Greater Oklahoma City Chamber - OKC district's changes add up to big gains on math scores

OKC district's changes add up to big gains on math scores

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Aurora Lora, associate superintendent of student achievement and accountability for Oklahoma City Public Schools, said rebuilding the math department keyed the turnaround.

By Tim Willert
Education Reporter, The Oklahoman

Nine schools in the Oklahoma City district showed gains of at least 18 points on state and federally mandated math tests and end-of-instruction exams, with eighth-graders from one school improving by 75 points over the previous year, officials said Monday.

Overall, the district realized double-digit gains as seventh- and eighth-graders improved by 11 points on math tests administered during the spring while students taking basic high school algebra showed 12-point gains, according to figures provided by the district.

Aurora Lora, associate superintendent of student achievement and accountability for Oklahoma City Public Schools, said rebuilding the math department keyed the turnaround by sparking improvements in professional development, curriculum and materials for teachers.

"We did not have a math department. It was very difficult for teachers to get the support they needed," Lora said. "When we came on board, there was not a single person overseeing the department ... there was no identifiable materials for those courses. Our team put together a team to review curriculum."

None of the gains was as noteworthy as those made by eighth-graders at Rogers Middle School in Spencer, who improved 75 points over the previous year when 6 percent passed.

Principal Jahree Herzer praised teachers Gayla Cunningham, Fayesha Ward and Donna Greenberg for the improvement, an effort that included 65 minutes of extra math instruction for struggling students. 

"I think they had very high expectations. I think they used best practices, and they used the data to target instruction," Herzer said Monday at the school, 4000 N Spencer Road.

"We're hoping that the rest of the departments will be able to learn from the math department, and it will spread to the other grades, as well."

Jefferson Middle School also showed big gains ...

Read the rest of this story and see a related video and photos at NewsOK.com.