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2016-2017 Instructional Program Information

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Part VI Posted September 14, 2016

 

Dear FCSD Families and Community,

 

This is the last of a series of communications designed to give you information about Fairfield City School District’s instructional program.  Thank you for taking the time to learn more about what we are doing well and what we are striving to do better.  This email contains information about the K-3 Literacy component of the report card.

 

When the Ohio Department of Education releases its annual Local Report Card about Fairfield later this week, you will have to make a decision.  This is the same decision thousands of other Ohioans will also have to make.  What will I choose to think about my local public school district?  Will I choose to utilize narrow measures and singular data points that legislatures and ODE determined, or will I choose to examine the whole child and the data from many sources which make sense for my community?  The choice is yours.

 

Remember, you can always get the best information about your child’s progress from teachers, building administrators, and district office personnel.  We are here to partner with you to ensure every child has an outstanding Fairfield experience.

 

Lani Wildow

Director of Curriculum and Instruction

wildow_l@fairfieldcityschools.comHYPERLINK mailto:Wildow_l@fairfieldcityschools.com

513.858.7122

 

K-3 Literacy

What does “K-3 Literacy” mean to Fairfield and how are our students doing?

The K-3 Literacy component is a relatively new component to Ohio’s report card.  In theory, this measure is a great idea.  Reading is the foundation of all learning, and it is imperative we ensure all of our students are successful readers as early as possible.  Often you will hear teachers of young students say, “In grades K-3 children learn to read, and in grades 4 and above, they read to learn.”

 

While the K-3 Literacy component is not the same thing as Ohio’s Third Grade Reading Guarantee (TGRG), they are related.  According to Ohio law, if students do not reach a specified level of reading by the end of 3rd grade, they must be retained.  Fairfield has made significant progress in this area, even with the benchmark rising each year.  Our goal is to have all students reading at grade level so there is no retention due to this law.

 

 

2013-2014

2014-2015

2015-2016

Total number of students retained in 3rd grade due to Ohio’s Third Grade Reading Guarantee

7

4

1

 

 

Something the K-3 Literacy component does not measure is how well ALL students in our K-3 can read.  One of the best tools we have to screen our students and to measure their growth is the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessment.  This assessment has been mentioned several times in previous emails, and that is purposeful.  The goal of any high quality assessment is for it to be utilized in many ways to help our students. 

 

The youngest Fairfield students learn to read and become literate by third grade.  Here is MAP data from last school year (2015-2016).

 

Grade Level

Fairfield’s Average Fall Starting Point

National Average Fall Starting Point

Fairfield Average Growth

National Average Growth

K

139.2

141.0

18.4

17.1

1

159.3

160.7

17.6

16.8

2

173.5

174.7

15.8

14

3

187.4

188.3

13.8

10.3

 

As you can see, what this data shows is, often times, unfortunately, our students come to us a little behind the national average in reading; however, the growth our students make each year is far above the national average.  By the time our students leave third grade, they are ready to read to learn.

 

 

How does the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Legislature define “K-3 Literacy”?

The K-3 Literacy measure looks at students who are not on-track on the Kindergarten diagnostic and gives credit for those students who improve to on-track following the first grade diagnostic. Similarly, it measures improvement from the first to second grade diagnostics, second to third grade diagnostics and from the third grade diagnostic to the third grade state test.

 

The basic gist of this measure is illustrated in this chart.  More information can be found at this site.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part IV & V Posted September 13, 2016

 

Dear FCSD Families and Community,

 

This is the week the Ohio Department of Education will release its annual Local Report Card. Fairfield will be rated according to legislative and Ohio Department of Education criteria. As a district, we feel it is important you have information about the criteria used on the report card as well as information that never reaches the report card. Many good things are happening for the students of Fairfield City Schools.

 

This email includes information about the fourth and fifth components of the Local Report Card – Graduation Rate and Prepared for Success. Both of these components examines a great deal of data about our high school.

