TPS Goes Back To The Basics After Failing Key Reading Standard

Monday, December 13th 2010, 5:57 pm
By: News On 6

Tara Vreeland, News On Six

TULSA, Oklahoma -- The entire Tulsa Public Schools district is lagging behind in one of the most basics of education. Reading.

Superintendent Doctor Keith Ballard sent a letter home with parents saying the district didn't reach the performance benchmarks.

Students in 3rd through 12th grade take the Oklahoma Core Curriculum Test in April. But for the second year in a row, the district didn't score as high as it needed to National guidelines.

TPS is going back to the books and the basics of the ABC's.

"We're concerned. We're concerned and we have a plan in place," said Verna Ruffin, Asst superintendent for curriculum and instruction at TPS.

TPS students scored a 1060 out of 1500 in reading on the Academic Performance Index. About 70 percent. Which means too many students are not reading at their grade level.

"I don't think parents should be alarmed, but I think they should take an active role in what is happening in their children's school," Ruffin said.

But what goes down must come up.

"It takes two years to get off that list so yes it will be 2013 before we find out if we are off the list in the area of reading for the district," said TPS Director of Title I Wendy Pharr.

TPS must hit those performance benchmarks on the state's high academic standards for the No child Left Behind legislation. So the district says they have a strategy in the works to pull Tulsa out of its reading slump.

"The plan is to help analyze the problems, identify areas, and to address instructional issues," said Tracy Bayles, Exec Dir of Federal Programs and Special Projects.

"It means we take a serious look at the levels of books, the types of books, and literature that students are reading. That we go just beyond the text book, we really learn some literacy strategies across the content areas," Ruffin said.

TPS must set aside 10 percent of the Title One funds---about $1.7 million---for professional development like teachers and tutors.