Dear Parents and Community Members,
Welcome to the 2016 -2017 school year.
I have been blessed to be part of the education profession at Parkway for the past 12 years, and yet, it seems like I started just yesterday at Parkway. During these years, we have endured new accountability standards and assessments mandated by the Ohio Department of Education. These have gone by many names, including the Proficiency Test, the Achievement Test, the OGT, the Ohio Achievement Assessment, the PARCC test, and most recently, the AIR tests.
Throughout this time, we have had revisions of standards, which is normal in the educational world, but this changing of the accountability system has climaxed in the last three years as we have seen three different testing systems. With those testing systems comes uncertainty, transition, training, and other complex issues that need to be addressed. Last year’s testing for Parkway was all online, instead of the traditional pencil and paper tests. This change had a major effect on our students.
Last year’s accountability measures, based on the PARCC assessments from the 2014 -2015 school year, resulted in the Parkway Schools being one of 53 school districts in Ohio to earn the Momentum Award based on our great testing results. One year later we changed to the AIR online assessments and we find ourselves struggling to receive what anyone would consider acceptable results. There are so many components to the report card that it becomes difficult to analyze without digging deeper into the data and doing appropriate comparisons. On our first Waiver Day scheduled in October, we will be analyzing the testing data and make the appropriate changes.
There are other positive points not reported that make me proud of Parkway Schools. For example, we continue to add more College Credit + classes at our High School, so students can earn college credit. We expanded our Gifted program to include grades three through the eighth grade. We continue to expand the use of Technology throughout the district. Vantage Career Center continue to educate our students in their selected vocations with students receiving state certificates in their select vocation.
I am not making excuses, avoiding any responsibility, or panicking. Over the years, there has always been a period of transition as we get to know the new assessments and standards. I am confident that we will improve. However, due to more anticipated changes in the testing system for districts this year, there is a real possibility that our improvements will not be seen on our next Report Card.
I simply request that you do not panic as well. Please continue your support to our teachers and encourage your son(s) or daughter(s) to do their best in their school work. We will continue our efforts to teach each of our students in the appropriate manner. Our teachers and administrators will continue to work as professionals and do what is best for Parkway Students and the Parkway Community.