Ohio Gov. John Kasich will deliver his annual State of the State address on Feb. 7 at Steubenville’s Wells Academy. Usually Kasich does this kind of thing in the House chambers at the statehouse in Columbus.
The Columbus Dispatch says that Kasich is giving his annual speech at a school instead of in the Statehouse this year in order to “build support outside of Columbus for major initiatives before they are introduced in the legislature.”
Steubenville, birthplace of Dean Martin, sits on the banks of the Ohio River. The city of about 20,000 calls itself the City of Murals. It’s also the home of Wells Academy, Ohio’s number-one school, if you go by test scores.
Wells Academy had the highest performance index of any Ohio public school last year. The performance index is a weighted average that looks at the whole range of student performance on state tests, from the percentage of students who fail those tests (or aren’t tested at all) to the percentage passing and beyond, to the students acing the tests.
Because Wells Academy is a K-4 school, and state standardized tests start in third grade, its ranking is based on the performance of about 60 third and fourth graders.
According to the press release from the governor’s office, Wells Academy is “consistently viewed as one of the best, most innovative elementary schools in Ohio.”
Last year, Wells Academy had 215 students, according to its state report card:
- 58 percent were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch;
- 69 percent were white;
- 5 percent were in special education programs; and
- All of the third and fourth graders passed state reading and math tests.
We talked with Wells Academy’s principal, Joe Nocera, a couple months ago when the school’s number-one state ranking was announced. He said then that he was pleased with the ranking.
“We’re proud of our accomplishments, but again our goal is always to serve the kids… We just educate to the kid and whatever happens with the testing happens,” he said.