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How Cincinnati-area districts fared on state school report cards


The Ohio Department of Education released its 2023 School Report Cards Thursday. The annual report rates school districts on a scale of one to five stars based on their performance in categories like early literacy, test scores, and graduation rates.

Many school districts in southwest Ohio met or exceeded the state's standards, earning three stars or higher. Eleven districts significantly exceeded the state's expectations, earning an overall rating of five stars, but seven others in the area did not meet standards.

Loveland, Madeira, Mariemont, Sycamore, Wyoming, Indian Hill, Ross, Forest Hills, Springboro, Mason, and Wayne school districts all received five stars from the state.

On the other end, Cincinnati Public, Middletown, Mt. Healthy, North College Hill, Winton Woods, Lockland, and New Miami all received two and a half stars or fewer.

CPS earned an overall grade of two stars this year. While its ratings remained the same in some areas, the district showed minor improvements in its graduation rate and test scores.

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Superintendent Iranetta Wright says CPS has been working over the past year to make strides in key areas. This year, the district added graduation counselors and attendance social workers to get students back into the classroom and keep them on track so they can graduate on time.

Still, a major area of concern is the district's early literacy rating. Cincinnati Public earned a one-star rating in this category, meaning it's in need of significant support to meet state standards. This is a decline from last year when CPS had two stars in the area.

Other districts in southwest Ohio and around the state struggled in this category. Nine districts in the region also received one star for early literacy, and for many others, it was among the lowest ratings they received this year.

Wright attributes CPS' struggles in kindergarten through third grade reading to learning loss from the COVID-19 pandemic. She says the district is still recovering and will need to focus more on pre-K education.

"There are some students who start proficient and most of our students when they start kindergarten, they are not proficient," Wright said, "[We're] beginning to intimate work with our pre-K programs around our kindergarten readiness activities so that as students are transitioning in, they transitioning in and we know where they are as they're getting ready to start."

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While CPS has a two-star rating from the state, Wright says personnel and structural changes the district has made in the past year are making things better for students.

"I think what was hopeful is that I saw the beginning of the evidence of the work that we put in on the front end. Last year was a year of learning for us — going into schools, looking at what was happening in classrooms, beginning to provide professional development for teachers. We launched and learned at the same time," Wright said.

This was the first time since the start of the pandemic that the Ohio Department of Education gave schools an overall rating on the report card. Last year, schools were rated using stars but did not receive an overall rating, and in previous years schools were graded on an A through F scale.

Zack Carreon is Education reporter for WVXU, covering local school districts and higher education in the Tri-State area.