July 25, 2016

Partly sunny

Career Center receives top grades

For the first time, state report cards offered evaluations of vocational schools, and the Medina County Joint Vocational School District got straight A’s.

The district, which represents the Medina County Career Center, received an “A” rating in each of the three areas it was evaluated — four-year graduation rate, five-year graduation rate and post-program placement, according to data released this week by the Ohio Department of Education.

Superintendent Michael Larson said he credits the small class sizes and engaged students with successful graduation rates and job placement.

“I think the career technical model provides a structure with about one teacher for every 25 students, and those students are with that one teacher every day,” he said. “They get to know these kids really well and really support them.”

The school also scored high on placement after graduation with 92 percent of graduates in an apprenticeship, job, military or enrolled in secondary education.

“We do a summer internship between the junior and senior year and, sometimes, students go back after graduation and are able to get a job,” he said.

Those who don’t get a job are able to list work experience on their resume and bring the skills they learned back to the classroom for their senior year.

“We get students who aren’t necessarily the type who want to sit for 50 minutes at a desk. They want to be up and doing things and they thrive here,” he said.

The grades surpassed the scores of other regional districts like Wayne County JVS, which received a “B” on both graduation rates and an “A” on post-program placement, and Lorain County JVS, which received an “A” for graduation rates but a “B” for placement after the program ends. Portage Lakes JVS, which includes Summit County school districts with the exception of Akron Schools, received “A” grades for graduation but a “B” for post-program placement.

Larson said Medina County JVS will use the new ratings in promoting the Career Center as an option. Students in eighth and 10th grades tour the facility each year to learn about the options the school offers.

“We’re a school of choice, so our students make a decision to come here,” he said. “Our parents are an informed consumer and I can see these ratings as something we talk about with parents.”

Larson also credited the high-tech curriculum offerings as another reason for the school’s success in career placement and ability to draw motivated students to its programs.

Career training options for high school students include diversified medical technologies, engineering technology and design, machining technology and power equipment technology.

“We’re much more high-tech than we used to be,” he said. “Our programs are much more technical and our enrollment is up.”

Other school districts in Medina County that were rated “excellent” or “excellent with distinction” on state report cards in the past received lower ratings Thursday under a new new system of letter grades. Medina County districts were graded in nine categories with a mixture of A’s and B’s — and a few D’s and F’s.

The new state report cards offer a different ratings system for vocational schools than K-12 schools. This year, vocational schools were evaluated on their graduation rate and post-program placement and assigned a letter grade for their results.

Here’s how the Medina County Joint Vocational School District (Medina County Career Center) performed:
                                                   Percentage            Grade
Four-year graduation rate              93                          A
Five-year graduation rate               96.6                       A
Post-program placement                92.4                       A

The report also measured dual enrollment, but did not assign a letter grade. According to the report, 74.7 percent of Career Center students also are earning credits that qualify for post-secondary education.

SOURCE: Ohio Department of Education

Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com.

Loren Genson About Loren Genson

Loren Genson was The Gazette's senior reporter. From August 2012 through September 2015, she covered Brunswick city and state and national government. To contact The Gazette, call the managing editor at (330) 721-4065.