 

As always, please remember, you can get the best information about your child’s progress from teachers, building administrators, and district office personnel. We are here to partner with you to ensure every child has an outstanding Fairfield experience.

 

Lani Wildow
Director of Curriculum and Instruction
wildow_l@fairfieldcityschools.com
513.858.7122

 


Graduation Rate
What does “graduation rate” mean to Fairfield and how are our students doing?
Having a high school diploma has been proven to be a clear way to improve long term household incomes. It is critical to ensure every child leaves Fairfield High School with a diploma.

 

Graduation rate, on the surface, appears to be one the most straight forward components of the Local Report Card. This is an area where the Fairfield City School District is very successful. We typically have 94-97% of our students graduate within four years of starting high school and even more graduate after a fifth year.

 

We also regularly examine disaggregated graduation data to be sure all of our students are being successful (the gap closing component). This is also something where our students have seen a great deal of success. All of our students are able to earn credits and pass mandatory state assessment to graduate and move forward with their next phase of life.

 

How does the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Legislature define “graduation rate”?
As mentioned earlier, this is one of the most straightforward calculations of the local report card. To learn more about how this measure is calculated and why it is important, click here.

 

 Prepared for Success
What does “prepared for success” mean to Fairfield and how are our students doing?
Prepared for success. This phrase has a wide variety of meaning to our high school students and their families. For some, success means going to an elite college. For others, it means graduating and serving in the armed forces. And yet for others who have significant disabilities, success may mean continuing on in Fairfield High School until the age of 22 as allowed by law. Success is truly defined by the individual student.

 

Our high school students are being successful every day in a wide variety of ways. Below are a few examples:
  • Over the past three years, the percent of Fairfield students who have had to take remedial English and mathematics classes when entering four year colleges has dropped from 9% to 3%.
  • In the last four years, we have had 3,060 college level courses have been completed by FHS students while still in high school.
  • This year, we have over 200 students attending Butler Tech who can potentially earn industry credentials for their work.
  • Our economically disadvantaged students are getting a head start on their future as they are a huge portion of our Cincinnati State classes taught at Fairfield High School.
  • Fairfield Academy is in its third year of operation, and it is nearly at capacity serving a wide variety of high school students who need a different learning environment. The Academy ensures all of our high school students have their daily needs met, receive high quality instruction, and earn a meaningful diploma.

 

Being “prepared for success” is exactly what Fairfield City School District wants for each and every student we serve.

 

How does the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Legislature define “prepared for success”?
The Ohio Department of Education defines “Prepared for Success” based upon a variety of benchmarks including ACT scores, SAT scores, honors diplomas, and industry credentials. As students hit these benchmarks, districts earn points of the local report card. These points are totaled and divided by the number of students who are in the graduating class. This gives the district a percent and letter grade for this component.

 

For more information about the “Prepared for Success” component, visit the Ohio Department of Education’s [ http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Data/Report-Card-Resources/Prepared-for-Success-Component ]website.

 

 -

 

Part III Posted September 12, 2016

 


Dear FCSD Families and Community,

 

Thank you for taking the time to review these emails. As you know, this is the third of six emails designed to help you learn more about our instructional program, our successes, and our areas of need. In addition, this email include a link to the Ohio Department of Education Local Report Card Resources page as well as a link to district resources.

 

As always, please remember, you can get the best information about your child’s progress from teachers, building administrators, and district office personnel. We are here to partner with you to ensure every child has an outstanding Fairfield experience.

 

Lani Wildow
Director of Curriculum and Instruction
wildow_l@fairfieldcityschools.com
513.858.7122

 


Gap Closing
What does “gap closing” mean to Fairfield and how are our students doing?
When local report cards first emerged in Ohio in the 1990’s, many districts were able to reach the state’s benchmarks by making sure that some of their students were successful. A “gap closing” measure was then introduced, measuring how well groups of students who, on a national level, were not performing well. At that time, districts across Ohio had to truly make sure their instructional programs were meeting the needs of all learners.

