SLES recognized for high marks

Southern Local Elementary Principal Kristy Sampson poses with an award the school received from the Eastern Ohio Education Partnership, given to schools that received high marks on its value added components through the Ohio Department of Education on state report cards. (Submitted photo)

SALINEVILLE — Southern Local Elementary School gained high marks from the Ohio Department of Education for the value added segment of its school report cards, and those efforts have also been recognized by the Eastern Ohio Education Partnership and state school board.

School Principal Kristy Sampson and Superintendent John Wilson attended a luncheon Nov. 9 in Warren on Nov. 9, where the school was presented with Excellence in Education honors.

EOEP, which is also known as the Eastern Ohio P-16 Partnership for Education, is a network of community leaders representing education, business, faith-based, nonprofit, philanthropic, and social sectors committed to providing every child in the valley with a quality education. The partnership sets a standard for collaboration around a shared set of goals, driven by data, and accountable through regular progress reports to the community.

“They gave awards to schools in Eastern Ohio who received an A on their state report card in one of three value added categories: overall value added, progress component, and lowest 20 percent of value added,” she explained. “Value added looks at four core subject areas: math, Language Arts, science, and social studies.”

Sampson said the state review looks at students in grades 4-6 at SLES and the value added segment involves how students’ learning abilities have grown over a one-year period, while the scores were based on 2015-16 school year data on roughly 200 pupils.

“(The value added) looks at how our students in general have grown form one year to the next. They are tracking student growth and break down the data to kids who have fallen to the lowest 20 percent statewide and how they are grown as opposed to typical kids,” Sampson added, noting that the latter includes at-risk students such as those with special needs or living in poverty as well as how gifted students are achieving. “We received an A on all three categories on our report card.”

The principal was thrilled that the school was recognized with the award, saying the staff and teachers have diligently worked to enhance students’ learning skills.

“I really encouraged looking at classroom data during monthly teacher training meetings. We really put an emphasis on modeling our instruction on what is expected of students on state assessments. We offered students incentives if they met their classroom goals and looked at kids who needed help and got the help, plus we prepared kids for what was expected of them,” she said.

Those efforts have also paid off with the Ohio State Board of Education’s “Momentum Award,” which also recognizes schools that earned A’s on all of their value added measures. Sampson said Southern Local and Leetonia Elementary schools were the only local recipients.

“It’s very exciting to celebrate these positive things and it definitely encourages the staff to keep doing what they do,” she continued. “It gives a positive return on the hard work they do every day.”

Wilson was also grateful for the recognition, concurring that the school will continue its efforts to ensure that students achieve success.

“Receiving the award from P16 in recognition of value added A’s in all three categories is truly a direct reflection of the best practices that our teachers exemplify,” Wilson concluded. “We are very proud of the efforts of our staff and students. Southern Local will continue to strive for excellence in educational opportunities for our students.”