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State Report Card: Action Steps in Place

State Report Card: Action Steps in Place

Leaders from Lakota’s curriculum department, along with Interim Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli, gave an in-depth presentation about the state report card to the Board of Education at its Oct. 2 work session. “We have been working with all of the building leadership teams, the curriculum department and both assistant superintendents to make sure that we have a plan in place in each building (as well as districtwide),” Lolli told the Board.

“As we know, the report card is one snapshot in time, related to a school district’s overall performance,” Lolli said when the report card results were announced in September. “Lakota is a great school district and offers many opportunities for our students. That isn’t going to change.” The report card shows high achievement scores for Lakota, however the progress score, which indicates overall academic growth, is low. “Our achievement scores remain high, but our progress scores are indicating that we are not growing students to their full potential,” Lolli continued. “Our focus must be on core instruction while balancing quality innovative practices.”  

“The overall report card has changed so many times I thought it was important to have an overview…so that we would know each of the pieces before we get into what our data are telling us,” Lolli told the Board. 


Dan Hudson, Lakota’s director of data and assessment, explained that the components of the report card include:

  • Achievement: based on the performance index;
  • Progress: measures of student growth year over year;
  • Gap Closing: measures how well specific groups of students are meeting performance expectations on Ohio State Tests (OST); 
  • Early Literacy: measures proficiency in third-grade reading, promotion to fourth grade and improving K-3 literacy; and
  • Graduation rate.

While not included on the current report card, Hudson also said that it is important to understand the College, Career, Workforce and Military Readiness (CCWM) component. Anticipated to be included in the 2024-2025 report card, CCWM will measure the percentage of students who meet at least one graduation criteria created by ODE.

Hudson previously shared a detailed explanation of the report card components with the district’s Community Curriculum Advisory Team in July, a summary of which can be found on the district’s website.

To determine a district’s overall report card score, Hudson explained that each component is weighted as follows:

  • Achievement: 28.6%
  • Progress: 28.6%
  • Graduation Rate: 14.26%
  • Gap Closing: 14.26%
  • Early Literacy: 14.26%

Each score is then converted to an overall star rating. Lakota earned 3.5 out of a possible five stars for the 2022-2023 school year. 


The report card components total a possible 25 stars. While Lakota earned 17 component stars for the second year in a row, there were also highlights from the report card. These include:

  • The overall performance index has increased 1.7 percent, from 91.3 to 93 percent;
  • All of Lakota’s early childhood schools (ECS) have increased in their total number of stars;
  • All ECS increased from four to five stars in gap closing;
  • Two elementary buildings increased from four to five stars in gap closing;
  • Hopewell Junior School increased from two to four stars in gap closing;
  • 72.7% of Lakota’s students are proficient or higher; and 
  • 49.1% of Lakota’s students are accomplished or higher.

Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction Lori Brown expanded on the achievement and progress component, which are only applicable to elementary through high school. “Achievement has traditionally been an area of strength for Lakota,” she said. “That is our overall number of students who are passing the state tests.” Brown also noted that gap closing continues to be a strength for the district, having maintained four stars in this component. 

Areas of Concern

Although Lakota traditionally scores well in achievement, Lolli noted some areas of concern in fourth-grade English language arts (ELA) and ELA 2 at the high school level, third through fifth and seventh-grade math, government, U.S. history, biology and geometry. These subjects saw a five percent or higher decline in scores over the previous report card. “These are curriculum alignment and instructional practices that are being reviewed by the buildings as well as the curriculum team.”

With regard to the progress component Lolli said, “This is where we really have some work to do.” Lakota ranked 601 out of 607 Ohio school districts in progress ratings. Progress is the value added, or growth of students year over year. Lolli shared what the district has found to be contributing factors to this score, also cautioning, “When I say that Lakota ranks 601 out of 607, that does not mean that Lakota students are not growing. There are some stipulations there.” Lolli continued to explain that, “In most cases, our students achieved a year’s worth of growth.” Progress measures the growth beyond that one-year’s value and that is what Lolli and district leaders are focused on. “We need to make sure that we are looking at all students and their growth, and making sure that we’re moving them forward.”

WE are Personalized

Core, or tier one, instruction includes teaching the state standards in a concise and formalized way. Once all students have received tier one instruction, then the teachers will assess who needs additional small group support and intervention. The next point of support, or tier two instruction, occurs if, after receiving core instruction, and possible small group support, the student needs additional support such as a reading or math specialist.

