Stillwater News Press

October 25, 2012

Stillwater schools receive 2 A's, 7 B's in first A-F Report Card assessment

Ripley schools receive A's with perfect 4.0 marks

By Russell Hixson
Stillwater NewsPress

STILLWATER, Okla. — Stillwater schools got 2 A’s and 7 B’s when the Oklahoma Board of Education released the first A-F Report Cards Thursday.

Ripley High and Elementary received A’s, earning 4.0 GPAs.

The state Board of Education unanimously agreed to release letter grades that scored schools based on student achievement, student growth on test scores and whole-school improvement, which includes measurements for student attendance, dropout rates and the number of students in advanced courses.

Oklahoma school superintedent have criticized the report card system. They dislike the way it measures student growth which accounts for 20 percent of the school’s letter grade.

Stillwater school Public Information Officer Kellee Brown said the system’s school principals have used the district’s messaging system to inform parents about their school’s grades.

“We know our schools are high performing,” Brown said.

The report cards allow school administrators and the public to review the strengths of their schools and note areas for improvement, she said.

Sangre Ridge Elementary and Stillwater Junior High topped the Stillwater system’s nine schools with A’s. The other Stillwater schools received B’s.

The school performance grading scale gives schools:

• A for a GPA range of 3.75 to 4.0

• B for a GPA range of 2.75 to 3.74

• C for a GPA range of 1.75 to 2.74

• D for a GPA range of 0.75 to 1.75

• and F for a GPA range of 0.75 or less.

Here are the GPA’s for Stillwater’s schools.

• Highland Park Elementary, 3.16

• Sangre Ridge Elementary, 3.83

• Skyline Elementary, 3.67

• Westwood Elementary, 3.66

• Will Rogers Elementary, 3.67

• Richmond Elementary, 3.66

• Stillwater Middle School, 3.66

• Stillwater Junior High, 3.83

• Stillwater High, 3.67

Brown urged parents of students to call school principals if they have school report card questions.

The new system gives about 1,750 schools in Oklahoma a letter grade based on student achievement, whole-school performance and student growth.

State Superintendent Janet Barresi, a strong proponent of the new system, said the idea is to empower parents by giving them an easy way to monitor how their children’s schools are performing. But she also acknowledged improvements need to be made to the formula.

“It’s not a perfect system,” Barresi said. “We are absolutely dedicated to continue to work to make sure the system is continually improved.”

Stillwater school administrators will work with state officials to modify the A-F report cards to more accurately reflect school performance, Brown said.

Ripley’s A’s reflect the hard work of the school’s teachers and staff, Superintendent Kenny Beams said. The A-F report guards oversimplify education.

“There are so many factors that are changing on a daily basis,” Beams said.

The system is meant to simplify progress for the community, but Beams thinks this may not always be representative of progress.

“I will definitely take the grades with a grain of salt,” He said.

Beams said his goal in Ripley has been to stay focused on putting together a team of quality educators.

“The teachers make the difference,” he said.

Ripley Public Schools’ ACT scores, Beams said, have been above state and national averages for the past five years.

Oak Grove Public Schools(Oak Grove), Perkins-Tryon Intermediate Elementary (Perkins-Tryon) and Sunnyside Elementary (Cushing) were the lowest rated schools in Payne County, each receiving a C grade.

Seven schools in the state received an F grade.

NewsPress reporter Chris Day and The Associated Press contributed to this report.