(Ed. Note — In this guest column, Galva Superintendent Doug O’Riley goes over the district’s State of Illinois report card.)

Each year, the State of Illinois rolls out the official report card for each public district and school.  Much information is included in the report, and Galva School District utilizes the information as one of several components for setting goals and planning for the future.  

The report has information regarding student demographics, finances, attendance rates, student preparedness, teacher and administrator data, and results for the annual PARCC test.  

The Galva Board of Education reviewed the latest school report card at its November meeting.

The Class of 2017 graduated at a rate of 82 percent, which is down from a five-year average of 89 percent. The statewide five-year average is 85 percent. During the 2016-2017 school years, 42 Galva High School students successfully earned college credit. That number included almost all of the graduates, about half of the juniors and a few sophomores. Student motivation and preparedness are key. That success would not be possible without positive working relationships between Galva’s district, neighboring districts and Black Hawk College East Campus. Every credit earned while in high school saves students’ time and parents’ money.

Demographically, of Galva’s 548 students, 52 percent live in households with at least one measure of poverty, compared to 49 percent statewide. Students have a 94 percent attendance rate, which is even with the state. Just three percent of students were chronically truant, as compared to eight percent statewide. Families move in or out of Galva at a 10 percent rate each year, compared to six percent statewide. Three percent of Galva’s students are homeless, finding shelter in someone else’s home for a short or extended period of time. High mobility, poverty  and homelessness presents difficult challenges to the families in our district.  

Financially, the district spends an average of $9,041 on each student, as compared to $12,821 statewide. Galva teachers have an average salary of $45,607, as compared to $64,000 statewide. Galva administrators average $90,042, as compared to $108,000 statewide. In general, employees of the district make less money in Galva than they could in the average district throughout the state, yet Galva has an 86 percent retention rate for its staff.

The State of Illinois is one of the few remaining states utilizing the PARCC test to measure academic success. Originally, PARCC was designed for nationwide implementation under Race to the Top legislation. Currently, the number of PARCC states has dwindled to eight. The test measures completion of the Illinois Learning Standards, a renamed disguise for the Common Core. The test is administered in grades 2-8. As a district, 54 percent of students were Approaching, Meeting or Exceeding Standards, as compared to 62 percent statewide. Galva’s Board of Education does review the data, but does not place a heavy emphasis on the Common Core or its correlating PARCC scores.

Instead, the Board understands that it spends much less per student than the state average. Many Galva families are challenged with poverty and mobility, but do their best to work with both schools. The Board appreciates the staff for its hard work, and desire to stay in our district in spite of lower pay. Most importantly, the Board takes pride in the academic and social development of its final product — its graduates.  

Over the last three years, 78 percent of graduates have left Galva High School and found college success, as compared to 69 percent statewide. Others have transitioned directly to the workforce or volunteered for military service. Overall, with the help of families, students and staff, the Board knows its schools do more, with less.

The web address for the school report card is  https://illinoisreportcard.com/District.aspx? source=profile&Districtid=28037224026 or it can be found on a link from the District Board of Education Page at www. galva224.org.