They missed it by the width of a page in a textbook.

Barberton City Schools was named a D district on its 2018-19 state report card from the Ohio Department of Education on Thursday, but missed earning a C by 0.002 points.

"We've been working so hard, and to miss it by that minimal of a score ... it’s devastating," Barberton Superintendent Jeff Ramnytz said.

The state did not release the numeric values behind the grades, but Ramnytz said Barberton received a 2.123 and needed a 2.125 to earn the C.

The district was one of several across Summit County that saw growth in some of the components that make up its overall score, but not the top score itself.

Most districts maintained their overall grades, with districts Coventry and Manchester improving their scores. Coventry moved from a D to a C and Manchester moved from a C to a B.

Cuyahoga Falls, which has a levy request on the November ballot, was the only Summit County district to take a step backward, going from a C to a D.

"We've certainly got to identify the root causes for the disappointing results," Superintendent Todd Nichols said.

His team was just starting to dig into the data, he said, and was encouraged by some of the school-level data. Silver Lake Elementary School earned a B overall. Five out of the nine schools in the district earned an A or a B for working to close the achievement gap. But as a district, Cuyahoga Falls earned a D in gap closing.

This is the second year the state has given districts the overall letter grade, which critics argue overly simplifies a year's worth of student achievement and doesn't take into account the poverty level of a school's student population.

The grade comprises six components that take into account whether students in the district made more progress than their peers across the state year over year and whether districts are preparing students for the future, in addition to scores on state tests.

Statewide, nearly 80% of districts received a C or higher.

For the second year, Hudson was the only Summit County district to receive an overall A. No districts received a failing grade, which triggers state involvement. Three — Akron, Barberton and Cuyahoga Falls — earned a D.

Barberton, however, earned a C for its "value-added" score, a calculation that reflects whether students in each district improved more or less in the past year than their statewide peers. The district also went from a C to a B in its efforts to close the achievement gap. Ramnytz said the district is proud of both achievements.

"We will celebrate those gains, but we will continue to work hard," he said.

The challenge is made steeper by troubling numbers of students who miss more than two weeks of school, Ramnytz said. Last year, 1,345 Barberton students missed at least 10 days of school.

"Kids who attend regularly do much better," Ramnytz said. "This is common sense."

No Summit districts received an A for value-added. Nine received a B, two received a C, and the other six, including Akron and Cuyahoga Falls, all received an F.

Akron leaders presented the district's report card to their school board Monday night, highlighting growth in the graduation rate and third-grade reading. Assistant Superintendent Ellen McWilliams questioned the district's F in value-added, noting a significant majority of Akron schools individually earned at least a C in this area. The overall district grade reflects three years' worth of data, however.

Most districts in Summit County earned an A for their four-year graduation rates, with Cuyahoga Falls and Coventry earning a B and Akron and Barberton each getting a D.

 

Contact reporter Jennifer Pignolet at jpignolet@thebeaconjournal.com, at 330-996-3216 or on Twitter @JenPignolet.