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TPS shares Oklahoma A-F School Report Card Grades

Published 9/17/2014




Tulsa Public Schools


Chris Payne


Preliminary A-F grades by school

Read Dr. Ballard's Letter to Parents/Guardians.

Lea la carta del Dr. Ballard dirigida a los padres de familia y tutores.

Tulsa Public Schools today released district grades on the state's A-F School Report Cards, in conjunction with the certification of grades by the Oklahoma State Board of Education. According to district personnel, five schools earned an "A" grade, with four schools earning a "B," seven a "C" and 10 a grade of "D." In addition, 49 schools received a letter grade of "F" -- among them 36 elementary schools, 10 middle schools and 3 high schools.

"In Year 3 of Oklahoma's school grading system, another significant change was made, severely compounding the flaws already inherent in the formula," said Dr. Keith Ballard, superintendent. "For the first time, special education students and English Language Learners were not given a modified version of the test, which makes any comparison with the previous year impossible. It is my hope that the Oklahoma Legislature will fix this flawed system.

"Tulsa Public Schools will continue to move forward on a positive track in our school turnaround efforts. While testing data is important, we are interested in multiple measures that guide teaching in the classroom and addresses specific student needs. That's why we look at Lexile [reading] scores, value-added measures that show student growth, as well as climate and culture surveys, ACT and MAP data. If there is to be a single letter grade, it must be valid. Noted researchers have declared the current formula to be flawed.

"I would caution our teachers and principals against taking these school grades to heart, as they are a badly distorted mirror at best. Many of our district's children come from backgrounds of poverty and there are many that are in special education or English Language Learners. We know that it takes multiple years of highly-effective teaching to overcome the average achievement deficit between low-income students and others. This work takes time. We know from other metrics that we are making progress with our Teacher & Leader Effectiveness initiative, but have a long way to go at some of our more struggling schools. Poverty will never be an excuse at TPS, but we must be very intentional in this work if we are to make a difference in the lives of children. We still believe every child is capable of learning, and no one rises to the occasion like the fine teachers and principals at Tulsa Public Schools."

Tulsa Public Schools is in the midst of a turnaround strategy in many of its schools that includes:

  • A Teacher and Leadership Effectiveness initiative based on having an effective teacher in every classroom and an effective principal in every building.
  • Teacher evaluation system: the district's evaluation system is one that has been adopted by more than 500 school districts in the state and that has helped the District make unprecedented improvements in teacher and leader retention and placement decisions.
  • Developing great teachers: TPS recently received a $4.42 million Innovative Professional Development grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Over the next three years, the grant will be used by TPS to implement a new professional development system that will provide high-quality, personalized professional learning to support and empower effective teachers.
  • Instructional Leadership Directors: the district has eight Instructional Leadership Directors who are in schools at least three-and-a-half days every week checking on progress. Their focus is on working with principals to improve classroom instruction and student outcomes.
  • Developing great principals: TPS is one of only two schools districts in the nation to be awarded a school leadership grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The $4.4 million grant is helping the district develop a program to recruit, train and mentor principals and assistant principals.
  • Read 180: this reading intervention program using a "balanced literacy" approach is being implemented in every school building.
  • Reading Partners: a program with a proven track record of significantly improving elementary literacy rates by training and partnering volunteer mentors with children in need of reading assistance.

In addition, TPS offers robust programming and an array of experiences for students that include the fine arts and performing arts, vocal and instrumental music, athletics, language immersion and college preparatory programs. In 2013-14, the district launched the Kennedy Center's Any Given Child program, which provides every student in grades K-8 with an arts experience unique to every grade level, in partnership with The Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa, the City of Tulsa and 11 local arts organizations. The district also offers magnet school options with programs that include the fine arts and performing arts, culinary arts, engineering, robotics, broadcast journalism, French and Spanish immersion, dual-language immersion, micro-society, Advanced Placement (AP) programs, the International Baccalaureate program, advanced technology/STEM and early college high school programs with the opportunity to earn college credit.





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