Schools get report cards

Saturday, August 8, 1998

The Cincinnati Enquirer

FLORENCE -- When Boone County Schools open their doors Aug. 24, they will also be opening their record books.

This year, every school will prominently display two large signs right inside the front doors. One will detail the school's mission, goals and performance in measureable criteria -- national and statewide tests, attendance, delivery of services.

The other will display the entire district's objectives and standards for educating Boone County students.

"When I came here, everyone said Boone County had a good school system," Superintendent Bryan Blavatt said Friday. "But how do you know?"

In December, central office personnel started working with school principals to gather data from every elementary, middle and high school.

They gathered figures on each school's national and state test scores and attendance rates for the past six years.

Principals then developed ways to provide better educations for students and improve the professional development of teachers. The result is the giant placards, being used like report cards for each school. Copies already adorn the walls of the school board's meeting room. Principals will get their own copies on Monday.

Conner High School promises that a consistent, effective instructional program for all students will be developed and implemented.

R.A. Jones Middle School pledges to increase student reading scores on the state assessment test this year.

And Kelly Elementary School will create a committee to implement strategies to meet the needs of specific at-risk students and their families.

Principals will be held accountable for improving their schools' performance and their job evaluations will be based on the results. "I think there is a degree of apprehension that these are up here in the board room for anyone to see," Mr. Blavatt said. "Their names are right up there with these charts. There's a little bit of anxiety."

Mr. Blavatt is holding himself to the same standards. His job evaluation will be based on how well the district lives up to its mission of offering every student the same opportunity to learn. The idea isn't to make schools compete against each other, but to make those working in one school compete against their own records.

"If you can't measure something, it doesn't get done," Mr. Blavatt said. "Now everyone knows what they'll be evaluated on."

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