Claremore Daily Progress

March 7, 2013

Foyil schools earn state award

Mark Friedel
Staff Reporter

OKLAHOMA CITY — Foyil was one of 186 school districts to receive recognition for the Governor’s ACE Award Monday afternoon at the Oklahoma History Center. Governor Mary Fallin, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi, former Governor Brad Henry and state legislators honored the schools with a celebratory luncheon and ceremony.

According to information from the Oklahoma State Department of Education, the award is given to school districts in which 100 percent of the seniors meet all graduation requirements, including Achieving Classroom Excellence (ACE). ACE, enacted in 2005 under Governor Brad Henry, requires that high school seniors, beginning with graduates of 2012, prove proficiency on four of seven end-of-instruction exams before graduation.
“This is a very big accomplishment,” said Foyil Superintendent Mike McGregor. “Our teachers do a wonderful job of working together to make sure all of our students exceed state requirements.”
McGregor said the accomplishment is not anything new to FHS. 
“Most every year 100 percent of our seniors meet all graduation requirements,” he said. “This is another example of why the state’s A-F grading scale does not accurately demonstrate the quality of education in public schools.”
Currently, Foyil has about 51 students in its senior class.
“Being a small school, it’s a given that students have stronger relationships with each other and teachers. I see that as an advantage,” said McGregor. 
“If we have a good, solid teacher  and an excellent teacher, our goal is to put the students who need more discipline with the excellent teacher because I know that he or she can do more for that student.”
In addition to the Ace Award, Foyil Junior High recently received recognition from the state as being a Blue Ribbon School and U.S. News and World Report awarded FHS the bronze ranking for best high schools in the country. 
The rankings are based on math and reading test scores for the entire student body as well as student to teacher ratio.
“I am happy to get recognition for our school but the state’s grading scale tells a different story,” said McGregor.
The House removed from the A-F calculations, 17 percent of the grade based on improvement of the lowest 25th percentile of students and increased the learning gains calculation in reading and math.
He said even though the bill passed, the system still needs to focus more on student achievement and less on other factors that are out of the school’s control.  Last December, Foyil School District received a D grade for the state’s yearly A-F report card release. Districts earned a GPA and a letter grade based on- 33 percent student achievement, 17 percent overall student growth, 17 percent bottom quartile student growth and 33 percent whole school performance.