The News will continue to provide an in-depth look at the results of each district throughout the week.

CENTERBURG — Report card results from the Ohio Department of Education are in for every school district in Knox County, but they might not accurately reflect students’ progress, according to Centerburg Local Schools Superintendent Mike Hebenthal, whose district received an overall grade of “C.”

“We don’t feel it’s accurate,” Hebenthal said. “To base it on one test a year and say it’s an accurate measure, we feel our students are better than that.”

Hebenthal explained that Centerburg schools have not lost ground with this score, but said it all comes back to the test.

“It’s just a big game,” he said. “It’s insane what we’ve done to public education. It’s not good for kids and it’s not good for society.”

The report cards measure six components within the schools and districts, including achievement, or the number of students who passed the state tests and their performance; progress, the growth students make based on past performances; gap closing, or how the schools are meeting performance expectations for all of their students; graduation rate; improving at-risk K-3 readers; and their preparation for success, which could be college, technical training or workforce preparation.

The district received a “C” in achievement; a “B” in progress; a “B” in gap closing; an “A” in graduation rates; a “C” in improving at-risk K-3 readers; and an “F” in preparation for success.

Additionally, Centerburg Elementary School received an overall grade of a “B;” Centerburg Middle School received a “B;” and Centerburg High School received a “C.”

The report cards are not meaningless, Hebenthal told the News, but they mean less and less every year.

“The community holds us to accountability,” he said. “We don’t lose a lot of sleep over it. [The report cards] are not our guiding principle; there are far more important things for our community and our kids.”

Hebenthal agrees that there must be a standard that the students are held to uphold through their education, and the report cards can give some useful information for a district, but explained that he feels it’s a poor use of tax dollars. ODE has spent $47 million on testing, according to Hebenthal.

The district hasn’t always been in the “C” category for results, he explained. The district was put on a continuous improvement plan, which is for districts in the “C” or “D” category, he said. Centerburg put together a plan and was able to achieve an “excellent” rating. Hebenthal explained that the district will achieve the “excellent” rating again, but it’s all about figuring out the test.

“We’ll do that again, we just have to figure out the code of the test,” he said. “What do they want us to say, or how to read the questions. We’ll keep working to meet the goals put in place and in three or four years, Centerburg will be an “A” school, but then the standards will change again.”

The report card process has some reservations for Hebenthal, as he feels it does not accurately reflect the Centerburg students, their potential or future success.

“Our kids, our students can meet potential,” Hebenthal said. “Our students have gone on to medical school, they’ve become lawyers, engineers, or even welders and successful in trades. We’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing, raising caring kids who care about each other. They have character and trust, so many things that just can’t be measured by a test. I think most people in the community would say that we’re doing well.”

The News will continue to provide an in-depth look at the results of each district throughout the week.


Allison Glass: 740-397-5333 or and on Twitter, @




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