The Norman Transcript

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March 9, 2014

Looking to the academic horizon

(Continued)

NORMAN —

Lopez said Oklahoma City is working to pool resources to provide summer programs to students, which would allow students to read better and advance to fourth grade.

Lopez said those programs are crucial since the district expects more than 1,000 students to be at risk of failing this year.

“We’ll have a variety of ways to minimize the number of students that didn’t pass in order to keep them with their cohort,” Lopez said.

About 22 percent of Oklahoma City third graders, or 767 students, would have been at risk of being retained in 2012 if the Reading Sufficiency Act’s retention requirement had been in place then, according to state test results. Nearly 25 percent of Tulsa third-graders, or 803, would have been at risk.

Career and college readiness: Both men agreed their districts need to do more to get students ready for life after high school. That means being ready to enroll in college or immediately enter the workforce.

Ballard said he believes sticking with Common Core State Standards, approved by the state for reading and math, will ensure students are prepared for work or college. Those standards are intended to be more rigorous and require students to show a deeper knowledge of course material.

“We need to make sure every student is college and career ready,” Ballard said.

Oklahoma has come under fire from teachers and parents who believe the state has not provided the resources teachers need to ensure students are prepared.

Legislation has been submitted to the House to repeal common core standards.

Lopez pointed out Oklahoma City also is pushing its career academies program to get students ready.

The district has academies that focus on fields such as law, engineering, finance and health.

The experience can help students prepare for a career right after high school, or hone in on a pathway heading into college.

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