School success is no embarrassment
In Oklahoma City, Tracy McDaniel is principal of KIPP Reach College Preparatory charter school. More than 90 percent of the school's students are minorities and 83 percent are poor enough to qualify for free or reduced lunch. As superintendent of Ryal Public School, Scot Trower led an institution where 90 percent of students are Muscogee (Creek) Indians, many are designated special education, and all qualify for free/reduced lunches.
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In spite of demographic challenges, 98 percent of eligible KIPP Reach alumni have graduated from high school; 78 percent of 2011 graduates enrolled in college. When Trower arrived in 2011, Ryal was a “priority school” ranking among the bottom 5 percent statewide. But by 2012, Ryal got a B on its state report card and was named a “reward” school to honor its significant progress.
Starting as one of the 77 worst schools in Oklahoma, Ryal leapfrogged hundreds of its counterparts in academic performance. Each student now has a personal learning plan and does schoolwork on an iPad. The leadership of Tracy McDaniel and Scot Trower has contributed to astounding academic achievement for students facing major socio-economic challenges. Both deserve praise. So how have these two school leaders been treated?