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A Message from the Superintendent Regarding State Report Cards

Dear Shaker Families and Staff,

We know that the holistic, well-rounded education our students receive in the Shaker Schools cannot be measured by a single state test administered months ago. That's why we have developed a series of local metrics to measure our progress at every grade level. Our metrics identify our areas of strength as a district, and they show us where we have opportunities to improve. They provide a road map to help us realize our vision of ensuring that Shaker Heights is the first-choice school district for all students.

Our metrics show that the many strategic plan initiates we have implemented to support our students-our District-wide International Baccalaureate (IB) philosophy, our curriculum development work, our Summer Bridge program, our Innovative Center for Personalized Learning (IC), our Summer Exploration, Learning and Fun (SELF) program, our Family and Community Engagement (FACE) office and our Shaker's First Class preschool program, to name a few-are getting results.

At our High School, for example, our Diploma Programme students outperformed the global average IB test score in 10 subject areas. Our ACT and SAT scores continue to be well above state and national averages. More students take AP classes and AP exams, and more score a 3 or better for potential college credit.

Today, the Ohio Department of Education is slated to release its annual report card for every public school district in the state. As anticipated, our report card identifies areas where we have improved and areas where we can do better. But overall, there is not much change from previous report cards.

Although our metrics identify gains at many levels, the state report card reflects little of that improvement. That's because the majority of the data used in the state report card comes from state standardized tests. Our metrics, by contrast, work to capture the comprehensive education our students receive.

We believe the state report card does a disservice to our students, our teachers, our administrators and our entire community. Even worse, the state report card provides those unfamiliar with the Shaker Schools an inaccurate and incomplete picture of what a Shaker education is about.

As a result, we have chosen to tell our own story. Measuring What Matters, our annual report to the community, is now available digitally at www.shaker.org/academics. A printed copy, which includes an attached palm card with important facts about the District, will appear in your mailbox next week.

You and I know that our students not only achieve, they excel. They win awards and get into the best colleges and universities. As parents in the Shaker Schools, you and I wouldn't stand for anything less.

Our Five-Year Strategic Plan, which was developed by our community and approved by our Board of Education, articulates our values as a community and as a school district. Those values include the notions that every student is valued, every student must succeed and diversity makes us stronger.

Those values define Shaker Heights. Those values are why our community is special. Those values are why we live here.

Our newly formed Equity Task Force is an extension of the work that began here 50 years ago and is embedded in our Strategic Plan. Equity means providing every student what he or she needs to succeed. It does not mean taking something from one student to provide for another. It is clear that by providing an equitable education for all of our students, our metrics will continue to show improvement, and our state report card grades will also rise and provide a more accurate picture of our District.

One data point doesn't define who we are as a district or as a community. Only by working together can we ensure that all our students receive a rich and rewarding educational experience.

Sincerely,
Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr.
Superintendent of Schools
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