Breaking News
More () »

Education Station: Warrensville Heights make significant progress in latest state report cards

In 2015-16 the district was in last place academically in Ohio. This year, they've risen to the middle of the pack. How did they do it?

WARRENSVILLE HEIGHTS, Ohio — There is some very good news coming out of Warrensville Heights City Schools. 

"We made a lot of hard decisions," Superintendent Donald Jolly tells 3News. "Our district went from 607th to 298th. We're more than proud."

Yes, the district jumped from last place in Ohio's 2015-16 state report cards to the middle of the pack this year.

"I was very excited," parent and teacher Jennie Peoples said, "and I'm an alumni, so it made it even sweeter."

Warrensville scholars, teachers, staff, and community members — like most of us — had some struggles through this once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, so the school district came up with a plan to take care of the "whole child." First step? Reconfigure the schools.

"Understanding that the environment is essential to learning," Jolly explained. "One of the first things we did was move eighth graders back to the junior high. We [also] created a 2-3 school."

That's a school specifically for second and third graders. They needed the most attention, according to the 2016 report card, especially in reading.

That led to the next part of the district's plan: Hone in on that essential skill. 

"Really focusing in on early literacy, really creating systems where everyone's accountable, understanding that reading is fundamental," Jolly said.

Lastly, make sure the "village" is checking up on the child.

"It was relationship-building, Peoples noted, "because you can't teach a kid if you don't have a relationship with them."

"Every day, we're monitoring our curriculum, we're monitoring what needs to be taught, we're monitoring the success of our students," Jolly added.

And when a student has a hard time, a robust intervention system is in place, with educators at the ready to give them immediate, real-time help.

"We have to inspect what we expect," Jolly said. "When we expect high levels of achievement, we have to inspect it on a daily basis."

That "whole child" approach got Warrensville halfway to the top.

"This is just the beginning," Peoples stated. "If we can climb now, just think about when you become an adult."

Not only is Superintendent Jolly a Warrensville Heights graduate, but four councilmembers, three school board members, and Mayor Brad Sellers are all alumni of Warrensville Heights City Schools. 

"It's a testimony to what this community can produce," Jolly declared.


Before You Leave, Check This Out