Tulsa School Credits Hard Work For Perfect Test Scores

Wednesday, May 14th 2014, 7:03 pm

Almost every single TPS school had some third graders who didn't pass the state's reading test, but two elementary schools had perfect scores, Zarrow International School, which is a language magnet school, and Lanier Elementary.

Lanier is the only community school where every student passed. They believe smaller classes helped, some technology helped, but mainly a tried and true formula.

Lanier Principal, Robert Morris said, "My teachers are more than willing to roll up their sleeves and do the work, and frankly, I think the biggest part of this was plain old hard work."

Morris has been answering a lot of questions about how every student at his school passed the test. He was expecting them to do well, but didn't know they would do this well.

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"A tribute to their hard work and effort is how these results are what they are," he said.

Lanier Elementary is smaller than most schools in Tulsa, just 315 students in all. The school has 56 third graders, all passed the state test, including 11 special education students.

The 56 students are divided up between three teachers, and Amber Phillips, a first year teacher, is the newest member of that team.

"Hard work. We all worked really hard and I think our class sizes helped," Phillips said. "We have smaller numbers and had more time to work with each student individually."

The teachers said they made a special effort to track students through the lower grades and monitored their reading skills throughout the year. They used several computer programs to help kids who were falling behind.

In the end, it worked because every student is reading, and ready for fourth grade.

"We're focused on, our intent isn't to do well on the test, it's to instruct effectively and hopefully the tests will reflect that," Morris said.

While all of the special education children at Lanier passed, the school doesn't have any English language learners in third grade. That group still learning to speak English is, according to teachers, especially difficult to get up to speed on reading by third grade.