The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

March 9, 2013

Just rewards

Kingfisher to pay forward success

By Phyllis Zorn, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

KINGFISHER, Okla. — Kingfisher and Capitol Hill high school are partnering to the benefit of both, thanks to a $71,000 Reward Grant from Oklahoma Department of Education.

Kingfisher is one of six schools across the state to receive the grant as part of the Raise the Grade Together initiative.

“These schools are among the best performing schools in the state,” said State Superintendent Janet Barresi. “To qualify for the grants, these educators had to be willing to share their best practices and educational strategies with schools in the most need. I’m thrilled to be able to offer this financial incentive for excellence and am pleased with the willingness to embrace such partnerships.”

Jason Sternberger, superintendent of Kingfisher Public Schools, said a portion of the grant money will be given out among the entire Kingfisher school district.

“We’re making a donation to the education foundation,” Sternberger said. “When they wrote the grant they wanted to let all the teachers have something.”

The reason is because each teacher in the Kingfisher system contributed to the high school’s success, he said.

“Of course the high school is going to have a big celebration later this spring or at the start of the school year,” Sternberger said.

High school staff will have a professional development retreat provided by grant money, and each library in the Kingfisher district will get about $1,500 as well, Sternberger said.

Kingfisher got to choose which school to partner with, Sternberger said. Among the state’s priority list of schools in need of improvement, Capitol Hill, in Oklahoma City,  was closer in proximity, Sternberger said. Sammy Jackson, KHS principal, said the ways in which the partnership with Capitol Hill will flesh out will be driven by what the Oklahoma City high school needs.

“We’ll meet with Capitol Hill and their professionals and see what they need help with,” Jackson said. “We’ll let them kind of determine where it goes.”

For instance, if math is a weak area for students at Capitol Hill, math will be an area that gets much focus, Jackson said.

Kerri White, assistant state superintendent of educational support, said the purpose of the grant is to see schools celebrate successes while seeking continuous improvement in student learning, school culture and professional growth. The ultimate goal is to see schools removed from the Priority School list while seeing an increase in the number of Reward Schools.

State Department of Education will monitor mentoring activities between the two schools. The grant period runs from now until June 2014.