State's lowest-performing schools show progress
The state Board of Education heard an update about six schools state officials are helping reform. The schools identified for reform earlier this year are called C3, which stands for College, Career and Citizen Ready. They were selected from a list of 77 schools dubbed “Priority Schools” in a new school assessment system that gives an A to F grade. Every Priority School was asked to turn in an extensive document detailing everything from test scores to staffing. C3 Director Richard Caram gave an update on the schools' progress to the board Thursday. Nearly all schools have seen staff turnover, Caram said.
“They have all interviewed their staffs and figured out who wanted to play and who didn't want to play,” Caram said. “Those people that fit stayed, and those people who didn't fit got to go do something else.”
Farris K-8 in Atoka County has 100 students. The school is making progress, especially in the area of technology, Caram said. “Farris is moving right along,” he said.
Keyes Elementary School in Cimarron County has 100 students. The school hired a new principal, James Stephen, who will also teach three sections of science. The district also is looking for a superintendent who will be “the right fit,” Caram said.
Okay High School in Wagoner County has 460 students. Caram said he's working to bring some Teach for America teachers to the school. “The whole district has bought into the C3 concept,” he said.
McLain High School is part of Tulsa Public Schools. It has 447 students. The community advisory board is particularly active and excited about improving the school, Caram said. The board includes parents, teachers, administrators, business leaders, clergy and volunteers. “I'm so excited for this school,” Caram said.
Roosevelt Middle School is part of Oklahoma City Public Schools. It has 1,040 students and a new principal, Michelle Pontikos. She has enthusiastically led the charge for change, Caram said. “She's awesome,” he said. “She understands what school turnaround is.”
Shidler Elementary School is part of Oklahoma City Public Schools and has 330 students. The school's advisory board is meeting for the first time Friday, and Principal Steve Johnson has been a positive leader, Caram said. “He's got it all together,” Caram said. “The building's beautiful. The kids love it. It's a safe place.”