NORMAN — Norman Public Schools and the Moore-Norman Technology Center were put under the spotlight at the Norman Chamber of Commerce “State of Schools” event Monday morning.
NPS Superintendent Dr. Joe Siano and Moore Norman Technology Center Superintendent Jane Bowen took the opportunity to brag about their respective schools and update community members as to where the challenges the schools face.
Siano, who was named superintendent in 2000 after working in Oklahoma City and Putnam City districts, began his discussion of Norman Public Schools by briefly mentioning the various NPS programs available to students, such as pre-school programs and full-day kindergarten offered at every elementary, district-wide health services provided in conjunction with Norman Regional Health System, pre-AP classes in middle school and the new French immersion program.
Several NPS achievements were also mentioned such as the average ACT scores of NPS outpacing both state and national averages. Additionally, Siano said the NPS system had successfully completed 2009 bond issue projects on time.
With the Oklahoma State Department of Education’s A-F grades still fresh on the community’s mind, Norman Public School District’s B minus as well as the D letter grades four Norman Public Schools were given was addressed. Siano said that he believed the state grading system to be faulty and an inaccurate measure of the equity existing between all NPS schools.
“Teachers are doing what we hired them to do,” Siano said. “Raises in math and reading scores (at schools with D ratings) indicate to us that our process is working in our more challenging schools.”
Additionally, Siano said he didn’t think any accountability system could really measure the complexity of schools, but that his biggest problem with the A-F grading system was its misleading effects.
“I have a problem with how the state advertised the A-F grading system. My contingent is that A-F is misleading in effectiveness. It’s been advertised as an easy assessment for parents, but it really leads parents to the wrong conclusions,” he said.