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District score in reading, graduation

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Category: Middletown City Schools
Forum Name: School Achievements
Forum Description: From Academic results to group and individual achievements
Printed Date: Apr 14 2024 at 7:07am

Topic: District score in reading, graduation
Posted By: Vivian Moon
Subject: District score in reading, graduation
Date Posted: Jan 14 2016 at 2:10pm

Posted: 1:48 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016

How does your district score in reading, graduation?

By Michael D. Clark

Staff Writer


Lakota Local Schools was among the top performers statewide in graduating its students, but some other Butler and Warren county districts varied, according to annual ratings released today in a partial state report.

And one area school system – Warren County’s Mason Schools – took a rare public stance of dismissing the Ohio Department of Education’s report as “incomplete and irrelevant” citing the changing of state testing beyond federal education requirements.

Overall the testing from the 2014-2015 school year, which covered kindergarten-third grade literacy, graduation rates and “prepared for success” data showed mixed results for Butler County districts.

Top performers in graduation rates, which measures four and five-year cohort windows for high school students graduating showed Lakota, the largest district in Butler County and eighth largest in Ohio, earning an “A.”

“We continue to see high levels of participation and achievement in advanced level coursework,” Lakota Schools Superintendent Karen Mantia said. “The results show us that nearly 50 percent of our students are participating in at least one advanced placement course. We want to continue growing those numbers, which is why we are accelerating the number of AP offerings and other options like College-Credit Plus that help students get a head start on college and preparing for their careers.”

Hamilton Schools fared less well in the graduation rate, earning a “D” in four-year graduation rate.

Hamilton, however, showed marked improvement in third-grade literacy, registering an “A” for kindergarten through third grade literacy improvement and was among only 10 districts among Ohio’s 613 to earn such a grade.

Middletown Schools earned a “C” in graduation rate and a “D” in K-3 literacy.

The second wave of report card results won’t be available until Feb. 25. The results are coming from the state later than usual this year because of the switch to new state exams.

The kindergarten-third grade literacy scores are based on reading diagnostic tests and the state’s third-grade Ohio Achievement Assessment. It measures what percentage of a district’s struggling readers were brought up to speed in a year’s time.

The scores look at all students who test poorly in reading while in kindergarten through third grade, and measure whether they catch up by the next year. For third graders who test poorly in the fall, they must catch up by the end-of-year state test, which determines whether they advance to fourth grade.

Today’s release also included graduation rates and “prepared for success” data, which tracks honors diplomas, industry credentials and success on college entrance tests like the ACT, SAT and others.

Mason Schools, traditionally one of the top academic performers in Southwest Ohio, scored an “A” in graduation rate with 97 percent of its high school students graduating in four years.

But Mason officials blasted the partial state reports with Superintendent Gail Kist-Kline complaining there are too many state tests given too frequently to Ohio grade school students.

Ohio needs to stop science and social studies testing since those are not required by the federal Every Student Succeeds Act. In addition, we need to move away from testing reading and math at each grade level. Our school districts need to have our temperature taken, we don’t need to undergo MRIs,” said Kist-Kline.

Kist-Kline said the 2014-2015 report card “uses data from the PARCC test - which was dumped after a woeful first year that included technology glitches and taking up too much administrative and instructional time. The data that has been released is not useful for educators to make instructional decisions, and is unreliable since it counts as zeros the scores of students whose families opted out of the tests.”

The rest of the report card, which includes the progress grades from last year’s state tests, will be released Feb. 25 because of delays in getting PARCC test results.

Staff Writer Katie Wedell contributed to this report.


Area schools’ state-rating grades and percentages on four-year graduation of high school students and K-3 literacy grades and percentages:

• Lakota: A with 93 percent graduating. Not rated in K-3 literacy because the district is doing well with less than 5 percent of its K-3 students not on track.

Hamilton: D with 80 percent graduating. A or 83 percent K-3 literacy rate.

Middletown: C with 86 percent graduating. D or 35 percent literacy rate.

• Faifield: A with 93 percent graduating. C or 48 percent literacy rate.

