Four Ada schools get Cs on state report cards

From the left, Bryan Harwell, executive director of personnel and operations for Ada City Schools, and Superintendent Mike Anderson listen to a discussion of school site report cards during Monday’s Ada Board of Education meeting.

Four Ada schools received Cs on their state-issued report cards for 2018-19, while the other two did not receive overall letter grades.

Ada Early Childhood Center and Hayes Grade Center did not have overall grades because students at those schools do not take state-required exams until the third grade. Washington Grade Center, Willard Grade Center, Ada Junior High School and Ada High all received overall grades of C.

Ada Board of Education President Russ Gurley said the Oklahoma State Department of Education, which issues the report cards, did not give the Ada school district enough credit for the opportunities the district provides for students.

“The horrible thing about this thing is that some family moving to Ada, they go on Zillow and they pull this up,” he said Monday. “It doesn’t say anything about performing arts and aviation programs.”

Lisa Fulton, director of federal programs for Ada City Schools, said the state is starting to recognize school districts that are providing special opportunities for students.

“They’re trying to compensate a little bit for that,” she said. “When you first go to a site like Ada High School, the first thing you’re going to see is called ‘Programs of Excellence.’ It’s what we’re working on right now.”

Fulton was referring to the “Programs of Excellence” section on Ada High’s report card. Starting with the 2019-20 school year, schools may identify up to three “Programs of Excellence” areas as priorities.

Then in 2020-21, schools will be able to identify themselves as “Programs of Excellence” at one of three levels — bronze, silver or gold — with input from staffers, school officials and stakeholders.

The Ada Board of Education discussed the new report cards Monday but did not take action.

Grading schools

Oklahoma’s school report cards are designed to show parents how their local schools are doing by providing a snapshot of school and student performance. The system, now in its second year, measures school performance in several areas.

Elementary and junior high schools receive letter grades in up to four categories: academic achievement, progress toward English language proficiency, academic growth and chronic absenteeism. High schools receive grades in those categories, plus graduation rates and opportunities for post-secondary education.

Each school also receives an overall letter grade.

Here’s how Ada schools fared on their 2018-19 report cards:

• Ada Early Childhood Center did not receive an overall grade or grades for academic achievement, academic growth or progress toward English language proficiency. That’s because students don’t take state-mandated tests at that level.

The school received a D for chronic absenteeism.

• Hayes Grade Center did not receive an overall grade or grades for academic achievement and academic growth. Like students at the Early Childhood Center, students attending Hayes do not take state-required exams until the third grade.

Hayes received Bs for progress toward English language proficiency and chronic absenteeism.

• Washington Grade Center received Ds for academic achievement and English language proficiency, a C for academic growth and a B for chronic absenteeism. Overall grade: C.

• Willard Grade Center received Ds for academic achievement and English language proficiency, a C for academic growth and a B for chronic absenteeism. Overall grade: C.

• Ada Junior High School earned Cs in all categories except English language proficiency because the school did not have enough English learners to be calculated. Overall grade: C.

• Ada High School received Cs for academic achievement, graduation rates and English language proficiency; an A for chronic absenteeism; and a B for post-secondary opportunities. Overall grade: C.

Fulton noted that Washington and Ada Junior High showed some progress in the academic growth category, and Ada High School had some growth in the area of post-secondary opportunities.

“We earn points for juniors and seniors who are concurrent (taking classes at Ada High and East Central University), taking AP courses, internships and career tech coursework leading to industry certification,” she said.

Superintendent Mike Anderson said Ada High is compared to other schools across the state, regardless of their size. He added that a small school with a limited number of seniors, each of whom had some opportunity to pursue education after high school, could receive the same grade in that category as a larger school.

“We’re really trying to provide opportunities for internships for those kids that aren’t in AP classes, that aren’t in the gifted classes, that aren’t taking concurrent so that we can increase those opportunities for those kids,” Anderson said. “Because it is a post-secondary opportunity.”

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.

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