The Norman Transcript


June 10, 2014

School board discussion includes third-grader retention and Common Core repeal

NORMAN — Several changes in education policies at the state and district level were discussed at a regular Norman Public Schools Board of Education meeting Monday night.

Board of education member Dan Snell inquired about the status of NPS’ third-graders who scored unsatisfactory on the state’s new high stakes third-grade Language Arts Exam.

The Reading Sufficiency Act requires that third-graders who perform unsatisfactory on the exam to be retained in the third grade, unless they qualify for one of six “good cause” exemptions.

Celeste Scott, director of elementary education, reported that thus far, the district had decreased the number of students who would be retained from initially 165 reported to 100. Scott said the number had lowered due to exemptions and students who have retaken the exam.

She also said that with more than 500 students in elementary summer school, the number of those retained may continue to decrease as students continue to retake the exam.

A change to the Reading Sufficiency Act, recent House Bill 2625, effective immediately, gives parents and teachers a say in retention.

HB 2625 was vetoed by Gov. Mary Fallin, but later, two-thirds of the Oklahoma State Legislature’s House and Senate voted to override the veto.

The bill calls for a committee — which will include a third-grade teacher, principal, parent, reading specialist and fourth-grade teacher — to determine the retention or promotion of each individual student.

NPS Superintendent Dr. Joe Siano said that, as in every school year, some students would be retained, but the district had openly communicated with parents since the initial language arts exam results and would continue to do so while working to meet each child’s needs.

“I’d really like to commend our principals who, based on the initial results, had contacted all parents within two to three days and talked to them about the process and the options available to them,” Siano said.

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