Monroe: A with 96 percent graduating. C or 60 percent literacy rate.

• Talawanda: A with 97 percent graduating. C or 61 percent literacy rate.

Posted By: 409
Date Posted: Jan 15 2016 at 8:43am

Every morning is the dawn of a new error...

Posted By: Dean
Date Posted: Jan 15 2016 at 9:35am
The most critical measure is literacy from k-3, or through third grade. Middletown was very close to being within F category. If students are performing so poorly from kindergarten through third grade it portends poor and failing testing in years to come. The foundation for reading and comprehension isn't there, hence the student struggles throughout the academic career. For those awaiting Middletown advancing in overall academic ratings, and voted for new schools, this result confirms the waiting game for improved testing and improvement, will indeed, be in for a very long wait, and sadly so.       

Posted By: Paul Nagy
Date Posted: Jan 15 2016 at 11:02am
      You make a very important and poignant observation and statement. Thank you.

Posted By: Dean
Date Posted: Jan 15 2016 at 11:56am
Mr. Nagy, the school district is like a political campaign. The goal is to pass levies. Education and performance takes a back seat to the politics of double dipping, and board member power associated with money for construction and surveys. Middletown's downward demographics reflect lack of interest in students to prepare for a competitive future. Always difficult to catch up when a student begins in a hole at young age. Pushing the rock uphill again. and for a lengthy period of time.

Posted By: spiderjohn
Date Posted: Jan 15 2016 at 1:43pm
Maybe everyone should take notice and contribute in some way to what is happening with CBI at the Community Center. This could well be the foundation for exactly what we need to begin to turn it around. IMO it has to happen from the ground up, and will take a decade(probably longer) to see lasting results. I have been down there a couple of times, and honestly believe in what is happening there. Check it out---climbing out of this will take a determined effort from everyone.

Posted By: Dean
Date Posted: Jan 15 2016 at 4:27pm
Isn't this score from k-3 the reason as had been predicted, would be D, and where the Middletown Foundation threw in the $ millions for books and mentoring to turn it around? A decade is long. More likely a generation to turn it around.  Look at Warren County. Just crushing Butler county school districts. As someone might indicate, 'size matters.'

Posted By: Vivian Moon
Date Posted: Jan 16 2016 at 7:07am

Over the years students have changed, teachers have changed, new schools have been built....but our score has remained the same.

Over the years we have spent millions of dollars on Pre-School, Head Start and Kindergarten programs to ensure the kids were ready for school….but our score remains the same.

It is time to come up with a new and more aggressive plan for our children’s education.

Posted By: spiderjohn
Date Posted: Jan 18 2016 at 1:35pm
everything is constantly changing
always has--always will
needs to change in the right direction

was a MCF trustee when Dolly Parton Library participation was started
believed in it then as a long-range game-changer
might still be a little early, but pretty bummed about the latest K-3 reading #s
a LOT of books have been distributed--what is happening with them?
despite a noble intent and effort, has MCF's(your!) $$ been spent in vain--and if so, who is the REAL cause for the result?
any real #s to look at from DP/MCF/MSD?

for now, I am going all in on what is being done at the Community Center with CBI. If this won't grab hold and begin the change, then I don't know what would ever work.

It takes parents and their young children to make any improvement work. Cooperation and participation is mandatory and expected. Schools can only do so much if the preliminaries and back-up/follow up isn't there.

Hey--if the parents won't work with it and don't care, then very little will stick. It WOULD help if our teachers and admin trusted each other and worked together constructively, instead of sniping at board/committee meetings(I have watched it in the first person)

United we can stand tall and move forward
Divided we will certainly fail(and fall deeper)
the bricks, mortar and $$$ will mean nothing

We CAN help in so many ways
get involved!

