Garrettsville –  The James A. Garfield School District has once again distinguished itself with highest honors. It earned the Excellent with Distinction (A+) status on statewide district report cards for the 2011-2012 academic year. JAG was one of only four among Portage County’s 11 school districts to achieve such a high mark, including Aurora, Kent and Field.

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This marks the fifth consecutive year that JAG has achieved Excellence according to state standards, and Superintendent Chuck Klamer is proud of his district’s achievement, likening it to the completion of five points on a star.

“We are one of only two school districts in Portage County to do so well for so long,” he said. “It’s because our dedicated, hard-working teachers are committed to teaching core standards and students work hard at it. They are motivated to do their best, with the support of the board, the administration and their families. There is tremendous pride in this district.”

Tremendous pride does not equate tremendous funding, however. Klamer points out that JAG has the smallest/most efficient per-pupil expenditures in the county ($8,083 in 2010-11and $8,434 in 2011-12), and spends nearly $2,500 less per student than the state average ($10,571). In Portage County, Kent school district spends the most on its students, averaging $12,829 per pupil.

While JAG missed an A+ last year for an Excellent rating, it had earned Excellent with Distinction the previous year. A 10-point increase in fifth-grade math scores pushed the district back to the top. Overall, the district met 26 of 26 indicators with a 102.4 performance index. Performance indicators include student standardized test scores, attendance and graduation rates, and progress from the previous year, for grades K-12.

The top ranking was new for Kent and Field. Aurora has earned Excellent with Distinction for 12 years. Crestwood, Rootstown and Streetsboro school districts earned Excellent (A) rankings. Ravenna, Waterloo and Windham districts earned Effective (B) grades, a middle rating out of the six possible scores.

The Ohio Department of Education made the announcement for these preliminary scores in mid-October. The release of 2012 school and district report cards was delayed due to the need for the State Auditor to investigate allegations that 10 schools improperly manipulated student data in order to improve their report cards.