By Brian Massie, A Watchman on the Wall, A Riverside School District Taxpayer
We have been sounding the alarm about Riverside’s poor proficiency scores. Here is, once again, the report automatically generated by the Ohio Department of Education website.
An overall 66.9% proficiency score for all grades and subjects is not something that the School District will broadcast to the taxpayers. They are doing something right in the fourth grade classes with math scores of 85.1% and overall 79.1%. Congratulations to the Principal, Mr. Timothy St. Clair, Assistant Principal, Ms. Julie Weber, and the teachers of the Parkside Elementary for their accomplishments.
If they can perform in the fourth grade, what happens in the middle and high schools? A 49.4% in high school geometry, 52.1% in Algebra, and 50% math scores in the middle school indicates something is drastically wrong. It will be incumbent on the new Superintendent Dr. Chris Retano to fix the problem.
Mathematics has been taught for over 200 years with resounding success, so why in this enlightened age of technology do we produce students that cannot perform elementary math problems, and to many high schoolers Euclid is a city west of Lake County.
We decided to express our concern to the School Board President, Ms. Lori Krenisky, vial email.
“We have been reviewing the proficiency scores of all Lake County school districts. The information was obtained from the following website:
The results for the Riverside school district are attached. For comparative purposes, we have also attached the Kirtland school district results for the same period.
Upon reviewing the scores, we must say that we are appalled at the overall 66.9% for the Riverside School District. Your math program has produced high school students that scored 52.1% in Algebra 1 and 40.4% in Geometry. Third grade English Language Arts, a bellwether for future success in school, produced 69.0%.
The Kirtland school district scored 79.9% in their overall proficiency!
When comparing average income of the school district to performance, Riverside again is behind. Riverside school district is ranked 71st in adjusted gross income, but the district ranks 277 out of 607 state school districts in performance.
As a taxpayer, I am not satisfied with the performance and want to know specifically what you are going to do to approach Kirtland’s performance.
I have been following the Riverside public board meetings very closely, and note that you, Ms. Grassi, and Ms. Harden have embraced the Social, Emotional Learning curriculum rather than focusing on academic performance. The Curriculum Director, Ms.Mlaker, has also acknowledged that the district is promoting the SEL curriculum.
What you are doing is not working, and we will continue to use our platform to inform the residents of the school district. Passing ANY future school board levies will be very challenging for you.
Your performance is unacceptable, and quite frankly, you should be embarrassed by the results.”
Here is Ms. Krenisky’s recent reply to my email:
Thank you for your email and sharing your concerns.
The reports that you attached in your original email are a year old (2021-2022). The current year (2022-2023) reports are typically released to the public in August or September. Once these reports are made public, they will be discussed at a Board of Education meeting. Please note, the district’s achievement results are trending upwards, and I would not expect to see anything different in the 2022-2023 reports.
The district is focused on education. In our new strategic plan (approved by the Board of Education), teaching and learning is one of the four pillars. In addition, we have a Curriculum Committee, chaired by Mr. Fishel, that meets monthly to discuss the district’s operations pertaining to teaching and learning. The district is focused on all learners achieving the best results that they can achieve.
A second pillar in the strategic plan is Safety, Climate, and Wellness. As a district we are focused on making Riverside a safe, healthy and happy place to work and to learn. The district is focused on this by developing healthy organizational habits. If this is what you are referring to as SEL, then I am and as a district we are committed to creating a place for our children to be successful in school.
The district is committed to continuous improvement and working to achieve our goals, as established in the strategic plan. Our Administration and Staff are working together to implement new ideas and strategies every day.
I have added our new Superintendent, Dr. Chris Rateno, to the email to make him aware of your concerns.
Riverside Local BOE President”
Riverside Curriculum Committee Meeting Held August 8, 2023
Scott Fishel – Riverside School Board Member and Chairman of the Curriculum Committee
We thought that it was important to see and hear from the new Riverside Superintendent, Dr. Chris Rateno, so we recorded the Curriculum Committee meeting held today at 7:00 am. Scott Fishel is the Chairmen of the Curriculum Committee, and does a fine job of expressing concern about the abysmal proficiency scores, and tries numerous times to get Dr. Rateno and the Curriculum Director, Dr. Melissa Mlakar, to commit to a proficiency score goal, but to no avail.