Those expecting high marks received them. Those who anticipated the worst saw their fears realized.
As part of the state’s new evaluation system, all public schools were issued a grade from A to F based on a list of newly developed criteria. In Oklahoma City Public Schools, the news wasn’t good, but Superintendent Karl Springer wasn’t shocked.
“We’re clearly aware of the need to improve,” he said. “There were no surprises for us. We take this challenge as a serious one and we will continue to reform and work with the principals and teachers to improve academic achievement.”
Twenty-six of the district’s 56 elementary schools received a D while 20 were credited with a C. Nine Oklahoma City elementary schools received a B and one earned an A.
Meanwhile, 11 of the district’s 14 middle schools received a D. The high schools had better results with one A, one B, six Cs, two Ds and an F.
The grades weren’t all bad. Belle Isle Enterprise Middle School earned an A, but that grade was expected, said Stephen Zahn, president of the school’s board of directors.
“We would have been disappointed if we didn’t get an A. We’re very happy,” he said.
The new grading system, which can be viewed online at ok.gov/sde, evaluates schools based on student achievement in five core academic areas (math, science, reading, social studies and writing). Student achievement accounts for 33 percent of the school’s grade. In addition, schools are measured by overall student growth in reading and math (17 percent), growth of the bottom 25 percent of students (17 percent) and whole-school performance (33 percent). Whole-school performance includes attendance and dropout rates, advanced coursework, parent and community involvement and the results of a school climate survey.
“Belle Isle has taken good, average students to the advanced or proficient level,” Zahn said. “That certainly helped our case.”
At the other end of the spectrum, Telstar was among the 26 OKCPS elementary schools receiving a D.
“It was disappointing,” said PTA President Gertie Wilson. “We’re trying to bring the school up. We want our school to have a good name and we are making changes.”
The school’s grade was hurt by its student achievement in the core areas. The school received an F in that category and another F in the growth of the bottom 25 percent of students.
However, Wilson said a change in principals has shown a marked improvement for the current school term.
Much of the problem at Telstar involves lack of parental involvement, according to Wilson.
“Many parents probably don’t even know what grade our school received,” she said. “We need more support from the parents.”
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