About Me

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I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Tomorrow Is The First Day of School in the Oklahoma City Public School District

Tomorrow we begin school in the OKC school district.  This is the 3rd year we have had the "continuous calendar" starting school in early August with longer breaks during the year than we had under the system used by most of the districts in the state.

Friday,  Centennial teachers ended 2 weeks of "pre-school" workshops and orientation.  On Friday, we given the preliminary data from last years end of school tests.  There was bad news and good news.  Our middle school math and English scores showed only slight improvement. Our high school math score remained about the same. However, there was good news in the high school English scores.  The English II scores showed that 73% of the students who took the test passed while in English III (my classes) had 81% passing including 7% who scored in the advanced range!

I wish I could take more credit for this than I deserve.  However, in light of the fact that I missed about 6 weeks of instruction due to my shoulder injury, I have to say that this was mainly due to a very good group of students, and the fact that students are starting to take the End of Instruction (EOI) tests very seriously. This is something that I have long expected would happen once passing the EOIs became mandatory.

Before, every time the students would take one of the high stakes tests, they would ask if they "had" to pass the test in order to graduate.  We tried to put lipstick on the pig of truth in those days  by saying that while they did not have to pass the test in order to graduate, their score would appear on their permanent transcript.  I could see the students beginning to shut down when they hear the first part of the previous sentence.  Now, I can answer their question with YES.

Now students take the test very seriously. They have seen a couple of years worth of students who did not pass the tests and had to retake and retake them till they did. (They have other options, but passing the EOI is the best, most efficient way to meet graduation requirements.)

This is the last year we will do the EOIs as we have known them. Next year comes the Common Core Standards with new tests.  We will hit the "reset" button and begin once again.

So ready or not, here we go again!