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Kettering scores Excellent with Distinction on report card

Photo: Jessica Smith

Every school in the Kettering City School District is marking the district's "Excellent with Distinction" rating on the state report card by displaying banners about the accomplishment. This one greets drivers on Shroyer Road in front of Fairmont High School.

By Stephanie Taylor, Staff Writer

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Every year, hundreds of students work hard to get good grades on their report cards. However, students aren’t the only ones trying to get an outstanding report card; the Kettering School District is, too.

For the 2009-10 school year, the district received the best grade possible on its report card: “Excellent with Distinction.” Fairmont High School also earned an “Excellent” rating, the highest rating a high school can get.

Fairmont Principal Dan Von Handorf was very pleased with the district’s new rating. “It’s pretty incredible and exciting,” he said. “Excellent with Distinction is like earning an A+.”

Rating districts is a complex process

Determining district ratings is a very complicated process. Every district is evaluated on four measures:

  • State Indicators: These include tests scores in a variety of subjects in grades 3-8 and 10, as well as attendance and graduation rates.
  • Performance Index: This number reflects the proficiency of every student. Any score over 100 is considered passing.
  • Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP):  This is a federally mandated measure involving the reading and math proficiency of all students, as well a measure of several subgroups of students. Districts either meet AYP or they don’t.
  • Value Added Measure: This rating applies only to grades 4-8; it measures whether or not students have made a year’s worth of progress in reading and math.

Kettering either met or exceeded the requirements in all four areas for the 2009-10 school year. The district:

  • met 26 out of 26 State Indicators;
  • earned a Performance Index of 101;
  • met AYP; and
  • earned a “plus” in Value Added, indicating students made more than a year’s worth of progress.

The district had done well on past report cards. But its final rating in 2008-09 was hurt because students with disabilities and those with limited English proficiency failed to meet reading and math standards, which meant the district failed to meet AYP. This gave Kettering staff a goal: to maintain all of the other positive ratings but give particular attention to improving the performance of students in those two subgroups. 

Von Handorf hopes voters remember the district’s rating when they go to the polls in November. “It’s hard to tell what would convince voters to vote for a levy, but I think the high rating certainly can’t hurt,” he said. “I think it shows we are working hard to make sure we get good results with taxpayers’ money.” 

The Kettering School District is proudly displaying banners in front of every Kettering school to celebrate the “Excellent with Distinction” rating. But Von Handorf isn’t just looking back with pride. He’s also looking forward and says he’s been reminding students that expectations remain high.

“I’ve been bragging to every class that will listen about our juniors,” Von Handorf said. “When they were sophomores last year, they did a great job on the OGT. They got 104.5 on the Performance Index, which is kind of like getting a 104.5 percent in a class.” He said he’s been telling this year’s freshmen and sophomores to try to beat last year’s OGT scores.

Other interesting facts about ’09-10

  • Fairmont’s graduation rate was 98 percent, which is higher than Beavercreek, Springboro, and Kettering rivals Oakwood and Centerville. The state standard is 90 percent.
  • Fairmont’s passage rate for the OGT ranged from a low of 94.5 percent in Science to a high of 96 percent in Writing. The state standard for all five subject areas is 85 percent.
  • The percentage of Kettering School District teachers with at least a Master’s Degree was 71.5.
  • The percentage of Fairmont sophomores who scored at an Accelerated or Advanced level on the OGT was 62.1. Both levels are beyond the Proficient level, which is the lowest level for passing.
  • Fairmont’s attendance rate was 94.2 percent, just above the state standard of 93 percent.

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The school newsmagazine of Kettering Fairmont High School.
Kettering scores Excellent with Distinction on report card