 

In Fairfield, we embrace the concept of gap closing. We want to make sure ALL of our students are being successful. A clear example of our commitment to all students is our Equity Plan. This plan has been in existence for many years, and it focuses on how we can be sure we are meeting the needs of all of our students. We work in all of our grade levels to examine our common formative and common summative assessments data – by student groups – to ensure each child is growing and achieving; we ensure placement testing is done during the school day so every child has equal opportunity to be involved in all of our programs; and we offer professional development to our staff to help them meet the needs of underrepresented students.

One of the data points we examine to see if our system is being successful is the diversity in our top level classes at Fairfield High School. The chart below represents the increase over the past four years in the diversity of some top level classes.
 
Student Group AP Biology AP Chemistry AP Government
African American 6% 1% 11%
LEP 4% 6% 4%
Economically Disadvantaged 7% 14% 5%
Hispanic 4% NC NC
 
 
 In addition, we have added more college level offerings at the high school to ensure our students have ample opportunities to take college level work while still in high school.
Student Group Dual Credit Anatomy Dual Credit Biology Dual Credit Calculus Dual Credit Psychology
African American 6% 10% 12% 8%
Hispanic 3% 5% 3% 7%
Economically Disadvantaged 12% 25% 14% 20%
LEP NC NC NC 1%

 

 

This year alone, we have students involved in 845 courses yielding college credit while still in high school. Research has proven, earning credits while still in high school is the number one way to reduce college remediation rates and ensure students are truly prepared for whatever the next step is after high school – college, career, or military.

 

We, as a district, are passionate about ensuring all of our students succeed. We measure our efforts, in a best practice manner, by measuring a variety of data points. This is the only way to know if a system is truly working. Fairfield City School District is closing the gap.

 

Below is an example of the Ohio Department of Education’s “gap closing” based upon one assessment – Ohio’s State Tests. Please see prior emails for more information about these assessments. This measurement method is used for graduation, reading, and mathematics.

 

 

 
How does the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Legislature define “gap closing”?
According to the Ohio Department of Education, “Ensuring success for every child means that schools must close the gaps that exist in the achievement between groups of students that may be based on income, race, ethnicity or disability. The Gap Closing component shows how well schools are meeting performance expectations for our most vulnerable students in English language arts, math and graduation. This year, for the first time, schools and districts are receiving grades on the overall Gap Closing component, as well as grades for the achievement level of each student group.”

 

Click here for more information from ODE about local report card resources.

 

 -

Part II Posted September 9, 2016

 

Dear FCSD Families and Community,

 

This is the second of six emails designed to help you learn more about our instructional program, our successes, and our areas of need.  In addition, these emails include a link to the Ohio Department of Education resources. 

 As always, please remember, you can get the best information about your child’s progress from teachers, building administrators, and district office personnel.  We are here to partner with you to ensure every child has an outstanding Fairfield experience.

 

Lani Wildow

Director of Curriculum and Instruction

wildow_l@fairfieldcityschools.com

513.858.7122

 

 

Progress

What does “progress” mean to Fairfield and how are our students doing?

Advance.  Momentum. Breakthrough.  Growth.  All of these words are synonyms for “progress.”  The one educators associate most often with progress is the last term – growth.  We spend a great deal of time “growing” our students.  Growth is so important, it is something that we measure in many ways.

