Area schools saw their final grades Thursday after the Oklahoma State Department of Education released its report cards.
Two local campuses — McAlester's Edmond Doyle Elementary and Frink-Chambers Public School — received "A" grades overall, while two other schools — Hartshorne Elementary and Carlton Landing Academy Elementary — received "F" grades.
McAlester Public Schools campuses received three Cs, two Bs and one "A" with two campuses not receiving grades, but MPS Superintendent Randy Hughes said the district is already working to improve under the new standards.
“The state test scores are from the 2017-18 school year,” Hughes said. “This was a time in which we were still in transition and these scores are not indicative of where we currently stand academically. Our teachers and staff are working very hard to provide the best education possible to our students.”
OSDE is required by state and federal law to release Oklahoma School Report Cards to monitor the state’s most vulnerable students and to track academic progress.
Education officials are using new benchmarks focusing on academic achievement, student growth, English language proficiency, college and career readiness, and reducing chronic absenteeism.
“A well-rounded education is what we believe impacts learning overall,” state Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said during a media briefing ahead of the release. “So we made a very deliberate decision to highlight that first.”
Districts already reviewed their scores prior to the state Board of Education approving the release of the report cards during Thursday’s meeting.
The grades were based on a bell curve with five percent being notified that they received an “F.” Access to federal aid will be available to schools receiving an “F.”
Five percent of schools received an “A” and the rest of the grades were dispersed.
Shawn Hime, executive director of the state School Boards Association, said in a statement that schools across the state will continue working to help students.
“While the new report card’s focus on growth in student achievement is a welcome change, there are still many unknowns,” Hime said. “Our chief areas of concern about report cards haven’t changed. We don’t believe identifying schools with a single letter grade is necessary nor helpful on such a complex issue. Letter grade systems have a history of being closely tied to poverty, and we’ll be closely examining that issue as the new report cards become publicly available.”
McAlester High School received a “C” overall.
The report card states 61 percent of MHS students were prepared for the next grade, while the state average was 45 percent. However, MHS received a “C” for academic achievement.
McAlester received a “D” in the graduation category as 81 percent of students graduated in four or five years and the state averaged 86 percent.
The school received a “C” in chronic absenteeism with 88.7 percent of students in good attendance, while 86.51 percent of students across the state were in good attendance.
McAlester received a “B” in how it helps students gain early college and career exposure, with its 57 percent well ahead of the state’s 43 percent in the category.
Other McAlester schools fared well in the new system.
Puterbaugh Middle School received a “C” overall; Will Rogers Elementary Schools received a “B”; Parker Intermediate received a “C”; Jefferson Early Childhood Center did not receive an overall grade; Emerson Elementary received a “B”; Edmond Doyle received an “A”; and William Gay did not receive an overall grade.
Hartshorne High School received a “D” overall; Hartshorne Middle School received a “C” overall; and Hartshorne Elementary School received an “F” overall.
“We knew we had work to do two years ago when we put them in and we've changed the focus of education to go from how a student performs on a biology test to how they perform at an ACT test,” Hartshorne Public Schools Superintendent Jason Lindley said. “We've changed the focus of education from the standpoint of we're not looking at grade level as much as we're looking at improvement through the grades.
“It’s going to take time for you to know how your school actually performed,” Lindley said.
Lindley said Hartshorne anticipated similar results going into the new testing system, but also expects continued improvement with the same standards in place over an extended amount of time.
He also believes that schools will continue to help students prepare for their futures.
“I don't care what school you're in, in Pittsburg County. I know all these schools around here; I know they care about their kids and how they want them to be able to succeed,” Lindley said.
Absences made a difference for Hartshorne as the school received grades in chronic absenteeism of “D” at the elementary, “B” at the middle school, and a “C” at the high school.
Lindley said some absences were incorrectly coded and the school would address the issue.
Schools in Pittsburg County
Canadian Elementary received a “C” overall, while Canadian High School received a “C” overall and did not meet the federally-mandated 95 percent participation.
Carlton Landing Academy Elementary School received an "F" overall and Carlton Landing Academy High School did not receive a grade.
Crowder High School and Elementary each received a “C” overall.
Frink-Chambers Public School received an “A” overall.
Haileyville High School and Elementary each received a “C” overall.
Haywood Public School received a “B” overall.
Indianola Elementary received a “B” overall, while Indianola High School received a “D” overall and did not meet federally-mandated 95 percent participation.
Krebs Public Schools received a “B” overall.
Kiowa High School and Kiowa Elementary each received a “B” overall.
Pittsburg Elementary received a “D” overall and Pittsburg High School received a “C” overall.
Quinton High School received a “C” overall and Quinton Elementary received a “D” overall.
Savanna High School and Savanna Elementary each received a “C” overall.
Tannehill Public School received a “B” overall.
Contact Adrian O’Hanlon III at email@example.com