Milford rated ‘excellent’ fifth year in a row

The Milford School District continued an excellent tradition by achieving the state’s top rating status for schools for a fifth time.

This year, the district and all seven schools in it were rated excellent by the state due to quality performances on state tests. Valerie Miller, Communications Coordinator for Milford Schools, said that the district earned its rating based solely on the strength of their students’ performances, and not based on a series of 25 indicators created by the state.

“This is the third year in a row and the fifth time in six years,” said Miller. “We have 23 indicators, but our performance index score qualifies us for the rating.”

Typically, 24 of the 25 indicators, such as test scores and graduation rates, must be met before an excellent rating can be given. However, the state also recognizes student achievement as an avenue for scholastic excellence.

“The state has two different options as to how a district qualifies,” said Miller. “The performance index score recognizes students that do exceptionally well on the test. You have three levels: proficient, accelerated and advanced. It becomes a weighted scale where you get a higher rate of points for advanced and accelerated than proficient. This illustrates that a majority of our students did exceptionally well on the test. That raised our performance index score to 103.3, and anything over 100 gives you that excellent rating.”

Miller said that the system missed passing indicators for the seventh grade math test and failed the graduation rate indicator, but passed all of the others and did so quite well. Historically, elementary scores in reading and writing have always been strong for the district, and work to realign curriculum has helped other subjects and grade levels to be strengthened as well.

“I would say that reading and writing in the elementary grades has typically been very strong,” said Miller. “Since the Ohio Graduation Test was put into effect last year, our high school students have done very well on all of the different components. They are all in the 90 percentile. We worked on our curriculum to align it to state curriculum. Our math program was overhauled to improve performance. We still have work to do, but have plans in place.”

Miller said that continuing education for teachers and focusing on state standards has helped to improve scores, which have continued to improve. In the past, the students didn’t necessarily learn the material that was included on the tests. Now, said Miller, the students are getting more of what the tests are trying to evaluate.

“They are covering in the classroom material that is covered on the test,” said Miller. “In the past, the test may not have been aligned with curriculum. The kids may have been tested on material they didn’t learn in class, but now they are aligned. That should help.”

The success of last year’s effort on the tests, said Miller, is a testament to the dedication and ability not only of the students and teachers, but also of the parents who help their children at home.

“We need to give credit to our students and teachers and parents who work with their kids at home,” said Miller. “This shows the hard work they put in during the last school year. They were able to accomplish a great deal and achieve success.”