New Richmond school district receives ‘effective’ rating

The New Richmond Exempted Village School District has received an effective rating from the Ohio Department of Education.

“I was very pleased when I saw the scores,” said New Richmond Superintendent Tom Durbin. “I was impressed with how well we had done; we met 23 of the 25 indicators. At the same time, I was a little bit discouraged because we only missed receiving an excellent rating by a total of two tenths of one percent in two areas.”

The two areas that Durbin refers to are the 74.9 percent fifth grade mathematics score and the district’s graduation rate of 89.9 percent, which are both very close to state standards.

The state requirement for fifth grade math is 75 percent and the state graduation rate requirement is 90 percent.

Strategies are already in place to improve upon these two areas.

“We are doing a line-item analysis of the fifth grade mathematics scores to determine what specific areas need to be addressed,” Durbin said. “The district has three elementary buildings and we all need to be working on the same page in developing strategies to target those specific areas.”

In regard to the graduation rate, Durbin said that anything below a 100 percent graduation rate is not good enough.

“I want every kid in this district to graduate,” he said. “That is key. It is difficult to accomplish because sometimes that is a parent’s or a student’s choice. But we do have programs in place to assure that every student graduates.”

Before Durbin became the superintendent in September 2005, the school district had started a graduation academy which has since been proven to be very successful.

“Our graduation academy is an alternative education path for those kids who may, for whatever reason besides discipline, have had a difficult time at the high school and are at risk of not graduating. This program has worked out very well.”

The graduation academy is a computerized program that allows students to schedule times during the school year to come in and work toward the academic credits necessary for graduation. Last year, the program assisted 13 students in receiving the needed credits for graduation.

“We know that we have to do better to achieve an excellent rating. We are not where we want to be yet, but we are very close.”

Durbin is most proud of the performance of the students and the staff.

“We have a very good school district,” he said. “We are constantly working towards excellence. One of the things that I really enjoyed watching last year was how our teachers interact with each other, the things that they asked, the things that they were sharing in curriculum meetings. That is why I was not not surprised that our rating was so close to excellent.”

“We, as educators, are being held accountable not only through the No Child Left Behind Act and the the Ohio Department of Education, but, more importantly, we are being held accountable by the parents in the community and the residents of this school district. After all, it is their school district and we must perform to their standards. Are we satisfied with an effective rating? No. Are we going to keep working toward excellence? Yes, every day.”