BRADFORD — The Bradford School Board handed out awards and discussed the district’s annual School Report Card performance at their meeting Thursday night.
Several students were presented student of the month awards at the beginning of the meeting. Cindy Angle, a fifth grade instructor at Bradford, nominated Isabella Boyer, citing the girl’s compassion in showing concern for her baby sister.
“One of the questions was, ‘If you had a million dollars, what would you wish for?’” Angle said. “And she said health for her sister, so that her mother doesn’t have to worry and she doesn’t have to worry.”
Angle also presented an award to Tegan Canan, a student and Little League softball player at Bradford, who became upset and broke down crying after accidentally striking another player during a game.
“I can teach them to read. I can teach them math. But I can’t teach compassion,” Angle said.
After the awards board members got down to more serious business, with school superintendent Joe Hurst delivering a presentation regarding Bradford’s performance on the yearly School Report Card evaluations issued by the Ohio Board of Education. While the district did well in terms of four-year and five-year graduation rates – both of which were near 100 percent – they performed less impressively in areas relating to literacy and performance on standardized tests. In terms of overall performance the district received a D.
Though acknowledging there was room for improvement, Hurst also looked for positive trends in the results, pointing out that while the district’s performance in certain areas was still low, it had increased significantly in relation to previous years. He was also determined not to try and force teachers to tailor their lessons toward standardized tests in order to improve the district’s performance in those areas.
“Teaching to the test is not what we’re here for,” Hurst said. “I don’t ever want a teacher to think they have to teach to the test.”
The board also discussed the school’s recent decrease in enrollment, which was down by about 100 students from figures taken in 2013.
“I think we need to find out why people are moving into, or not moving into, our area,” Hurst said. “What can we do to attract people to our area?”
Ultimately, Hurst acknowledged that low performance on the School Report Card might dissuade some parents from moving into the district, but also stressed that, as stated on the Ohio Board of Education’s own website, “Report Cards are only one part of the story of what is happening in a district or school.”
Hurst said that a professional development day for teachers to discuss the evaluation results more fully was planned for the next day.
The board also discussed various other issues, including the success of the district’s recent fall fundraiser ($10,000 raised), a class on cyber bullying offered by a local Darke County Sheriff’s Deputy, and new programs being developed at the school’s Career Technology Center.
Finally, parent Tracy Barhorst spoke during the portion of the meeting reserved for public comments and discussion. Barhorst suggested moving the beginning of the school year back to the week following the Darke County Fair, rather than the week before, citing the conflict this causes for FFA and 4-H students who want to attend the fair.
“We did this because we hoped it would improve test scores, but that hasn’t worked,” Barhorst said.
Superintendent Hurst said the issue was being considered and asked Barhorst to contact him later to discuss it further.
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