The Duncan High School Administration Building became a stomping grounds for the Duncan Public Schools administration team and school board during their Special Meeting of the Board of Educators Tuesday, June 4.

The meeting kicked off with a number of actions to improve the public school district, including teacher training, new lawn mowers for groundskeeping, and the contracting of three Speech and Language Pathology professionals and one Speech Therapy professional.

All actions were unanimously approved, and the changes are expected to be implemented for the upcoming school year. The teacher training includes Back to School Professional Development for Pre-K through grade 12 teachers and a Reading Wonders Curriculum from McGraw Hill Education, Inc. for K-5 teachers and students.

After the actions had been approved, the board shifted focus to planning for the upcoming years along with the Duncan Public Schools Administration Team. With multiple goal areas to divide up the meeting and keep organized, including ACT prep, STEM access, standards-based grading, teacher quality, retention, marketing campaigns, comparative districts and more.

With a lot of recent changes and the results of those changes coming to light, there was a lot to discuss and a lot of new information to sift through, such as the shift towards ACT prep and readiness.

“Last year was the first time we took the ACT as our state assessment for juniors,” said Allison Lovett, State and Federal Programs Director. “Scores went from a 19.4 to a 17, but we need to look at that, and I think the steps that we are taking at the high school to get teachers to embed strategies and ACT content will help in that area.”

A large factor in the lower recent score was the students taking the test. In the past, only students planning on entering college took the ACT, but last year, all juniors, including those who may not have prepared for it, took the exam.

Standards-based grading has been another talking point for some time, after its implementation in the district’s elementary schools. This system is in the works to continue for the upcoming school year as well.

The school board is looking at other districts in the state as a comparison to themselves to ensure they are on the right track with their goals and accomplishments. Serving to unite the many schools in the district with one path, these comparable districts, Altus, Durant, Guthrie and Skiatook, are those that have been identified by the school board.

“We talked about being one Duncan for years,” said Plato Elementary Principal Brandy Peters. “This will force that issue even more, because now it’s not just your students and my students, it really is our students.”

For more information from the Duncan Public School Board, see subsequent issues of The Duncan Banner.