Posted By: Dean
Date Posted: Jan 18 2016 at 2:31pm
As much as many wish to discard, there is a direct correlation between wealth and income, and academic performance. Middletown has too much low income students whom don't have the motivational environment to succeed in school. Last week I was driving out on Breihel around 230pm-300pm, when the high school was letting out. A student got to the intersection across from the MUM entrance and spun his car in circles 5-6 times at 360 degrees, and burning rear tires, for no reason but stupidity. The caliber of the Middletown students just aren't there to raise the results, nor the demographics of parents. Simon and Garfunkel had MCSD in mind when it wrote, 'Slip Sliding Away.' Hopefully the district gets royalties.  

Posted By: Perplexed
Date Posted: Jan 18 2016 at 2:41pm
From a commercial and industrial real estate perspective, what does this tell investors and entrepreneurs alike regarding the availability of a skilled city workforce?  What does it foretell about the economic viability of the city?   City Manager Adkins has his hands, full don't you think?

Posted By: Vivian Moon
Date Posted: Jan 18 2016 at 5:53pm

Gentlemen, I agree with all the above statements. Parents should spend more time with their children and make sure they are ready for Kindergarten…However…the Head Start Program was put in place by our government in 1970 to ensure that low income students would be on an equal footing when these students started Kindergarten.
Sooo…why are all of these students not ready to go to school?

Who is monitoring these programs to ensure that these children are ready for Kindergarten and that we are getting a bang for the big bucks we are spending?
We are spending millions of dollars to get these children ready for school. So why are they not ready to learn when they walk through the doors?
We have full day Kindergartens and even after these children start school we have special reading teachers to give them extra help.
As Spider has pointed out MCF and CBI are also trying to give extra help to solve this problem.
Why is Middletown still at the bottom of the list with all the above extra programs in place?

If we want Middletown to improve and grow we must improve our school system.

Posted By: Vivian Moon
Date Posted: Jan 18 2016 at 6:42pm
Here is the link from MUSA Sept 2009 discussion on this subject matter...

Posted By: Vivian Moon
Date Posted: Jan 22 2016 at 10:12am
Topic: Improve student performance
    Posted: 13 Nov 2015 at 10:06am

Posted: 9:04 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015

$4.25 million to assist with student improvement

By" rel="nofollow - Staff Writer


The Middletown Community Foundation committed more than $4 million to launch a community-wide collaboration to improve student performance and educational attainment in five local school districts, it announced Thursday night.

T. Duane Gordon, executive director of the MCF, said three years ago the foundation convened a group of nearly 100 volunteers – local experts in their field, representation from each of the five school districts it serves, local United Way staff and volunteers, economic development, workforce development, local institutes of higher learning, practitioners in early childhood education – who donated more than 7,000 hours of service to develop a plan for addressing these needs in the community.

The committee looked over the research, what are the best practices from other communities that have tackled these issues, and what has worked in the Middletown area but needs expansion, and they developed a plan that became “Ready! The Campaign for Our Kids’ Future.”

He said the program will be used in the five districts the MCF serves, MiddletownMonroe, Edgewood, Madison and Franklin.

“It was carefully crafted not to duplicate any work already being done in the community, instead to partner with those agencies seeing success and build their capacity to expand what they’re already doing so that they can serve more children in need in our community,” Gordon told the crowd at Miami Valley Gaming.

The cost for these programs: $3.11 million over five years for early childhood and $1.13 million over five years for high school to total $4.25 million over five years, or $850,000 per year over that time, Gordon said. Because the Community Foundation’s operations are funded through other sources, it’s not deducting any fundraising expenses from these donations, instead depositing all of them to its Ready! Fund to provide for these initiatives.

To date, Gordon said, the MCF has raised about $2 million, mostly in pledges that will be paid over the same five-year period of the program.

He said the pre-school campaign is being named in memory of Dr. Robert Flagel, 75, who passed away on April 5, 2015. Flagel’s death left “a tremendous void” on the committee, Gordon said.

Gordon said the initiative is important because Kindergarten Readiness Assessment for Literacy (KRA-L) test scores need to improve, especially in the Middletown district.

The assessment is mandated by the Ohio Department of Education for all kindergartners, said Suzanne Prescott, director of Early Childhood Programs at the Butler County Educational Service Center. Students take the test the first month of the school year and it measures six elements or essential indicators of early literacy success: answering questions, sentence repetition, rhyming production, rhyming identification, letter identification and initial sounds, she said.

