The Ohio Department of Education released the 2018 Ohio School Report Cards Thursday morning, and the cards were the first report cards to include an overall grade in addition to grades for six major components, including achievement, gap closing, K-3 literacy, progress, graduation rate and prepared for success.

The achievement component indicates the number of students who passed the state tests and how well they performed on them. It includes a performance index and indicators met. The gap closing component measures how well schools are meeting the performance expectations for the most vulnerable populations of students in English, language arts, math and graduation. The K-3 literacy rating measures how successful the school is at getting struggling readers on track to proficiency in third grade and beyond. The progress component which looks at the growth that all students are making based on their past performance. Finally, the prepared for success component measures how well Ohio’s students are prepared for future opportunities.

The three districts in the area with “A” overall grades, including Ottoville, were among 28 statewide.

“We have good students, good parents and good teachers,” Ottoville Superintendent Scott Mangas said. “Our teachers differentiate, teaching to all levels in their classroom not just to the middle. They teach to those who may be a little behind and the gifted. We have also made sure they have the tools they need, like IXL for math and Accelerated Reader (AR).”

Mangas said he is planning some type of celebration for the students and staff in the near future.

Area districts earning a “B” overall included Fort Jennings and Spencerville. The “B” grade was achieved by 31.4 percent of the state’s public schools.

“We are very pleased with the results,” Jennings Superintendent Nick Langhals said Friday morning. “Our staff and students worked really hard to prepare and welcome the testing this year.”

Jennings improved in achievement from a “D” to a “C”; gap from an “F” to and “A”; progress from a “D” to an “A”; and preparedness stayed at a “C.”

The school also invested in software to help bring students in line with where they should be, including IXL, AR and Study Island.

“The district made a commitment to look at what was available to target certain standards to help our students and teachers improve our scores,” Langhals said. “We also worked at academic vocabulary, which is really important. Students need to hear questions phrased the same way as they will on the test.”

Districts picking up a “C” overall included Delphos Jefferson and Elida. More than 40 percent of Ohio schools received a “C.”

While Delphos City Schools Interim Superintendent Joel Hatfield wasn’t in Delphos last year, he is no stranger to state testing as he served in Spencerville Schools for many years.

“You always look at testing and compare yourself to other districts of the same size and economic factors,” Hatfield said. “We have some positives and definitely areas we need to work on. We have lower scores in middle school and high school math and English/Language Arts. We’ll set goals in those areas and work toward improving.”

Something interesting Hatfield found was in the financial area.

“Delphos spends $1,000 less per student than the state average but we rank at 82.8 percent in performance. That’s in the top 20 percent,” Hatfield notes. “So we are meeting the needs of a number of our students but we have plenty of room for improvement.”

Hatfield added that the test results are part of a puzzle and helpful in many ways in guiding the district.

No area districts earned “D” grades.

Fourteen districts in the state, or 2.3 percent, earned “F” overall grades.

“This year’s report cards show improvement in districts in every corner of the state, at all levels of wealth, large and small, urban, rural and everything in between,” said Paolo DeMaria, superintendent of public instruction, in a press release. “Each of Ohio’s students can achieve, and the report cards provide us with reasons to celebrate. They also identify areas for improvement, and we’ll use them to drive conversations on how we can better serve Ohio’s 1.7 million students. As we work to implement Ohio’s Strategic Plan for Education, ‘Each Child, Our Future,’ we’ll continue to build on the improvement momentum we’re seeing.”