With a 3-star rating meaning “proficient,” Brookfield Local School District scored slightly above that at 3.5 stars out of 5 on its annual Ohio school report card.
Kristen Foster, the district’s teacher of teaching, learning and accountability, said each school had something to crow about in the report card.
“Each building made some major gains,” she told the school board Sept. 20.
The report card, released in September, evaluated the district in this way:
- Achievement, which measures student scores on state tests, 3 stars out of 5, the same as last year.
- Progress, which compares student performance against past performance, 3 stars, down from 5 stars last year.
- Gap closing, which measures how well schools are meeting performance expectations and addressing English proficiency, absenteeism and gifted education, 4 stars, down from 5 stars last year.
- Graduation, which looks at four- and five-year trends, 4 stars, the same as last year.
- Early literacy, which measures reading proficiency and improvements in grades kindergarten through three over two years, 3 stars, up from 1 star last year.
The 1-star rating a year ago in early literacy prompted elementary Principal Stacey Filicky to promise that it would improve. She noted last year that she had ramped up intervention programs, created reading specialties among the teachers and added new teacher training programs. The district also changed its philosophy to teaching reading to the science of reading to focus on phonics and phonemic awareness.
“As a district, that is going to go a long way for the middle and high school, too, because, obviously, these students are reading and they’re reading at a proficient level,” Foster said. “As they move through the grade levels, that should continue to go up, and the achievement and progress will continue to go up. I think that was a major win for the district.”
The dip in the progress metric from 5 stars to 3 was comparable with the performance of other Trumbull County schools, Foster said.
“It was just a harder test,” she said.
Brookfield High School improved in achievement and gap closing, earning an overall rating of 4 stars. The middle school earned 3 ½ stars and the elementary came in at 3 stars.
Foster said she did not have time prior to the board meeting to delve into individual subject scores. When asked later, she acknowledged the district’s math scores leave something to be desired.
The third-grade test showed 71 percent were proficient in math, and the percentage decreases as you progress through the grades: 54 percent in fourth grade; 53 percent in fifth grade; 49 percent in sixth grade; 47 percent in seventh grade; and 15 percent in eighth grade, not including the handful of eighth-grade students who took ninth-grade algebra.
At the high school, algebra 1 proficiency was 35 percent, and geometry was 26 percent.
“While the scores may not be where we would ideally like them to be, the data does show that we are making strides in the right direction, especially in grades three, five and seven,” Foster said in an email. “Even in the case of grade six, where we saw a slight decrease in scores, it’s important to note that the performance remained comparable to the state average and other similar districts. This demonstrates that we are on par with our peers in spite of the minor dip in scores.
“Furthermore,” she said, “it’s crucial to understand that the report card percentages that are publicized do not capture the full picture. The progress component is equally as important as the achievement scores. The progress component measures how groups of students have made progress in comparison to the statewide expectation of growth. This expectation is based on how students in the group performed, on average, compared to similar students across the state. For example, in math, in all but two grade levels, we demonstrated progress compared to previous years.”
The district is “actively taking steps to address the math scores” through its choice of curriculum and improved teaching strategies, she said.
Foster told the board that officials are looking for better ways to serve gifted students, and to stem chronic absenteeism.
“We’re starting to move the needle academically,” said Supt. Toby Gibson. “Kudos to a lot of people. The work that Kristen does behind the scenes, the administrators taking that and conveying what they’re supposed to do and sharing it with staff members who execute the plan and work day in and day out, and also kudos to our kids who come to school every day with an open mind and work hard and show up and try. We’ve been trying to get them just to try for a number of years and it’s starting to pay off. Big gains. We’re not complacent. We’re gonna keep working.”
Brookfield Local School District’s state report card by school:
- Brookfield Elementary: 3 out of 5 stars overall, with 3 stars each in achievement, early literacy and gap closing, and 1 star in progress. Based on their state test scores, 60 percent of third graders were proficient in English language arts and 71 percent in math, but those levels dropped in fourth grade to 48 percent in ELA and 54 percent in math.
- Brookfield Middle School: 3.5 stars, with 3 stars each in achievement and progress and 4 stars in gap closing. Math proficiency fell each year from fifth grade to eighth, where only 15 percent of eighth graders were proficient. But, of the handful of eighth-grade students who took high school algebra, 90 percent were proficient.
- Brookfield High School: 4 stars, with 3 stars each in achievement and progress and 4 stars each in gap closing and graduation. More than 65 percent of students were proficient in American government, American history, biology and ELA, but only 35 percent were proficient in algebra and 26 percent in geometry.
- College, career, workforce and military readiness is not considered in the school’s report card, but 63 percent of the graduating class demonstrated “post-secondary readiness,” which is based on participation in tests such as the ACT, the achievement of industry-recognized credentials, the receipt of an honors diploma, and participation in dual enrollment with a local college, a pre-apprenticeship program, or advanced placement classes.