The Oklahoma State Department of Education on Thursday launched the historic release of first-time A-F School Report Cards, giving all schools in the state a grade of A, B, C, D or F – similar to grades given to students. More than 90 percent of schools across the state received a grade of C or higher, with nearly 50 percent receiving a B.
Grades are immediately available to the public for online viewing or download on the State Department of Education’s website.
“With today’s release, Oklahoma is entering a new era of accountability and transparency for our schools. This landmark first for Oklahoma gives parents and community members clear-cut information about the performance level of their local schools,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi. “These report cards are user-friendly, straightforward and fair. It is high time for parents to have access to this information as they seek to make the best educational choices for their children. Parents have a basic right to this information, and they should be able to find it easily.”
The report cards released Thursday represented 1 percent of schools with a grade of an F, 8 percent a D, 34 percent C, 48 percent B, 9 percent A.
The report cards show student achievement based on tests scores in subjects such as reading, writing and math. They show overall student growth, and whole school improvement, which consists of such things as student attendance, dropout rates, and advanced coursework. Schools earned bonus points for parent and community participation and for school climate surveys.
“The A-F reform has strong support among parents and the general public,” said Barresi. “Parents are the first and best advocates for their children, and they speak for the students of our state. At the end of the day, this reform represents an opportunity for communities to gather around their schools to maintain success or to help them improve.”
The report cards originally were planned for release on Oct. 8, but the State Board of Education delayed the vote to take into consideration concerns voiced by a number of state school superintendents. The board on Thursday said those concerns had been thoroughly considered, and voted unanimously to release the report cards as originally calculated.
As part of this new reform, State Superintendent Janet Barresi also has launched Raise the Grade Together — an effort to help every school in the state improve and succeed.
Supt. Barresi will visit communities for Raise the Grade Together events, to bring together parents, civic, business and school leaders for constructive conversations about academic success.
The effort calls every stakeholder to raise the grade together by taking the mission of educating children as a community approach. Where weak areas in student achievement or attendance are exposed, parents and community members are asked to help schools by offering mentoring assistance or volunteering.
Raise the Grade Together began with a symposium for a variety of school leaders in September, along with the release of a resource guide, which can be downloaded by the public on the State Department of Education’s website.
Superintendent Barresi's Raise the Grade Together effort will include the following community visits:
October 29, Bartlesville
November 15, Altus
November 19, Enid