JA board updated on preliminary state test results


The Jonathan Alder School Board got its first look Tuesday at state testing results.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Misty Swanger presented preliminary state assessment results. Districts around the state received the preliminary results earlier this month. Swanger reminded board members the results were only preliminary. She said the percentages, “change a little bit each year.”

Swanger explained that a student could have moved into the district in time for testing, but received a majority of instruction in another district. She said that student’s scores would be excluded from Jonathan Alder’s results. She said there are other scenarios where a specific score could be excluded. Those exclusions are not factored into the preliminary results, Swanger said, but she wanted to give the board the information she had.

“As of today, we hit 12 indicators,” Swanger said. “As of this time last year, we hit 12 indicators. A couple of those have changed as to which areas and we will obviously keep working on those.”

She said that work has actually begun already.

“We have gone over a lot of this with administrators already, kind of looking at our trends,” Swanger said.

Last week, administrators traded data with each other — high school officials looking at intermediate school data, intermediate school officials looking at elementary school data, etc.

“We give reports back and suggestions — what are we seeing, what trends are we seeing — to kind of help start facilitate some of these conversations,” Swanger said.

According to the preliminary report information, the district passed both social studies indicators, two of the three science indicators, and four of eight indicators in both math and English language arts.

For a district to meet the indicator, at least 80% of students must pass.

“We have a couple that are close,” Swanger said.

As part of the report to the board, Swanger included a comparison to the state averages.

“We are well above the state average in most categories,” Swanger said.

The report did not include the numbers, but Swanger said she has looked at other districts in the region.

“Right now, we are feeling pretty good,” Swanger said. “We have a couple areas, we always have some room for improvement, but compared to a lot of central Ohio schools, we are right in the ball park.”

She specifically mentioned Dublin and New Albany.

“Sometimes we don’t compare ourselves to those, but I do,” Swanger said.

Board members expressed pleasure with the results. Board president Steve Votaw called them “good.”

“A lot of hard work by our teachers and our students to hit these indicators so we are pretty excited about that,” Swanger said.

In other news:

-Superintendent Gary Chapman said the high school stadium turf project is, “still on schedule, despite the recent rains last week.”

He said he was nervous that weather would delay the installation.

“Our field, we are finding out, drains real, real well,” Chapman said.

He said the turf is set to be delivered and installed beginning July 8. Improvements to the stadium press box and score board are expected to be completed by the end of July.

“It’s a lot of work, but it is exciting and we are looking forward to all of it,” the superintendent said.

Chapman said the music and athletic boosters are setting up a Meet-the-Team community event.

-Chapman said the district food service department is looking at the possibility of a price increase for meals in the 2019-2020 school year. He said nothing is official and he hopes to have more information for the meeting in July.

-The school board honored the high school softball team which won the 2019 Division II state championship earlier in June.

“It really is a great accomplishment,” Votaw said, calling the team, “Amazingly fun to watch.”

The board also honored players, teams and coaches that received conference, district, regional or state honors in their sport.

-Swanger said that with the personnel moves approved at the meeting the district is, “as of now, fully staffed as far as certified teachers.”

-Agreed to pay $15,700 to George Junior Republic, a residential school in Pennsylvania, for special education services.

Jen Korn, director of student services for the district said a Madison County judge ordered a Jonathan Alder student to attend the out of state facility.

“We were not part of the decision to place the child there,” Korn said.

She said other districts have contested whether they are required to pay for court-mandated treatment and education at facilities out of state.

Chapman explained that he spoke with a district attorney. The attorney said it would cost the district more to fight the cost than to pay it.

Votaw said he was voting to approve the payment “reluctantly.”

-School board moved its next regular meeting from July 16 to 6:30 p.m. on Monday, July 22, 2019. The meeting will take place at the Jonathan Alder High School.

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