EDITORIAL: Schools set an example

Apr. 29—Two local schools set an example after achieving the highest grade on state report cards.

The Oklahoma State Department of Education Office of Accountability recently released the 2021-22 school report cards after a months-long delay with two area schools getting top marks.

McAlester's Parker Intermediate Center received an overall A grade, including a B in academic achievement, a B in academic growth, a B in English language proficiency, and an A chronic absenteeism.

Frink-Chambers Public School also received an overall A on the report card, with an A in academic achievement, an A in academic growth, and a B in chronic absenteeism.

No schools in the News-Capital's coverage area received an F overall grade on the report card, but four did not receive a grade — including McAlester's William Gay Early Childhood Center and Jefferson Early Childhood Center, Carlton Landing Academy, and Pittsburg High School.

A majority of the nearly 40 schools in the News-Capital coverage area received a B or C overall grade on the state report cards.

Seven school received a D — including Canadian High School, Haileyville High School, Hartshorne High School, Pittsburg Elementary School, Quinton Elementary School, Quinton High School, and Wilburton Elementary School.

Oklahoma schools received a C in academic achievement on the state report card, a B in academic growth, a B in English language proficiency progress, a D in chronic absenteeism, a C in postsecondary opportunities, and a D in graduation.

This is the first release of Oklahoma School Report Cards since the U.S. Department of Education granted a two-year waiver during the COVID-19 pandemic. Each school report is available online at oklaschools.com.

Those schools getting top marks should take pride in the achievement because they overcame several challenges in the past few years to continue moving forward.

Data from the National Center for Education Statistics shows 87% of public schools reported the pandemic negatively impacted student socio-emotional development in the 2021-2022 academic year. The report states 84% of public schools agreed or strongly agreed the pandemic negatively impacted students' behavioral development.

School leaders also reported uptick in absenteeism during that span, the report states — with 75% of elementary schools, 71% of rural schools, and 73% of schools with lower student poverty rates reporting higher absenteeism.

Education faced a bevy of challenges due to the pandemic and yet, those two local schools continue to reach academic goals.

We applaud the students, parents, educators, and staff members involved in making education a priority and earning this recognition as some of the best in the state.