The KRA-L is not an indicator of how successful children will be in school, but is aimed at determining areas where students may need extra attention so they can get that help as soon as possible, educators said.

Students receive a composite score that ranges from 0 to 29. The state measures scores in three categories, with children scoring from 0-13 needing intense instruction, 14-23 needing targeted instruction and 24-29 set for enriching instruction.

In Middletown, 570 students took the KRA-L last year, and 32 percent of them scored between 0 to 13; 42 percent scored 14 to 23; and 25 percent scored 24 t0 29. Middletown’s average was 17.30, while Ohio’s average was 20.

There was a direct correlation between test scores, whether the student was enrolled in a preschool program and their family’s financial status, according to the data.

Of the kindergarten students, 67 percent attended preschool programs, and their average KRA-L score was 18.3, which falls within the middle composite score. Those who had no preschool experience scored an average of 15.21.

Three years ago, when the test was administered, Middletown students scored the second lowest of the 10 school districts in ButlerCounty, according to the ODE. Middletown’s composite score of 17.1 was only higher than New Miami’s 16.9. Ross Local’s 22.1 was the highest in the county.

Since 2006, Middletown’s composite score has risen slightly from its 16.41 in 2006.

The two poorest performing districts in the county, New Miami and Middletown, also had the highest percent of economically disadvantaged students. In New Miami, 99.4 percent were classified as economically disadvantaged, while 71.3 percent were inMiddletown. Lakota’s 18.9 percent was the lowest.

To try to improve early childhood, Gordon said, the strategies include:

Partnering Butler County Educational Service Center to expand home visitation for at-risk children birth to age 3 and ages 3-5 by providing funds to hire additional home visitors to reduce or eliminate waiting lists;

Partnering with United Way and the Parent Resource Center to create peer-to-peer parent ambassadors for early childhood education to spread the word on the importance of early childhood education and recruit parents for local programs, including expanded parent support classes;

Partnering with 4c for Children to provide incentives to encourage local pre-schools to utilize coaching programs to meet the state’s five-star quality early childhood education accreditation program;

Partnering with schools and the city to provide transportation assistance for families involved in these programs;

Partnering with highly-rated preschools (three stars and above) to provide sliding-scale pre-school scholarship vouchers for low-income families;

Partnering with United Way and all five school districts to continue the foundation’s ready schools kindergarten orientation initiative;

Partnering with local elementary schools on literacy enrichment programs for grades k-2;

Partnering with the Educational Service Center to provide community resource liaison social workers for elementary schools currently without them;

Partner with another agency to provide a staff position to administer a parent awareness campaign on early childhood education through social media, health care providers, the business community, and the faith community while also coordinating these various early childhood programs funded by Ready!

The high school piece has three strategies, all in partnership with the five school districts:

A technology assistance fund to help districts purchase necessary equipment not funded by their budgets;

A testing assistance fund to provide help for students to take fee-based standardized tests such as the ACT and SAT, guidance testing in school, and GED testing for drop-outs;

Professional development for teachers to assist in guidance of students down the correct path, be it college prep, workforce development, or vocational training.

Members of the foundation’s youth council passed out pledge cards to everyone present at Thursday’s kickoff.

Ken Cohen, president of Cohen Recycling, said his company has made its five-year commitment to the campaign. He called the campaign “of prime importance” to the Middletown community.

He encouraged those to pledge $1,000 to $10,000 for each of the five years.