  •     MAP – “The Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) is a computer adaptive test, which means every student gets a unique set of test questions based on responses to previous questions. As the student answers correctly, questions get harder. If the student answers incorrectly, the questions get easier. By the end of the test, most students will answer about half the questions correctly. MAP can adjust for students wherever they are starting from, regardless of the grade they are in. For instance, if a third grader is actually reading like a fifth grader, MAP will be able to identify that. Or, if a fifth grader is doing math like a third grader, MAP will identify that. Both things are incredibly important for a teacher to know, so that they can plan instruction efficiently” (Teach. Learn. Grow.  The Education Blog by NWEA).  In Fairfield, students take the MAP assessment in reading and mathematics multiple times a year in grades K-8 so we can measure students’ growth on a regular basis.  Fairfield students’ growth is comparable to that of nationally normed groups.
  •     SLOs – Student Learning Objectives are teacher created pre and post assessments designed to measure students’ knowledge at the start of a course / grade level and again at the end of the year. Students’ growth is determined by subtracting the pretest score from the post test score.  For the past two years, every student in Fairfield has participated in SLO process.
  •     Progress Monitoring – Progress monitoring is a process used by educators to literally measure the progress of students in a particular area. The monitoring is typically individualized based upon a student’s needs.  Progress monitoring is most often done in reading or mathematics.  It is also used to help students improve in other skills such as behaviors and social skills.
  •     Value-Added – Value-added is a statistical analysis used to measure the academic growth of students from year to year. In other words, the value-added measure looks at how much academic progress students make within a district, a school, or with a teacher within a year. This data can be very valuable when examining our instructional program.  Reports come to us in a way which helps us analyze where our strengths are and where we need to improve.

 

As a district, there is no doubt Fairfield grows students.  We have many data points to support this statement.  But, more importantly, each year we have great kids who graduate from Fairfield High School ready to go on and become productive members of the Fairfield community.  They go to college, they go to work, they join the military – they make our entire community proud.  These young people came from all across the area excited to start school – North, South, East, West, Central; they grew and developed through FIS and FMS; and they blossomed while at FFS, the Academy, and FHS.  No one data point can truly capture all the progress our students have made.

 

 

How does the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Legislature define “progress”?

The Ohio Department of Education defines progress using one measure.  It is called value-added.  According to ODE, “Value-added analysis helps educators measure the impact schools and teachers have on students’ academic progress rates from year to year. Ohio selected a value-added measure that provides educators with information on how they can use data to focus instruction.”  This measure is calculated solely from students’ performance on Ohio’s State Tests. 

 

As shared in the “achievement” information, Ohio’s State Tests were administered for the first time in the 2015-2016 school year.  For two years prior, there were other assessments administered to our students.  Below is an outline of Ohio’s assessment history.

  •     In 2013-2014, Ohio’s school districts were assessed on Ohio's Academic Content Standards (minimum competency standards) via paper and pencil.
  •     2014-2015 brought online assessment for some grade levels (4-9), and the ELA and math assessments were created by a consortium called PARCC. The social studies and science assessments were created by a company called AIR.
  •     In 2015-16, Ohio’s schools continued with online testing but all of the assessments changed to be called "Ohio's State Tests." While AIR still remained Ohio's testing, every test at every grade level was changed to mirror the new, more rigorous standards (Ohio’s New Learning Standards -- college and career ready standards).  This change affected every student in grades 3-10.

 

To find out more information regarding value-added from the Ohio Department of Education, visit their website.  They have made many resources available to the public.  You can also click here to access this information.

 

 

Part I Posted September 7, 2016

Dear FCSD Family and Community,

 

Over the next two weeks, you will be receiving a series of six emails designed to share information with you about our instructional program.  There will be a mix of information – some information will show the successes and struggles that we, as a district, recognize; other information will explain how the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) rates schools and districts.  Sometimes these two perspectives are the same, and sometimes they are very different.  The ODE Local Report Cards for 2016 will be released within the next few weeks, and we wanted you to have information about each component of the report card prior to its release.

 

Always know you can get the best information about your child’s progress from teachers, building administrators, and district office personnel.  We are here to partner with you to ensure every student have an outstanding Fairfield experience.

 

Lani Wildow

Director of Curriculum and Instruction

wildow_l@fairfieldcityschools.com

513.858.7122

 

 

Achievement

What does “achievement” mean to Fairfield and how are our students doing?

