Letter from Superintendent Dr. Jarod Mendenhall about State Department School Grades Released
State Department of Education A-F Grades Released
The State Department of Education has released their latest iteration of the A-F grading system, which was last done in 2016. This new A-F system allows the state of Oklahoma to be in compliance with the new federal mandates of Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and is also an attempt to inform parents of the type of school their child is attending.
There were different options for states to comply with this federal mandate, however, the Oklahoma State Department of Education determined it was the best option to provide letter grades to individual school sites.
In 1999, Florida was the first state to provide an A-F accountability system causing other states to follow. Oklahoma is one of approximately sixteen states that now utilizes letter grades to measure school progress. As stated above, there are options to comply with the federal mandate and other ways to determine the type of school your child is attending.
Understanding the New System
The new A-F grading system uses a new formula and algorithms to apply grades for individual school sites. This system measures student achievement, academic growth, chronic absenteeism, and English Language Learners, highlighting students who are the most vulnerable. While these are all considered quantifiable calculations, other constructs must be considered when evaluating a school site.
The current program utilizes a normal distribution model known as a Bell Curve, which allows fifty percent to fall below the midpoint and fifty percent above the midpoint. The latest release of grades published across the state show that five percent of the schools received “A” grades, another five percent received “F” grades, and the remainder fell somewhere in the middle. This distribution model clearly dictates where schools will fall, regardless of their performance levels.
This new system, that provides a letter grade, is supposed to be more transparent and easy for parents and the community to understand. However, the system is very convoluted and tries to oversimplify what is truly happening in schools every day.
Muskogee Public Schools Grades
The grades administered to our school sites are a concern, and they will be taken into consideration when identifying the needs for each school. However, these indicators are not a full or complete picture. We have students with specific needs that must be met before we can see improvement in academic achievement. These needs include basic health and safety, social and emotional, and those students who have had traumatic life experiences.
The A-F grading system does not take these types of constructs into consideration when applying a formula or an algorithm. Therefore, MPS is committed to providing these kind of services to our students. More specifically, we will create a culture of care and supports while providing wrap around services that positively impact the educational experience for every child.
The following grades were assigned to the school sites in Muskogee:
- Muskogee High School (9-12) D
- Alice Robertson Junior High (7-8) F
- Sadler Arts Academy (K-8) A
- Creek Elementary C
- Cherokee Elementary D
- Ben Franklin STEM Academy D
- Grant Foreman Elementary D
- Irving Elementary D
- Pershing Elementary D
- Tony Goetz Elementary C
- Whittier Elementary D
Rougher Alternative Academy is included as part of Muskogee High School’s grade. The Muskogee Early Childhood Center does not receive a grade as a Pre-Kindergarten facility.
We are committed to a culture of continuous improvement through a three-step process of Instructional Focus, Long Range Planning, and Strategic Planning.
The administration is in the process of reviewing all instructional practices, materials and programs being utilized in the district. We are designing a new instructional model to ensure alignment with the Oklahoma Academic Standards (OAS) so that all teaching and learning is focused on student growth.
A Long Range Planning committee has been established with a group of thirty community members. The focus of this committee is to assist us in developing the vision of the district for the future grade configuration, boundary changes, land acquisitions and bond referendums.
We will be working with the Oklahoma State School Boards Association (OSSBA) to create a comprehensive vision for the future of our district. This process will provide a road map for our district during the next five years. The process will include:
- Comprehensive community engagement
- Diverse planning and action teams
- Analyzing multiple data points
- Develop measures, initiatives and action steps
- District Summary Report
- Implementation Plans
- Year one accountability review
Muskogee Public Schools is committed to the providing the highest quality educational experience to every child. We look forward to making a difference in the lives of all students with your continued support.
Dr. Jarod Mendenhall
Muskogee Public Schools