During the MCF annual meeting Thursday, the following questions were asked:

Approximately how more likely are children unprepared for kindergarten to face chronic unemployment as adults than peers who are prepared for school? Answer: 70 percent

Approximately how more likely are children unprepared for kindergarten to be arrested for a violent crime before age 18 than peers who are prepared for school? Answer: 70 percent

What percentage of the brain’s development has occurred by a child’s fifth birthday? Answer: 90 percent

What is the average return on investment in quality early childhood interventions? Answer: 700-1,000 percent

Approximately 24,000 children birth to age 18 live in the five school districts served by the MCF. About how many are economically disadvantaged? Answer: 12,000

Posted By: Vivian Moon
Date Posted: Jan 22 2016 at 10:15am
Topic: Kindergarten Readiness
    Posted: 12 Sep 2009 at 4:30pm
MIDDLETOWN — Most Middletown children entering kindergarten need extra help in some areas of literacy, according to recently released state test scores.
On average, most Middletown children score midrange on an initial measure of their oral language skills, rhyming, letter identification and alliteration.
The test — called the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment for Literacy, known as the KRA-L — is given to every student in Ohio within four weeks of starting school.
Last year, Middletown children scored 17.58 out of 29, up slightly from 16.49 in 2005.

Kindergarten Readiness Assessment 2008 – 2009
All scores are out of 29 points
Miller Ridge……….……20.94
Central Academy…..…18.60
Rosa Parks………………..16.48

What is the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment-Literacy? (KRA-L)
The KRA-L is a short assessment that will be given to all kindergarten children.
Test must be given before October 1
Children will sit and work with the teacher.  
The KRA-L is made up of activities that include:
• Answering who, what, when, why and how questions;
• Repeating sentences;
• Identifying words that rhyme;
• Giving a word that sounds the same as another word (rhyming production);
• Identifying letters; and
• Listening and identifying the beginning sounds of words. 
 The six skills were selected to assess because developing them is important to becoming a good reader. 
For more information go to:

Posted By: VietVet
Date Posted: Jan 22 2016 at 10:32am
All the millions spent on committees, studies, so-called expert gatherings, game plans initiated and on and on it goes.......for at least two decades now.......

And has anyone done an overview on what has been the end results for all of this activity/money spent to attempt to find a solution to improve the learning skills to meet the requirements desired? Has anyone come to the conclusion that, to date, this has been nothing more than re-inventing the same out of round wheel?

Doubtful. If the powers that be would have reviewed what has been accomplished, they would have come to the conclusion that not one more penny need be spent to revisit failed repetitive programs and attempts. They are the same re-invented failures over and over again and the only change made is they give it a fancy new name to announce to the public. The content is still the same old game.

Here's an idea. If it doesn't work the first ten times one tries something, perhaps it's time to try something totally different in concept. Pressing the accelerator while stuck in the mud and wondering why they aren't moving forward seems to be SOP.

I'm so proud of my hometown and what it has become. Recall 'em all. Let's start over.

Posted By: DuaneGordon
Date Posted: Jan 27 2016 at 5:43pm
To answer Spiderjohn's question, yes, we do have the data to back up a significant impact from the books. For the past seven years that we've distributed the books, we've monitored the literacy scores of Middletown kindergarten students who received books versus those who did not receive books, and it has been consistent that every year the average scores of those who got books is about eight percent higher than those who did not receive books. The problem is, that even after promoting the program for seven years, only about half of eligible parents have signed up to have the books sent to their home so they may read them to their children. The other half are not signed up, so they aren't getting the books, and the students who are scoring poorly on their literacy tests are by and large coming from that population that has chosen not to sign up for the free books. 

In this school report card, 70 percent of Middletown kindergarten students are reading at grade level while only 30 percent are reading below grade level. Those numbers would probably be a lot different if we had not had Imagination Library for the past seven years. 

However, the measurement upon which the grade of D (35%) is based is not how many students are reading at grade level (which is what you would intuitively think is being measured) but rather how many of those who were NOT reading at grade level were brought up to grade level by the NEXT year. For example, if you have 100 kindergarten students and 80 of them are reading at grade level but 20 of them are not, your score is not 80 percent. It's not even 20 percent. The score is a percentage measuring how many of those 20 students did you bring up to grade level in first grade. So if that number is 5 out of the 20, your score is 25 percent. If that number is 10 out of 20, your score is 50 percent. 