Achievement is typically defined as “something done well, typically by effort, courage, or skill.”  Using this definition, students in the Fairfield City School District achieve every single day. 

  •       Fairfield students spend many hours studying, practicing, and working to do the best they can in the classroom – they are achieving by the effort they put into their work.
  •      There are Fairfield students who have had to overcome tremendous obstacles many of us cannot imagine (heartache, loss, and setbacks) – they are achieving by the courage they put forth towards their studies each and every day.
  •      Fairfield students are developing their handwriting to improve brain function and hand eye coordination, improving musical skills which also improve academic development, and even some who are exerting unbelievable effort to overcome anxiety and walk through our halls each day – these students are achieving by the skills they are developing.

 

Another way to look at educational achievement is through the eyes of testing.  How well do Fairfield students do on standardized assessments?  In order to truly answer this question, it is best practice to examine multiple data points.

  •       All students in the Fairfield City School District participate in the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessment for reading and math multiple times a year grades K-8. This assessment has 35+ years of research behind it, and it has millions of students in its data pool.  The end of year results consistently show our students on par nationally and often higher than the norm group.
  •       Another assessment used within our district is the CogAT. This assessment measures students’ learned reasoning abilities in the three areas most linked to academic success in school.  Starting with the 2016-2017 school year, this assessment will be administered in 2nd and 5th grade instead of 4th.  Again, our students’ are comparable and often higher than other norm groups.
  •      In an effort to raise student achievement, there has been a concerted effort to offer more college and career opportunities to our secondary students.
    •      This year there are 41 advanced classes at Fairfield Middle School. This number has steadily increased over the past five years.  Five years ago, there were only 20 advanced sections available to students.
    •      Five years ago, 293 students participating in the PSAT at Fairfield High School. Last year, we had 1282 take this test.
    •      In the Fairfield High School Class of 2014, there were 410 students who took the ACT. Last school year, there were over 700 students who participated in this assessment.  This type of higher level of rigor and achievement has become part of the norm for all Fairfield High School students because these assessments help our students, families, and staff work together to make future plans about college, career, or military.

 

Even though our district has guidelines outlining a plan for all students to participate in district level testing at various points throughout their educational career, we recognize that every child is an individual.  Our teachers and building administrators work, first and foremost, to know each child as an individual and to make choices that are in the best interest of him or her every single day.

 

At all levels in our district, we recognize there are areas in which we need to improve.  We want to see our students achieve more.  Our main area for improvement in achievement is on Ohio’s State Tests.  We know we need to do help our students perform better on these assessments, and we are committed to doing so.

 

 

How does the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Legislature define “achievement”?

Achievement is defined as a student’s performance on one test – Ohio’s State Test.  These tests are administered at specific grade levels in the spring of each year.  In other words, the achievement of our district is measured by how our students perform on one test – NOT by examining multiple data point as best practice would do.  In addition, there is no gray area for teachers or administrators to make individual decisions as to what is best for a student on a given day.  State testing rules are very precise.

 

It is also important to know the basic history of the development of the state assessments over the past three years.  Each time the developer changes, so do the parameters of the tests.

  •      In 2013-2014, Ohio’s school districts were assessed on Ohio's Academic Content Standards (minimum competency standards) via paper and pencil.
  •      2014-2015 brought online assessment for some grade levels (4-9), and the ELA and math assessments were created by a consortium called PARCC. The social studies and science assessments were created by a company called AIR.
  •      In 2015-16, Ohio’s schools continued with online testing but all of the assessments changed to be called "Ohio's State Tests." While AIR still remained Ohio's testing, every test at every grade level was changed to mirror the new, more rigorous standards (Ohio’s New Learning Standards -- college and career ready standards).  This change affected every student in grades 3-10.

 

To find out more information regarding achievement from the Ohio Department of Education, visit their website.  They have made many resources available to the public.  You can also click here to access this information.