The next step Lolli shared is increasing the rigor, or challenge, in instruction. “Rigor doesn’t mean more,” Lolli cautioned. “It doesn’t mean you’re going to get more for homework; it doesn’t mean you’re going to get more to read. Rigor means that I’m going to give you an acceptable level that will challenge you. But as I’m challenging you, I need to make sure that I’m supporting you in achieving that rigor and achieving that challenge.” Lolli stressed that students cannot be challenged and left on their own because that is not good instruction. She also noted that ensuring Lakota’s teachers across the district understand rigor and depth of knowledge are professional development opportunities.

Additional areas to focus on include using data to determine a student’s instructional needs; universal expectations and accountability related to the consistent use of curriculum and teaching tools; and the need for an increase in district alignment in curriculum, instruction, professional development and materials.

Lolli also stressed that it is not the intent to do away with innovation. “The intent is that we have core instruction and then we have our innovations which enhance the core instruction. We need to make sure that we are focused on the future. We need to make sure that our core instruction is strong so that our students have that foundation so when we do have the opportunities for innovation…they understand (those) foundational pieces and then (they) are able to add technology to enhance the learning.”

K-6 Curriculum Action Steps

Director of K-6 Curriculum Christina French shared that the district has pulled together a team of master teachers. This team includes teachers who are obtaining the desired scores on state testing and whose students are achieving significant growth each year. The team will work with the curriculum department to revise content that will be used across the district for instruction. In addition, the team will work to ensure that these units are aligned with the state standards.

“How children learn to read has been the question that has driven (the State’s recent review of the science of reading),” said French. To this point, French and her team have worked to ensure that current curriculum and intervention action steps are aligned to the science of reading and the district’s tier one instruction. 

This year’s district professional development for teachers is focused on content. This is based not only on the data received from the report card, but also feedback from teachers. French shared, “What they really want is content-specific professional development. How do I grow as a math teacher? How do I grow as a reading teacher?” For example, reading teachers will receive specific professional development in the science of reading and how to teach using these strategies. Math, science and social studies teachers are also receiving content-specific professional development. Teachers will then implement what they have learned in their day-to-day teaching.

Board member Kelley Casper asked for clarification about whether or not reading specialists were being removed from the elementary schools. French shared that the curriculum team has just begun to review data to ensure that “students who truly need intervention are getting the intervention that they need.” She also explained that teachers, intervention specialists and reading specialists must have manageable caseloads to ensure that specific needs are identified and monitored for progress. “We have just entered into what that process looks like; we have just entered into pulling the specific data that we need to answer those questions.” Because of this, French told Casper and the Board that there is no yes or no answer at this time.

7-12 Curriculum Action Steps

Andrew Wheatley, Lakota’s director of 7-12 curriculum and instruction, shared that his team, along with building leaders, department chairs and teachers, developed and implemented OST action plans last year, focusing on alignment to the state standards, administering readiness assessments and determining data-driven action steps to support student learning. While this was an optional tool last year, it is now mandatory for teachers. “Part of the reason we mandated (it) is we saw that the schools that really engaged with the OST action plans showed further growth in the state report card than the schools that didn’t engage,” said Wheatley. 

Additionally, Wheatley stressed the importance of ensuring that there is consistency in classrooms across the district. The curriculum team revamped pacing guides for ELA and math last year that are aligned with state standards and the OST. This year, they will focus on science and social studies. 

Similar to K-6, 7-12 teachers will also use readiness assessments. Because the questions used are previously released OST questions, the question format is familiar to students when they take the actual test.

Board member Darbi Boddy asked Wheatley to discuss how the team intends to improve the district’s scores in government. Wheatley explained that, upon reviewing the data, many Lakota students take their government class over the summer to allow room in their schedules for other classes. However, the OST is not given until the fall or the following spring. Because of this, there is a lag between learning the content and taking the test. While the students may pass the test, the significant lapse in time since taking the class may impact how well they score. “We actually started an OST government action plan last year specifically making sure that our teachers are aligning their course to the blueprints,” Wheatley shared. He also told the Board that he recently attended a meeting that discussed how to better align the government class with the OST test dates.

