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A Rural School District Faces Critical Survival Issues Before It Can Address Declining Accountability Scores Using the Ohio Improvement Process

Even though its overall accountability test scores exceeded state averages, a small, rural exempted village school district was required to use the Ohio Improvement Process (OIP) because of achievement gaps in one of its schools. The improvement efforts initially failed to take root as the district first had to confront serious threats to its survival. Once the crises of shaky finances and declining student enrollment were brought under control, the district could focus on improving student outcomes.

Despite (1) changes in district leadership, (2) implementation of improvement strategies supported by the OIP, (3) stakeholder “buy-in,” and (4) broad community support, student achievement—as reflected in statewide accountability scores—has followed a steady downward trend. The district continues its commitment to improvement, but must temper its choices of improvement initiatives with the constraints of the district’s resources.

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