The Duncan Banner

August 14, 2012

Duncan Public Schools introduces high stakes learning resolution

Derrick Miller
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN —

Duncan Public Schools has taken the stance there is more to education than high stakes testing.

During Monday’s regular meeting, the Duncan Board of Education approved a resolution regarding high stakes testing. Superintendent Sherry Labyer said the resolution downplays the importance of such testing as it applies to the learning occurring in classrooms.

“High stakes testing is not the end all and be all,” Labyer said.

She said the resolution has become important because of the district’s curriculum change from PASS Objectives to Common Core and the introduction of Career Pathways.

Part of the difference in the two curriculum types is the student involvement in the learning process.

Common Core makes students more responsible for what they learn and requires them to think about how they arrive at an answer in their assignments.

“Common Core is not a route movement,” Labyer said. “It digs deeper.”

Although testing will continue to be part of the learning process, Common Core isn’t aimed at preparing students to take tests but getting them to think beyond the basics.

“We’re about more than testing students,” she said.

The introduction of Common Core isn’t the only change starting with the 2012-13 school year. At the high school level, traditional scheduling is returning. With traditional scheduling, students will attend seven 50-minute classes every day instead of being in the same class for longer blocks of time.

All of the schools will experience a change in start times. All the elementary schools and Duncan High School will start each day at 8 a.m. Duncan Middle School’s start time is changing to 8:30 a.m. The change in schedule is a result of the change to traditional schedule.

From elementary to high school, every grade level will feel the impact of Duncan’s pilot program, Career Pathways. This program will get students thinking about what they want to do after graduation and will help them determine what classes they need to follow a specific career path.

Duncan Middle School will also take on Project Lead the Way, which will give some students and introduction to various jobs in science in math. This will tie into Career Pathways and will help students realize what jobs are available in those fields.

In other action:

n The school board entered into an agreement with the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration (CCOSA). The agreement will allow the district to participate in CCOSA’s Legal Assistance Program for the 2012-13 school year. The cost of entering the agreement is $800.

“The reason I recommend we enter into this agreement is because they have a new staff attorney who specializes in special education law,” Labyer said. “If we have any questions, we would have access to her.”

n The board approved an agreement with South Central Oklahoma Online Consortium Cooperative. This allows the school district to jointly pursue online course work with the cooperative.

Labyer said the school board approved 15 licenses during the July 10 regular meeting. Although the school district would only have 15 licenses, more than 15 students could use those licenses. The only limitation is only 15 students can use those licenses at one time.

n The board approved paying Stephen H. McDonald & Associates Inc. $9,550 for services rendered in relation to work done with the Duncan High School bond issue.

In July, McDonald and members of his team work on coming up with designs for the Duncan High School renovation.

n Board members approved an agreement with Youth Services for Stephens County, Tracie Gillispie and the school district for the 2012-13 school year. Gillispie is a certified school psychologist contractor and evaluator.

The school district doesn’t have someone on staff who can run a variety of test to determine which students are developmentally delayed. Labyer said until the potion can be filled, contracting outside the school district is the district’s best option.

“We tested 70 students last year,” Labyer said. “We tested 25 that were developmentally delayed.”