before the grades are released Aug. 22. This is the first year the state will give A through F grades to Ohio schools, or at least to their specific programs. The state will not give a comprehensive grade to an entire district until 2015.
According to an Ohio Department of education news release, Ohio is changing how it evaluates and communicates the academic performance of its schools and districts. Schools and districts will no longer receive labels like “Excellent” or “Continuous Improvement.” In its place, they will receive letter grades on several measures in the same way a student receives grades for his or her classes.
The new report card will be phased in over several years, starting this year. Beginning in August 2015, schools and districts will receive grades on measures like the four-year graduation rate. The grades for measures will be combined into six broad categories, called components, which also will receive a grade. Finally, the component grades will be combined into an overall grade for the school or district.
The six components that will be on the new report card are:
• Achievement: This component measures absolute academic achievement compared to national standards of success.
• Progress: This component measures the average annual improvement for each student (i.e., whether a student gained more or less a year of knowledge and skills each year).
• Gap Closing: This component measures how well a school or district is doing in narrowing gaps in reading, math and graduation rate among students according to socioeconomic, racial, ethnic or disability status.
• Graduation Rate: This component measures the percentage of students who entered the 9th grade and graduated in four and five years.
• K-3 Literacy: This component measures the improvement in reading for students in kindergarten through grade three.
• Prepared for Success: This component measures whether students who graduate are prepared for college or a career.