The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

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November 6, 2013

District grades removed after incorrect release from State Dept. of Education

ENID, Okla. — This year’s round of A-F Report Cards for Oklahoma public school districts and individual schools was released Wednesday afternoon by Oklahoma State Department of Education, then amended to remove district-wide grades.

Overall grades for school districts as initially included on the education department’s website were: Waukomis, C; Kremlin-Hillsdale, C+; Chisholm, A; Garber, B; Pioneer-Pleasant Vale, B-; Enid, D+; Drummond, B-; and Covington-Douglas, D.

Scroll down at the end of story for individual Garfield County school results.

Letter grades given to individual schools range from F to A+.

However, later on Wednesday afternoon, the district grades were removed from the state’s website, and grades for individual schools remained.

Tricia Pemberton, spokeswoman for the Oklahoma State Department of Education, explained the change.

“The district grades were not ready to be released today,” Pemberton said. “That was completely my error. I thought we were releasing the district and site grades, and we were just releasing site grades today. The district grades will be ready to be released hopefully within a few days. Please ignore the district grade that you saw first, and that will be reposted within a few days.”

This is the second year the state has issued grade cards for districts and schools. The method of producing the grades has been amended from last year, the State Department of Education said in a press release.

This year, 354 schools, or 20 percent, received overall A’s; 499 schools, or 28 percent, earned overall B’s; and 472 schools, or 26 percent, received C’s. That compares to last year’s totals of 160 A’s, 842 B’s and 594 C’s.

There also was a significant rise in D’s and F’s, with 263 schools getting D’s and 163 schools receiving F’s. Statewide, 24 percent of schools got D’s or F’s. In 2012, the report cards recorded 138 D’s and 10 F’s.

State Superintendent Janet Barresi said this year’s grade results were expected in light of increasing academic rigor and changes made to the grade calculation.

“Our students do not know less than they did, and teachers are not doing a poor job,” Barresi said. “Far from it. Classroom teachers are working hard, responding to more rigorous standards that will help children be prepared for successful and happy lives. As I had noted in August at a state Capitol news conference, this is a transformative time for Oklahoma education. The move to higher standards and expectations will be challenging, but the rewards will be generations of young people ready for college, career and citizenship.”

Shawn Hime, superintendent of Enid Public Schools, said parents, students and teachers know best the success accomplished each day in Enid classrooms. Enid High School has had five National Merit Scholars in two years, opened the University Center and was selected for the National Math and Science Initiative program, Hime said.

“Our average ACT score continues to exceed the state and national averages, and more students than ever are enrolling in advanced placement courses,” Hime said. “Since we received our school grades two weeks ago, they have changed 10 times. Researchers from the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University have found the state grading formula to be flawed and not credible. Instead of the grading system, it is the teachers’ work every day — looking at the individual needs and growth of every child — that makes a difference for Enid students. Students and teachers across the district are working to achieve lasting, long-term academic gains. Our goal as a district is to ensure that all students reach their greatest potential and are college and career ready upon graduation.”

Roydon Tilley, superintendent of Chisholm Public Schools, said he’s glad the district, as well as each of its schools, got an A.

“We’re happy to have the grades we have,” Tilley said. “We still have some issues with the formula. We’re trying to use the data to improve what we do every day.”

Jim Lamer, Garber superintendent, echoed what many educators across the state have said about the grading system being flawed.

“We’re all for accountability, and we all want something that will show us what we need to do to improve,” Lamer said. “We want the best school in the world right here in Garber, but I can’t say this particular system shows us what to do to make those improvements.”

Brent Koontz, Pioneer-Pleasant Vale superintendent; Dale Bledsoe, Waukomis superintendent; and Jim Patton, Kremlin-Hillsdale superintendent, could not be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.

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