Blackwell Public Schools get graded; Valedictorian and Salutatorian announced

by Charles Gerian

Blackwell Public Schools received “B” and “C” grades on the district’s annual report card, which was issued by the Oklahoma State Department of Education in late February. The results of the card were revealed at the Blackwell Board of Education meeting Monday night.

Each year, the state education department releases grades of every public school in the state. The grades reflect the district’s performance during the 2017-2018 school year. The reports were presented by principals from each of the district’s three schools. Here are the results.

Blackwell Elementary School received a “B” in both academic achievement and academic growth, said BES Principal Melissa Moore. The school also earned a “C” in English language proficiency and chronic absenteeism. The school’s overall grade was a “B.”

According to Blackwell Middle School Principal Jaime Burtner, BMS received a “C” in academic achievement, which shows “the percentage of points earned by students meeting or exceeding their state-level targets based on their performance on state tests.” The school had 42 percent of students meet their goals, while the statewide average was 52 percent. BMS received an overall score of “C,” down from last year's “B.”

According to Blackwell High School Principal Shawn Haskins, BHS received a “C” in academic achievement, with a 54 percent versus the statewide average of 52 percent. The school’s graduation rate was 77 percent, or an “F,” compared to the statewide average of 86 percent. Chronic absenteeism saw BHS earn an 88 percent score, or a “C.” The school also earned a 44 percent, or a “C,” in “post-secondary opportunists,” which gauge “how well schools are helping students gain early college and career exposure.” Overall, BHS received a “C,” which was up from last year's D.

In chronic absenteeism, which refers to students who miss 10 percent or more of the school year for any reason, the district as a whole scored a B, with 93.75 percent meeting minimum attendance requirements. The district topped the state score of 86 percent. A more detailed breakdown of each school’s statistics can be found at Enter “Blackwell Public Schools” in the search bar to find the reports.

In other news at the meeting, the BOE approved the revised 2018 - 2019 school calendar because no school was held February 27 due to the weather. The board also renewed the district’s Oklahoma Teacher & Leader Effectiveness program for the 2019 - 2020 school year as well as the district’s membership with the Organization of Rural Oklahoma Schools.

The Internal Activities Review Committee was then formed. Under this committee, Burtner, Haskins, Hannah O'Donnell, J Wayne Hudson, Bobby Miller, Jenny Paul, and Jennifer Lambert will be tasked with reviewing the attendance records of children in the district with over 10 days of absences.

The BOE also approved three educational trips. Blackwell Music Boosters will be taking band and vocal students to Nashville March 13 - 17 for an educational trip, BMS Student Council Sponsor Masie Peetoom will be taking BMS Student Council members to Six Flags in Texas May 9 - 11 for leadership training, and Ashley Heitschmidt will be taking BHS art students to Dallas/Fort Worth for an educational trip.

Haskins also announced the school’s valedictorians and salutatorian. Maggie Brown, Julia Denney, Jordan Green, Anna Hague, Megan Lewis, and Maricela Murray all received the valedictorian honor. Cameron Clark was named the district’s salutatorian.