Brookfield Local School District scored some great marks on its state report card, but a very poor grade in early literacy has officials making a concerted effort to bring it up.
The report card released in September scored the district in these ways:
- Achievement, which measures student scores on state tests: 3 stars out of 5.
- Progress, which compares student performance against past performance: 5 stars.
- Gap closing, which measures the reduction of education gaps: 5 stars.
- Graduation, which looks at four- and five-year trends: 4 stars.
- Early literacy, which measures reading proficiency and improvement in grades kindergarten through three over two years: 1 star.
Kristen Foster, the district’s director of teaching, learning and accountability, said she considers progress and gap closing to be the two most important subjects because it measures student performance over time, but spent most of her presentation at the Sept. 21 school board meeting addressing the school’s approach to improving the other scores.
She noted that Brookfield was ranked 241 out of 607 schools in the state, and that Weathersfield Local School District, which is considered a similar school because of economic and other factors, was ranked 13. Foster said she reached out to the Trumbull County Educational Service Center liaison to Weathersfield to find out what Weathersfield is doing differently than Brookfield. She said Brookfield is doing many of the same things as Weathersfield, it’s just that Weathersfield implemented them earlier.
Weathersfield has had a focus on early reading phonics and phonemic awareness, which Brookfield has just started, and helps teachers understand the diagnostic data that is being collected through testing, Foster said. Weathersfield also has tailored its afterschool program to specific student needs, and made sure teachers have the support they need to effectively implement the curriculum and teaching practices, she said.
Elementary Principal Stacey Filicky said she has started reading intervention programs for all students based on their needs. Students who are doing well in reading are getting help in math, and students who excel are given “push activities” and a measure of independence.
Teachers are specializing in certain aspects of literacy, and students move from teacher to teacher for interventions to get the specific help they need, Filicky said.
Teacher training has included tips on classroom management and social emotional learning, Filicky said.
“The good is coming, I promise,” Filicky said. “I’ve been putting in the work.”
“We do have some really good things that are going on right now that I think are going to change this,” Foster said of the early literacy score. “You’ll see this improve next year.”
“We have all of the bells and whistles that we need,” Foster said. “We have the curriculum that we need. We have what we need, the resources. Now, it’s implementing them and making sure we get our teachers continued support. That’s the key here.”
Brookfield’s report card can be found at reportcard.education.ohio.gov