About 9 percent of Oklahoma schools received an A under the state Education Department's new A to F school evaluation system, and a few smaller districts claimed all A's on their report cards.
Seven districts with more than one school received all A's: Amber-Pocasset, Arapaho-Butler, Canadian, Central High, Mulhall-Orlando, Reydon and Ripley.
Six single-school districts received A's: Bishop, Cottonwood, McCord, Pioneer, Robin Hill and Sweetwater.
Statewide, only 160 schools received A's of about 1,750 grades given.
Leaders attribute the high marks to teamwork among students, teachers, parents and the community.
The strong bond between Amber-Pocasset Public Schools and the surrounding communities in Grady County has created an environment of high expectations, Superintendent Chad Hance said.
“Our community and parents have accepted that,” Hance said. “They understand it comes with hard work. Our parents get behind our school. They're involved.”
The district is home to about 490 students who attend three schools: an elementary, a junior high and a high school. About 40 of the 60 staff members are teachers.
“It's the people we have inside our walls,” Hance said. “It's our teachers. Our teachers are doing an outstanding job. We have a great staff that care about our kids and go that extra mile to do what they need to do.”
Turnover is low across the board, he said. Many teachers have logged 20 years or more. The district has had the same agriculture teacher since the early 1970s. Hance is the third superintendent since the district was formed in the mid-1960s.
“It's consistency,” he said. “We're producing good kids out here in Am-Po.”
A group effort
In Custer County, Arapaho-Butler Superintendent Bob Haggard also attributed his district's success to the bond between the district and the community.
Everyone from teachers to school board members has a single goal: to set high expectations for success.
“We've always had high goals,” he said.
Haggard also attributed the high marks to effective teaching, strong parental involvement and dedicated students.
“Regardless of what grading system we use, our achievement is to prepare these kids for life,” Haggard said. “We've always set standards to make sure that happens.”