By Everett Brazil, III
The Newkirk Herald Journal
NEWKIRK — Report cards have been used for years in public and private school systems to help gauge individual student success in the classroom, and find where a student needs to improve. The Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) does the same for public schools statewide, letting parents and students see the success of the school district. The OSDE released school report cards for the 2018-2019 school year in November, and Newkirk High School (NHS) received the highest rating for a high school in Kay County, while Kildare Public School (KPS) was honored as the top elementary school.
The report card for NHS listed the school at a 56 percent rating, or a ‘C,’ compared to a 53 percent rating across the state. Tonkawa High School was rated at 37 percent, Ponca City at 35 percent and Blackwell received a rating of 53 percent, tying with the state rating.
School officials are pleased with the rating.
“All three of our sites do a good job, not only in educating kids, but also in educating the whole child,” said Superintendent Brady Barnes. “Our school gives a well-rounded education to the kids, in not only the classroom, but extracurricular activities, as well.”
KPS received a rating of 75 percent, for a ‘B’ rating, compared to 53 percent across the state. Newkirk Elementary School saw a grade of 46 percent, while Peckham Public School was listed as 53 percent. Tonkawa Elementary School was higher, at 58 percent and Blackwell Elementary School scored 67 percent. Woodlands Elementary School scored the highest out of Ponca City’s eight elementary schools, with a score of 67 percent.
McCord Public School, in east Ponca City, also received a 75 percent rating, but since they are in Osage County, KPS alone holds the top rating for an elementary school.
“We’re excited. The staff, for the past couple of years, has made a point toward meeting state standards, and encouraging student success,” said KPS Superintendent-Principal Bruce Shelley.
The OSDE introduced the report card model in 2010 due to requirements in the federal No Child Left Behind Act. The idea was to offer transparency in how schools operate academically, for parents and students, as well as for staff.
“The No Child Left Behind Act said if you get federal money, you had to do a report card,” Barnes said. “This is to give school patrons at various school districts a transparent view of the children’s school.”
The report card offers a rating of several factors, such as academic achievement, which looks at how well students are prepared to advance. Academic growth focuses on how much students are learning, compared to previous years. English language proficiencies look at how well students are gaining English learning skills. Chronic absenteeism studies how much students are in attendance, along with the overall grade.
High school report cards also list graduation, focusing on how well the students are prepared for graduation, and post-secondary opportunities, which looks at how well prepared students are for higher education.
For NHS, those ratings were – academic achievement, 47 percent; graduation, 82 percent; chronic absenteeism, 91.63 percent, or 91.63 percent attending class each day; and post-secondary opportunities, 42 percent, for an average score of 56 percent.
KPS averages were academic growth, 83 percent and chronic absenteeism, 97.33 percent, for an overall score of 75 percent.
Neither school graded for English language proficiency.
Those numbers are reached using standards-based testing at each public school across the state.
The report cards may not completely reflect the environment of each school, but have proven beneficial, as these standards, and the report cards they help create, have helped KPS rise to a new level from the 2017-2018 school year, where they were listed as 64 percent.
“The report card, I believe, accurately reflects the hard work of the staff and the students. We not only showed academic achievement in math and arts, we also showed growth in both subjects,” Shelley said. “One factor in the higher score was analyzing previous test scores to see areas that lacked achievement, and then working toward that achievement.”
NHS also has benefitted from the report cards, as it offers the school a way to look ahead on the road to success.
“It gives or administration and staff something to look for,” Barnes said.