American-Tribune (copy)

The fall report from the State Department of Education, better known as the State’s Report Card on school progress, came out recently.

Here is the breakdown by school district and observations from Superintendents when available.

Wagoner’s overall grades: Central D, Ellington no grade, Teague no grade, Middle School C and High School D. Both the Middle and High Schools each dropped a grade from the spring 2019 Report Card.

“Our grades aren’t an accurate reflection of the successes going on inside our schools,” said Randy Harris, superintendent. “Our schools are striving for success with Leader in Me, Habitudes, STEM, character development, to name a few areas not reflected on a school report card. Last year’s senior class was awarded $2.3 million in scholarships.

“Our focus is to prepare students as they matriculate through our schools and graduate. No matter what our school grades are, we will always be compelled to continuously improve.”

Harris feels there may be another agenda going on with the Report Cards.

“School grades sell the narrative that schools are failing,” Harris said. “The real narrative is Oklahoma has some of the best educational outcomes while providing some of the lowest funding in the nation.”

Harris continues to back the teachers and staff that work every day to improve education opportunities in Wagoner.

“I’m very proud of the work that our teachers, administrators and support staff do for our students to be successful every day,” Harris said.

Wagoner did have some bright spots. The high school scored a B in postsecondary opportunities while the middle school recorded a B in Academic Growth.

At Coweta, the overall grades were: High School C, I-High no grade, Central no grade, Sloat JH D, Heritage IGC C, Mission IGC C, Southside no grade, Northwest no grade.

School officials say scores are based on a point system which can be very confusing. Some of the focus areas include a very small segment of the student population.

CPS Assistant Superintendent Max Myers said as the formulas used to determine grades seem to change every year, it is hard to compare grades received this year compared to last.

Recently released grades include:

Coweta High School — Overall grade, C; academic achievement, D; graduation, B; English language proficiency progress, A; chronic absenteeism, D and post-secondary opportunities, B.

Intermediate High School — Only one grade given for chronic absenteeism, C.

Sloat Junior High — Overall grade, D; academic achievement, D; academic growth, D; English language proficiency progress, F and chronic absenteeism, D.

Heritage IGC — Overall grade, C; academic achievement, C; academic growth, C; English language proficiency progress, C and chronic absenteeism, C.

Mission IGC — Overall grade, C; academic achievement, C; academic growth, B; English language proficiency progress, D and chronic absenteeism, B.

Central Elementary — Overall grade, not given; academic achievement, D; academic growth, not given; English language proficiency progress, not given and chronic absenteeism, D.

Northwest Elementary — Overall grade, not given; academic achievement, C; academic growth, not given; English language proficiency progress, C and chronic absenteeism, C.

Southside Elementary — Overall grade, not given; academic achievement, C; academic growth, not given; English language proficiency progress, not given and chronic absenteeism, C.

“We are not surprised necessarily by the scores because we had already seen our test scores and they dropped in a few areas,” Myers said. “But that’s also where some of the bars can be changed. What’s the passing grade on a particular test?”

School Superintendent Jeff Holmes added the standards are increasing and it gets tougher.

“I’m not opposed to that, but every time that happens, your overall scores drop,” he said. “We (the state) are asking more and more of our students and teachers all the time.”

The superintendent said while the state sets the bar high, scores do go back to the individual children whom teachers work with to help improve in many ways.

“We want to give the kids the best chance we can,” Holmes assured. “The overall grade is not just for academic performance, but for all of the other items as well. I do like the fact they’re not just saying, ‘You get a grade of D without explanation.’

“So much depends on what you’re looking for in the way the report cards are set up,” he continued. “I don’t like the fact that a letter grade is assigned to these categories. I would just like to have numbers on how we compare to the state and let the public decide if that’s okay, whether we’re above or behind the state.”

The superintendent said the district leaders will dig well past the letter grade to see where Coweta students are in these particular areas — all the way down to individual students. They want to find out what they can do better.

“The academic achievement and growth are related but not the same,” Holmes noted. “We want to see growth for all of our students. We now have an academic achievement score and a growth factor score that can show how they progress.”

He said it is a complicated formula and a person would nearly need to be a statistician in order to go through it all. The school district’s professional learning committees wade through these issues year-round on early release days.

“On early release days we dig through the data and see how we can improve for students,” Holmes said. “I don’t focus on trying to increase our school report grades. I look to increase our individual achievement for individual students. That’s what our teachers work on throughout the entire school year.”

At Porter, the high school received a D while the elementary school also got a D.

At Okay, the high school got a D and the elementary school got a C.

Some of the changes from the overall spring Report Card are:

Porter elementary dropped from a C to a D.

Okay High Scholl dropped from a C to a D.

Wagoner’s Middle School went from a B to a C.

Wagoner High School went from a C to a D.

Coweta’s Sloat JH went from a C to a D.

Editor Christy Wheeland contributed to this report.