Wheatley also spoke about CCWM. Although it will not be included in the report card until the 2024-2025 school year, Lakota has already begun to prepare for this new indicator. “We want to be proactive in making changes so that when that star rating comes up, Lakota is at the top of the state in providing that indicator for our students.” To this point, Wheatley stressed that they are focused on the indicators that, although they will perform well for the report card, more importantly, they are good for Lakota students. 

This includes increasing participation and expanding the offerings in advanced placement courses as well as increasing the number of College Credit Plus, or CCP, courses available to students. Additionally, the district is focusing on helping students earn a 12-point industry credential if they are interested in going directly into employment after high school. 

Next Steps

Brown and Lolli presented both current and long-term action steps district leaders have already begun working on to improve personalized learning and student progress.


Each school has a specific plan that has been built on their individual data. “We have been working on utilizing data in different ways and looking at data differently,” Brown told the Board. Class placement is one example. Data is available that can predict what individual students should score on OST tests. Using this data, school administrators can look at a student’s schedule to see if they are registered for classes that support and challenge their learning. For example, if a student has been identified as gifted in a certain area but is not enrolled in advanced classes, the rigor is not there for that student. “We’re using data to identify needs and match kids up to where they need to be.”

The revitalization of the District Leadership Team means that all 23 schools come together, including both administrators and teachers, to analyze data in order to determine what needs to be addressed and share that information with the building leadership teams. “We’re really looking to reestablish that district and building leadership conversation,” said Brown.

Brown further explained that providing robust options for professional development has been a priority for the curriculum department over the years. While that will not change, she shared that they want to focus on guarantees across the district. “What’s that guaranteed curriculum that all of our students are receiving? What’s that guaranteed professional development that all of our teachers are receiving?” said Brown. “Our department’s really looking at how can we define that fidelity piece and make sure that we’re all coming from a place of a guaranteed curriculum and a guaranteed professional development so that we can say that all of our teachers are skilled in this area…and then we can be accountable for those things.”

Finally, Brown shared that the department is looking at the onboarding process for new teachers in order to better train, and retain, them at Lakota. Several departments and innovation specialists have been working to define what a new teacher needs when they join Lakota and how they can be best supported.

Long Term

“For some long-term action steps that we feel the District needs to follow to continue the growth you’re going to see this year, both in achievement and in progress, we want to make sure that staff are following the adopted reading curriculum K-12 (once it is selected based on the State’s list of approved resources),” said Lolli. “We want to make sure that we initiate that district math adoption K-12 and make sure that it is followed with fidelity as well.” 

Additional action steps include:

  • Coordinate upcoming training for ELA teachers in grades K-6 for tier one intervention strategies;
  • Refresh assessments used for small group instruction and intervention;
  • Shorten the assessment testing window so that data can be reviewed and acted upon more quickly;
  • The curriculum department will be developing and implementing a five-year curriculum adoption process;
  • Continue expansion of CCWM student opportunities; and 
  • Adjust the instructional day at the elementary level to direct the focus on core instruction.

Lolli also shared with the Board that additional short and long-term action steps could be added as the team continues to evaluate data.

President Lynda O’Connor told Lolli, “I think that this is going to make a tremendous difference.” She also asked that Lolli consider embedding career tech and career awareness in the curriculum at all grade levels. She further requested an update at the November board meeting about the value-added scores, which are released after the report card.

“To find solutions, you have to identify what the problems are and this is what you have done tonight,” Vice President Isaac Adi told Lolli. “We have analyzed where our gaps are. We have analyzed why we’re not where we’re supposed to be.” He stressed the importance of ensuring that there is consistent instruction across the district and that students, regardless of their achievement level, are receiving the best instruction practices.

Adi also asked how Lolli plans to ensure that progress is being made with the short-term goals. She explained that the district leaders, curriculum team and principals are all on board with doing the work to complete the action steps and will be monitoring the progress of the plan. “The building leadership teams have been eager to support that work,” she said. “They want to be moving forward.” 

Board member Julie Shaffer questioned whether or not the plan could also be carried out at the preschool level. “Have we looked at aligning this with preschool and having kids be better prepared when they enter and can we expand those preschool offerings at all?” Lolli agreed that this is something the District could explore.

Shaffer also asked if the team has looked at schools that scored high on the report card to determine what they are doing, and could it be replicated at other buildings. Lolli explained that this is already being explored through this year’s administrative meetings. “There are some really good things in all of the buildings that need to be shared.” 

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