More Tulsa Students Making The Grade

Thursday, July 20th 2006, 1:59 pm
By: News On 6

New test scores show more Tulsa elementary school students are making the grade. Fourth grade reading scores jumped ten percent over last year, putting almost 90 percent on or above grade level.

News on 6 education reporter Ashli Sims says some of the biggest gains came from schools that aren't usually labeled high-performing.

Last year, Greeley Elementary at 105 East 63rd Street North was losing students and facing consolidation. Now one of the smallest schools in the district is sporting some of the biggest test score gains. 3rd Grade teacher Renee Cruz: "I think it’s fantastic. I am very proud of the students, extremely proud of the students. Very proud of the teachers. We worked really hard; we and the students have worked really hard. We ask a lot out of them, and they performed.”

Greeley jumped from a third of 3rd graders performing on grade level in reading and math, to 100 percent. And across the board, their fourth graders are making the grade. Renee Cruz says she thinks the Target Teach curriculum, which requires a series of benchmark tests throughout the year, helped avoid the nerves factor on test day. "This is the first group that I've tested in all these years, that when it came time for the test they were fine. They were relaxed they knew they could do it and they felt confident in themselves."

Greeley's scores are so good; the Mustangs are rivaling the top-ranked elementary school in the district, Carnegie. The two schools are neck and neck in almost every area. Greeley even tops Carnegie in fourth grade math, but falls behind them slightly in fifth grade. Cruz hopes the comparison to the likes of Carnegie will help bring students back to Greeley. And she says this, is no one-year fluke. "And it’s just gonna push us and drive us harder to keep this up. Because it feels so good. And the students are going to be so proud of themselves. And the community is going to be so proud. It'll just keep that backing and keep the momentum rolling.”

Even though the news is by and large good, these scores do show some room for improvement. Fifth-graders throughout the district seem to be losing a little ground in reading. But Tulsa Public School leaders say they try to put things in context and make decisions based on trends, instead of one year's scores.