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November 13, 2013

School board examines state test scores debacle

DUNCAN — This year’s spring testing scores results and the challenges faced by schools were presented to the Duncan Public Schools Board of Education Tuesday night.

Though test scores were down from what last year students scored, there were many factors at play which resulted in the outcome. Merry Stone, assistant superintendent, explained during her presentation the many challenges faced by faculty and students this year.

For one, science/biology and writing tests had their standards raised after the tests were taken. Therefore, teachers and students were not able to prepare themselves for the new standards.

Another challenge was students who had formerly been able to take modified tests because of a learning disability are now mandated to take the same test as other mainstream students. Finally, there were several technical difficulties with the online testing.

“These aren’t excuses, but what we are going to be working on to improve,” said Stone. “These are one-day tests and they do not define us as a district.”

Stone told the board teachers and administrators are already working on ways to be prepared to face similar challenges in 2014. Students are being prepped in taking differently formatted tests than they have been used to in the past.

“We’re going to be prepared for those challenges,” she said. “The kids are working hard and already making progress.”

Board members approved a resolution calling on Oklahoma Legislature to create a Special Funding Situation for pension liability in the state of Oklahoma. DPS is joining several other school districts in the state to address this complicated situation. Should the legislature not listen, districts across the state could end up in debt.

Other agenda items included:

n A check presentation was made by Sunshine OHCE group for the Cover Our Kids Campaign in the amount of $250.

“We’re blessed to have people like you who care about the kids,” said Sherry Labyer, superintendent.

n Board members approved the resignations of Bruce Taylor, custodian at Plato, effective Oct. 31, 2013, with four months of service; Becky Etheridge, Mark Twain teacher, effective Dec. 20, 2013, with one year of service; and Lorie Baggett, Duncan Middle School teacher, effective Oct. 24, 2013, with one year of service.

n The board approved the hiring of Ronald Hines, general maintenance; Julie Wymer, Plato custodian; Justine Hayney, ELL assistant at Emerson; and Jackie Sleeker, Emerson cafeteria server/helper.

n A change in contract for Jim Moore from groundskeeper/athletics to supervisor/maintenance was approved.

“He has worked really hard and gone the extra mile,” Labyer said. “He wanted this position and he worked for it.”

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