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To The Graham Family of Schools Community:
On September 15, 2016, the Ohio Department of Education is set to release the State Report Cards for each public school and school district across the state. This includes The Graham Family of Schools: The Graham School, The Charles School at Ohio Dominican University, Graham Expeditionary Middle School, and Graham Primary School.
We wanted to inform you of this release, and to share some new efforts at our schools to continue advancing our work on behalf of the 1,000 students we serve.
Our scores on this year's report card are in general much lower than last years, as are virtually every school and district across the state. We are in the process of examining the details of this report card and will understand more about the information it contains as we unpack the measurements. As we do, we will continue to share these insights. This is the third year in a row the state tests have changed, and there were no preparatory materials available to schools to get ready for them, nor any previous exact tests to compare them to now. Also, the bar for passing was greatly increased at the same time. So, scores naturally dropped. This is more a reflection on these changes than on the teaching and learning that has occurred in our and other classrooms. However, we absolutely support the raising of standards in a way that supports our students growing in their learning and intend to work hard to raise these scores in the years ahead.
Suffice it to say, we are committed to ongoing improvement as a family of schools, and to continuing to work hard every day on behalf of our students. The State Report Card is one indicator of a school's work, and we take it seriously. As noted, we are committed to improving these scores, and will work hard to ensure success in this area.
Our staff works extremely hard always and deserves so much praise for all the many ways we lift our students up and help them grow academically and in to becoming caring, curious, well prepared and engaged citizens. We are fortunate to have such intelligent and compassionate teachers, school leaders and others guiding our work. We don't want anyone to lose sight of the important ways we help and have always helped our students grow ongoing, even while we commit ourselves to improving the scores of the state's report card.
We are working on several fronts to address our students academic and social and emotional needs. In addition to our ongoing work with EL Education, the Middle School National Consortium, and our own professional development work, this school year, we have:
-- Hired a Director of Educational Data Analysis to make best use of the various data points we create and collect, and to help us with more intentional, targeted teaching strategies.
-- Hired a Director of Social and Emotional Learning to help us understand better our students non-academic needs that impact directly their ability to learn, and to design strategies that help our students become more aware of their own needs and resources.
-- Created a focused program around ninth grade transition, and had a current staff member become its coordinator.
-- Instituted focused programming for our ninth grades at each high school, with staff at each school guiding and leading this effort.
-- Signed an agreement with Leaning Circle, a Columbus-based organization, designed to collect metrics on our students academic work and behaviors, and provide early information about students' progress. Learning Circle works with Columbus City Schools, and a few other select charter organizations.
-- Instituted work in all our schools around restorative practice, helping us find new ways to address school culture and student behavior that's the most instructive for a child's growth.
-- Begun a focus around understanding the impact of trauma on children and their learning. Much new research in this area has been very helpful to understanding this impact on a child's brain and his or her ability to learn.
We will continue our efforts to bring experiential education, and child centered work to all our classrooms each day. We as an organization believe that keeping our eye on this vision for our students, all the while practicing a high standard of business operations (all four of our schools this year, and each year, have been formally lauded by the Auditor of State) are what will continue to keep The Graham Family of Schools a significant education option for our community.
Greg Brown and Eileen Meers, Superintendents