TORONTO The city school district board members learned at Thursday's meeting that the district has attained the highest state ranking in its history.
Although the Ohio Department of Education hasn't officially released its report cards on state school ratings, district Superintendent Fred Burns said when released the report will contain good news for Toronto.
"According to the reports so far, the Toronto School District will be named excellent for the first time in its history," said Burns, adding the ranking has been attained through continuous improvements in education in the district. "We want to thank all the staff, students, pupils and parents for this (rating). Every district in Jefferson County, except for two, have now been rated as excellent by the state."
Burns also said the new rating was made possible by pupils and students in the Toronto District showing a marked improvement in state testing scores.
"Our students and pupils made more than a year's (academic) progress in a year's time," said Burns, adding the state is now measuring the percentage of improvements in state test scores and adding that value to the final state district rating. "That's why our rating improved."
In other board business:
Students at Toronto High School now will be eligible to participate in Eastern Gateway Community College's Upward Bound program, which is aimed at students who may be first generation college-goers, according to Burns.
"Students learn about what they need to do to go to college through the program," said Burns. "They also learn about scholarship opportunities. (The program) begins with (high school) freshmen all the way to seniors. This is primarily for students who would be the first in their family to go to college."
The district reimbursed the city for its assistance in erecting the new scoreboard at the Toronto High School Stadium, said Burns.
"We paid the city $9,688 to reimburse the city for its assistance in putting up the new scoreboard," said Burns, adding the costs included labor and materials needed. "We work very well with (the city administration), and we'd like to thank Mayor John Geddis for his assistance."
Burns said Bob McAulliffe and Glenn Sands of Hammond Construction Co. took board members on their first tour of the new district building.
"They showed us the new bricks (to be used in construction) and took board members on their first tour of the new building," said Burns, adding wireless Internet will be used throughout the building. "(Contractors) are making great progress (toward construction) right now, and we're still scheduled to open in August."
The district will be using Aetna Insurance Co. as its employee health insurance carrier, said Burns, adding the new insurance plan will save funds for the district and its employees.
"It's a win-win for everyone," said Burns.
The next regular board meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. Nov. 15 at the Karaffa Elementary School library, 1307 Dennis Way.
(Miller can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)