MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

October 26, 2012

Schools get report cards

Most area schools earn C’s or better

Most area schools made C’s or better in the first slate of A-F school grades released Thursday by the Oklahoma State Department of Education.

However, some schools continue to question how accurately the state determined student growth in test results while compiling data for the report cards. The A-F system replaces the Academic Performance Index, which rated school performance on a 1 through 1,500 point system.

“It is what it is,” said Fort Gibson Superintendent Derald Glover about the A-F grades. “We’ve got a lot of important things going on in our district, and the grade card is not a high priority for us.”

All four Fort Gibson schools received a B.

Glover said the state did not change a school grading mechanism that several hundreds of Oklahoma districts, including Fort Gibson, opposed. The grading mechanism focused on how average student growth in academic achievement was calculated.

“They didn’t take in all the students in determining student growth,” Glover said. “They just used students who showed growth.”

Oklahoma Education Association President Linda Hampton also opposed the grading mechanism.

“Skewing the results by not including all students when calculating the average is unfair and contrary to the understanding of most Oklahomans when they think of average,” Hampton said in a media release.

Gov. Mary Fallin called creation of the A-F grading system an “essential step” in improving education.

“Having this new system will allow us to measure progress, recognize and reward schools that perform well, and identify those schools that are in need of improvement,” Fallin said in a media release. “The report cards released today give parents, students, teachers and administrators an easy way to identify success. As with any change, especially one that measures performance and demands accountability, these report cards will have their detractors. Ultimately, however, this is about what is fair and right for Oklahoma’s children, who deserve to attend schools with high standards and transparent measures of success.”

Four Muskogee schools received Bs, seven received Cs and one received a D.

Muskogee Superintendent Mike Garde said he was pleased Muskogee High School made a B, but felt Sadler Arts Academy deserved an A.

Garde said district officials reviewed the results and found some subgroups “were not doing as well as we liked.”

He said schools will use a “laser focus on ways for each child to be successful.”

Garde said the district made administrative changes, including a new principal at Cherokee Elementary, which received a D. He said MPS also will ensure the school has certified substitute teachers.

Hilldale High and Vian High were the only area schools to earn A report cards.

Hilldale Superintendent Dr. Kaylin Coody said she’s thrilled HHS earned an A.

“It’s a testament to our staff and students and the fact they all worked hard,” she said.

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or cspaulding@muskogeephoenix.com.

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