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Education: Positive changes just a starting point

Both Belpre City and Warren Local school districts showed some improvement on the 2018-19 state report cards issued by the Ohio Department of Education last week. Both districts bumped up from a D to a C. That is positive news, but clearly there is much room for continued improvement. While they were the only two Washington County school districts not to remain stagnant or to be lowered a grade, a C should not satisfy school officials.

Belpre Elementary School earned a B, which is an easier accomplishment to feel good about celebrating.

“We were thrilled with the elementary school results, and I applaud the teaching staff there for hard work,” said Belpre City Schools Superintendent Jeff Greenley. “It was a very, very good year there. Only six schools in the county got a B, and about 30 percent statewide got it.”

It was good of Greenley to acknowledge his short time so far as superintendent means to some degree “these are results that I am inheriting.”

But his work gives confidence the upward movement will continue.

Certainly there is no time for resting on laurels.

Warren Local Superintendent Kyle Newton made an important point about using these grades as a jumping off point for growth in the next school year.

“We’re in our fourth year of this, and looking at our performance for the three previous years, we’ve done better than ourselves in all but five areas,” he said.

Of course there were bright spots in all local school districts — the 21 factors graded seem to have been meant to confuse parents, teachers and administrators intentionally.

Generally speaking, though, it is clear there is room for a great deal of improvement — not change for change’s sake, mind you — in our local schools, and the good things highlighted in this year’s report card should serve mainly as proof to us all that it CAN happen, and we must continue to aim for the top.

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