by Sheldon Ocker
Sept. 13 school board work session
Revere Superintendent Michael Tefs told the school board to expect good news when the Ohio Department of Education releases its annual report card, which rates the quality and progress of every district in the state.
Tefs said he was in possession of preliminary data revealing that Revere’s reputation as a top tier district was well deserved.
Tefs began his report by telling the board the state used a different grading system this year. Instead of letter grades, this year’s scores are expressed in stars, one through five, with five being the equivalent of an “A” grade.
“We will be a five star,’’ the superintendent said. “What I don’t have is data about how many districts across the state will get five stars.’’
Whereas Tefs said Revere will receive the top grade overall, he wasn’t certain the district would rate as high in the value-added category, that is, growth.
“The growth measure could be a four or a three,’’ he said. “When you are achieving at a high level, trying to get growth is difficult.’’
Tefs showed the board data from last year that showed the district performance index, another measurement use by the ODE. Revere ‘s performance index was 101.024, which was 84.2 percent of a perfect score, 120.
“Nobody in the state of Ohio has ever had a 120 or even remotely close to it,’’ he said.
This year, the state lowered its maximum performance index score to 107.254. Revere’s score of 102.07 was 95.2 percent of the max.
“That is a significant jump in one year,’’ the superintendent said. “This is the headline. I have to applaud the ODE for changing the ceiling. It gives districts something to shoot for. This is achievable.’’
The state’s numbers game aside, Tefs, like many educators, does not consider the ODE’s rankings as the last word in judging the quality of a school district.
“I’m not a fan of what can turn out to be a name, blame, shame [game] at some point for some of these districts,’’ he said. “People have heard me say this before: the report card does not measure a district like Akron, which absolutely does some amazing things.
“The best metric is still what the students say they feel like every day, what the student experience is, and what parents hear from students.’’
How to be safe
The board will consider a resolution to allow one firearm, accessible only by the school resource officer, to be placed under lock and key in a school building.
Some discussion has taken place in executive session (closed to the public) because it pertains to security and safety. However, part of the dialogue will occur during an open meeting, as it did during the work session.
“My own opinion, I’ve struggled to get there as a superintendent,’’ said Tefs. “I’ve reflected on this for the past several weeks. What I’ve struggled with is just where we are. Where I don’t struggle is making a resolution that supports our police officers.’’
Tefs said the senior class leadership plans to make a presentation to the board to hold commencement ceremonies at EJ Thomas Hall.
Revere’s graduation has been held on a Sunday for many years, but the seniors are considering changing the day to Saturday. The past two years, commencement has been held at Blossom Music Center.
“To me, it’s their commencement,’’ Tefs said. “If that’s what the senior class has decided, I’m going to move heaven and earth to get there.’’ ∞