Specifically in Middletown, there were 142 kindergarteners not reading on grade level (30 percent of the total class that year), and 67 of them were brought up to grade level by first grade but 75 of them were not, so the kindergarten score would be 47 percent. (67 divided by 142, even though those students only account for 14 percent of the total kindergarteners). In first grade, there were a total of 132 students not reading at grade level and by second grade 48 of them were brought up to grade level while 84 were not, so the first grade score was 36 percent (48 divided by 132). This continued looking at second grade into third grade and third grade into fourth grade. Add all of those scores together and you get 602 students (out of about 1,900 total students) who were not at grade level in one year, versus 211 who were brought up to grade level the next year, and 211 divided by 602 is 35 percent, or a D. 

Theoretically, you could have 90 percent of your students at grade level, but if you can only bring up a small number of that remaining 10 percent up to grade level the next year, you could still score an F on the report card due to less than 10 percent of your students having problems reading. 

So it's not a score that's directly related to Imagination Library's success, other than it's pretty much assured that the kids being counted in those numbers as not reading at grade level probably never signed up for the free books. 

Posted By: spiderjohn
Date Posted: Jan 28 2016 at 8:49am
Thanx 4 the "explanation", Mr.Gordon, though it is more confusing and convoluted than the charted grading. Who designed this criteria and who really takes it seriously(I guess that we r forced to do so). And thanx 4 the well-intentioned sincere effort + the 4.5 mill $$$$ plan.

As they say, "U can lead a horse to water, but u can't make him drink", even if the horse eventually dies of thirst.

Posted By: DuaneGordon
Date Posted: Jan 28 2016 at 9:37am
You may thank the "geniuses" at the state Dept. of Education for the new formula. I like to think I'm a pretty smart guy, but it took me several times of reading over the data myself before I understood how they were calculating those numbers. 

And a big part of the work in the $4.25 million Ready! initiative is to try to new ways to get the word out to parents about what services are available to them and the benefits of using those services, including Imagination Library, Head Start, pre-school, etc., to help get their kids ready for kindergarten. 

Posted By: Dean
Date Posted: Jan 29 2016 at 10:18am
Lets be clear. The type of parent and socio-economic household in Middletown has an over balance of dysfunctional families. Many parents are worrying about keeping the water on, or heat, and it isn't a top of mind issue for their child to be educated and aspire to make it into Princeton.

The disturbing fact that has been revealed is that many parents aren't taking advantage of free books. Moreover, would the parents have time or have the motivation, to read to them, to encourage them, to state, 'Elvis, Mercedes, hang in there, don't give up, you can be anything you want someday.'

Libraries have wonderful programs and great children programs. A substantial percent of Middletown parents don't own a car nor could pay for insurance. What is reflected by these scores are $100 Million and more, was spent on buildings which will have no academic impact, when the demographic of parents is such, they won't take advantage of free books, nor have the time to motivate nor expend in basic education motivation, which is guaranteed to keep the performance of MCSD exactly where it has been, for decades.

That simply put, is infuriating. Going up? No, this elevator is going down one floor at a time, and nearing the basement rapidly. Impacted by changing times and the rust belt manufacturing base, or leadership not looking forward? Both, and its too late to change.  

Posted By: Vivian Moon
Date Posted: Jan 29 2016 at 11:15am


It breaks my heart to stand in line at the library and see parents of small children with stacks of movies and not a bedtime story book in sight.
How do you make these parents understand that reading one book a day to their children will change their world? Every parent has 5 minutes in their busy day to read a book to their child.

In the words of Spider  “U can lead a horse to water, but u can't make him drink", even if the horse eventually dies of thirst.”.

Posted By: Factguy
Date Posted: Jan 29 2016 at 2:55pm
With deeper sadness is not only does the horse die, but also the stable where it is boarded, and the town within the stable is domiciled. When the horse dies, so does its owner, and the town for which the owner resides. If it makes anyone feel better, most non degree individuals read at the 5th grade level, and MOST college grads comprehend at 7th grade. It won't be long before all will be writing like Mr. spiderjohn, n then u know the res of the store ieEmbarrassed

So long Middletown, Will mis ya. TGIF  

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