Recently the State Board of Education voted to approve the release of the new Oklahoma School Report Cards as required by state statute. Last year this new system was touted as a “total reboot” by State Superintendent Joy Hoffmeister. These new accountability reports are very different than previous versions of A-F Report Cards and are calculated using school data from the 2017-18 school year.
The redesigned reports de-emphasize letter grades while spotlighting data that educators can use to drive meaningful school improvement. In response to much criticism of the older accountability system, the new system includes a growth indicator that measures academic growth and performance levels. Idabel Public Schools scored well above (20 points) the state average in this indicator. This measure will help us look more accurately for ways to improve how we serve all students in Idabel Schools.
Another significant change is the focus on chronic absenteeism. Research supports the fact that students who are chronically absent tend to struggle in school academically and are at a higher risk of dropping out of school. Idabel Public Schools once again scored above the state average. Over 87% of Idabel students attended school regularly, the state average was 86%. We are already working with each school site implementing strategies to reduce the number of students who are chronically absent.
Because of the increasing population of English Learners in our state and community we see an English Learners Proficiency indicator. This indicator allows districts to evaluate our efforts in increasing English proficiency in our non-English speaking students. It is proven that once EL students officially become bi-lingual students, they tend to perform at, or above, the academic level of their peers.
Oklahoma has chosen Postsecondary Opportunities as one indicator of student success. This indicator encourages schools and students to participate in activities and programs that enhance preparation for life after high school. Points earned in this indicator reward schools for helping students gain early college and career exposure. Approved opportunities are Advanced Placement courses, certain industry certifications, work-based internships and concurrent enrollment in college coursework. Idabel Schools strives to provide these opportunities for our students with over 62% of our students participating in one or more of these programs.
While we see this new version of the state report cards as better than before there are still areas that need to be addressed to make it truly equitable. State Superintendent Joy Hoffmeister said “No score or series of scores can tell the full story of a school and the life-changing work happening in Oklahoma schools. We are encouraged that the new accountability system provides a meaningful snapshot of where our schools are.” The hard work of all teachers and support staff in our schools is important and Idabel Schools’ scores represent a small testimony of our outstanding teachers and staff. Idabel Public Schools administrators, teachers and support staff will continue to Prepare Champions for Life!