Whiteoak, Bright Local earn high marks from Ohio Department of Education

By Jason Iles
Whiteoak Jr./Sr. High School

MOWRYSTOWN – The Ohio Department of Education State Report Cards were released last week for schools all over the State of Ohio. These Report Cards are designed to give parents, communities, educators and policymakers information about the performance of districts and schools – to celebrate achievement and success and identify areas for improvement.

The information provides clear and easily available reporting on student performance, drives local conversations on school improvement and identifies schools to receive support for getting better. The goal is to ensure all students receive an excellent education that can lead to success in life, careers and future learning.

I am ecstatic at the progress and hard work our students and staff members have put forth to reach these goals over the past year. Our graduation rates are top in the region with our four-year graduation rate of 98.1 percent and five-year graduation rate of 100 percent. Our students have excelled at meeting local and state criteria for graduation requirements that have changed each of the past three years.

With the most recent changes that the Ohio Department of Education has mandated for students and graduation pathways we have excelled at preparing our students for their individualized future endeavors. We begin tracking students for graduation beginning in the 7th grade when they enter our building here in Mowrystown. We don't stop even after graduation tracking and keeping tabs on our Wildcat alumni.

Our Gap closing is one of the most important highlights on the grade card as well. We received a 5/5-star ranking in gap closing. The Gap Closing Component is a measure of the reduction in educational gaps for student subgroups. Our 5-star rating identifies Whiteoak High School as "Significantly exceeds state standards in closing educational gaps."

With the past few years in public education, our students have faced great adversity. This ranking proves that our building and staff are excelling and meeting the needs of our students. Throughout the pandemic we have made educational gains despite what our county has endured. All six End of Course areas met or exceeded state average (Algebra 1, Geometry, American History, American Government, Biology and ELA II).

The area our community and county will find Whiteoak High School at the top is the area of College, Career, Workforce and Military Readiness. This component looks at how well-prepared Ohio's students are for future opportunities, whether training in a technical field or preparing for work or college.

To my knowledge, there is not a school across the state of Ohio that has a higher ranking than us. Walking out the door at graduation our ranking shows 85.2 percent of students are ready to go. This ranking is found to be No. 1 in the state out of 608 schools. I cannot be more proud of the pride and determination our staff puts in preparing students for the next step in life. We have worked diligently in increasing this measure and this is proof that our hard work is paying off in preparing our students for the next step in life.

One main contributing factor to these amazing rankings is our students' attendance rates – Whiteoak J.H. 92.7 percent and Whiteoak H.S. 92.4 percent. This is a direct correlation that in-person education is the best option for our students. On a final note Bright Local School District is one of only two districts in our region to meet the gifted performance index.

While we have many items to celebrate from our previous success, we will not be complacent with the rankings we have received. Staff members are already looking at data and making changes to lessons and delivery as we race to the top.

I want to congratulate each member of our amazing Wildcat staff for a job well done. From K-12, Bright Local is doing amazing things.
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