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Three Oklahoma City-area schools are among list of seven worst-performing in state

Oklahoma educators, officials agree an intensive partnership could help underachieving schools, but what that means is yet to be defined. The state Education Board also approved new school assessment guidelines to replace No Child Left Behind.
BY ZEKE CAMPFIELD Published: March 30, 2012

Oklahoma will take a greater hand in managing the seven worst-performing schools in the state, including three in the Oklahoma City area.

The list of seven, plus general information about what an improvement process might look like for these schools, was presented to the state Education Board at its meeting Thursday.

Karl Springer, superintendent for Oklahoma City Public Schools, said an initial concern that the state would venture to take over underperforming schools was softened by the announcement.

“They want to work with the school district in a collaborative type of way, maybe bringing some resources to the table, some expertise maybe, to help these schools more down the road,” Springer said. “(State schools Superintendent Janet Barresi) has indicated to me personally and in public that she is not interested in a takeover of any of our schools, and I believe her.”

Two of the seven C3 schools — Shidler Elementary School and Roosevelt Middle School — are within Springer's district. A third, Santa Fe South Middle School, is not in the district but is an Oklahoma City charter school.

A-F assessment scale

The board is expected to vote on the list and the plan, dubbed “C3” by the state Education Department, at its next meeting April 9.

The board also approved on Thursday a plan to adopt an A-F assessment scale that would categorize each of the state's school sites and districts based on a letter grade.

The C3 plan and the A-F accountability system are two of a series of sweeping reforms proposed to fulfill obligations laid out for the department when the federal government waived its participation in No Child Left Behind, Barresi said.

Barresi insisted neither of the programs indicate a plan by the state to take over any of its schools.

“Closure is not an option and has never been an option,” she said.

C3, which stands for College, Career and Citizen Ready, is the name Barresi's office has given to identify the seven schools, a subset of the 77 schools listed as “Priority Schools” earlier this spring.

Though the state will partner with each of the Priority schools, its partnership with the seven C3 schools will be much more intensive, she said.

Among possible initiatives for these schools is a conversion to charter schools, the pooling of Title I funding and increased financial support for literacy coaches and professional development.

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