Byng schools earn Bs, Cs on new report cards

Byng High School is shown Dec. 11, 2018. The school received a B-plus on this year’s A-F report cards.

Three Byng schools earned Bs or B-pluses on this year’s A-F report cards, and one earned a C.

School districts across Oklahoma recently received their first state-issued report cards in nearly three years. The report cards, which track school performance in a variety of categories, are designed to give students and parents an easy-to-understand picture of how their school is doing.

Elementary and junior high schools are graded in up to four categories: academic achievement, English language proficiency, academic growth and chronic absenteeism. High schools are graded in those categories, as well as graduation rates and opportunities for post-secondary education.

Here’s a breakdown of how each of Byng’s five schools fared:

• Byng Elementary School received Bs in all categories except English language proficiency, for which no grade was given. Overall grade: B.

• Francis Elementary School received a B in academic achievement and a C for chronic absenteeism, but no grades in the other two categories and no overall grade.

Francis is a pre-kindergarten through third-grade school, and students are not tested until the third grade, Byng Superintendent Todd Crabtree said in an email. He said, therefore, there is no opportunity for Francis students to show growth. Those students will move to Byng Elementary School for fourth grade.

• Homer Elementary School earned a B for academic achievement, a C for academic growth and an A for chronic absenteeism but no grade for English language proficiency. Overall grade: B.

• Byng Junior High earned a B for academic achievement, a D for academic growth, a C for chronic absenteeism and no grade for English language proficiency. Overall grade: C.

• Byng High School had Bs for academic achievement and graduation rates and Cs for post-secondary opportunities. Overall grade: B-plus.

Crabtree said district officials weren’t quite sure what to expect this year since the system had changed drastically since 2016. He added that Byng students had done well on state-mandated tests, and the report cards reflected that.

“We believe our test scores are good, but we will continue to work to educate our students to the best of our ability so they can reach their full potential,” he said.

Crabtree said high school officials are looking at ways to expand opportunities for post-secondary education.

“Also, the chronic absenteeism is a concern for our school,” he said. “It is so important for students to be in class so they are receiving the instruction needed to reach their full potential. Hopefully, this is an area in which we can work alongside parents to improve.”

Grading schools

Years of complaints that the old A-F report cards were flawed prompted the Oklahoma State Department of Education to stop issuing report cards after 2016. A 95-person task force developed a new accountability system, which produced its first A-F report cards this year.

Instead of producing a one-page document that focuses on a single letter grade, the new system uses a dashboard-style format that offers a snapshot of how schools are performing in several categories.

Crabtree said the new system is better than the old one, but it still does not offer a true picture of school performance.

“We do like the fact that instead of assigning one letter grade to a school, it attempts to assess the school in several different areas,” he said. “The bottom line is that we are going to continue to teach our students and care about them, and much of what we do is not reflected in this report card.”

The report cards are available at oklaschools.com, which is searchable by school, district address or county. 

Eric Swanson is the City Hall and general assignment reporter for The Ada News. He spent 15 years working at the Dodge City Daily Globe in Dodge City, Kansas, before joining The Ada News’ staff in 2012.