On October 13, the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) released evaluations of sponsors of community schools in Ohio, covering the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years. The evaluation framework was revamped in December 2015 following passage of HB 2, which reformed Ohio’s community school system.
The evaluation examines three components—academic performance, compliance with rules and laws, and quality practices. Based on these three components, each sponsor was given points, which correlate to one of four ranking categories: exemplary (10-12 points), effective (7-9 points), ineffective (3-6 points), and poor (0-2 points).
For the 2015-16 school year, none of the 66 sponsors evaluated was given an exemplary rating. Five sponsors received a rating of effective—Buckeye Community Hope Foundation, ESC of Central Ohio, Jefferson County ESC, St. Aloysius Orphanage and Thomas B. Fordham Foundation. Of the remaining 61 sponsors, 40 were rated as ineffective and 21 as poor.
ODE explained that the academic performance component is intended to weigh the academic performance of students at the sponsors’ schools. Compliance weighs whether sponsors and their schools comply with relevant state and federal laws and rules. The quality practices metric determines whether sponsors adhere to quality practices created using national standards and input from sponsors.
Each of the three components was scored on a scale of 0-4 points. The sum of points each sponsor received in all three components resulted in the rating.
In a press release about the evaluations, the superintendent of public instruction, Paolo DeMaria, said: “The Ohio Department of Education’s focus is to create a quality education system that allows Ohio’s families to choose the schools that best fit the needs of their children. High quality community schools are an important part of Ohio’s education system. Sponsors play an essential role – they bear the primary responsibility for overseeing the operations and quality of community schools. The recent community school reform legislation and the work of our independent panel helped to create one of the most transparent and comprehensive processes for sponsor evaluations in the country. This will ultimately lead to improved quality school options for Ohio’s students.”