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From the Superintendent's Desk

In case you don’t already know, I am completely geeked out over my new Apple Watch. The new watches were available for pre-order at 2am our time on September 15th, and I was up and placing my order at that moment. I marvel at the engineering of this device and consider it a vital tool for work and personal use. You might remember watching Dick Tracy and thinking how ridiculous his watch was, but I can tell you it’s reality now! 

Another thing you may or may not know about me is that I have worked on my physical well-being, especially in recent years given the demands of my job. I very much believe in the idea that I am no good to my school if I don’t take care of myself. So I am careful about what I eat, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly. This is where my tech comes into play.

My watch tracks my steps and heart rate, reminds me that I need to stand up and move around from time to time, and rewards me with encouragement when I meet my goals. I don’t “think” I’m on target or not, I KNOW based on the metrics this thing on my wrist uses to help me stay focused on my health.

I have struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember. My mom would get me the “husky” jeans (bell bottoms of course!) when I was a kid, and my grandma would have to hem them for me. Over the years my weight has fluctuated, and it takes a conscious effort for me to get down to where I need to be and maintain it. I have had those times where I would complain and say, “I just can’t lose weight! I’m trying!” Maybe that was how I felt about it, but I have found that the thing that really works for me is to find ways to objectively measure whether or not I am doing the right things. 

I have an app on my phone to track my caloric intake; that’s pretty objective (as long as I am honest with my log). The scales in my bathroom sync to an app on my phone wirelessly, so again, I can objectively show results and whether or not I’m headed in the right direction. When I run, I can see from my heart rate and split times to know how I’m doing.

I look at our school in much the same way. We can say we’re doing a good job. We can say we are preparing our kids to be college and career ready. But how do we prove it, and how do we know if we’re getting better?

First we start by asking four important questions: 

-What do we want students to know?

-How will we know when they learn?

-What will we do when the don’t?

-What will we do when they already know it?

This process involves a complex set of tasks, starting with a teacher taking the state-mandated standards (Oklahoma Academic Standards), finding the essential skills, and mapping out their curriculum for the year. Teachers also meet with other grade levels to vertically align their work to see a logical progression from Pre-K to 12th grade. Our teachers use CFA’s (Common Formative Assessments) and benchmark assessments to determine academic progress for each student during the year.

This year our state is taking a major step in the right direction to calibrate our state assessments nationally. Two main assessments we can use to measure student achievement on a national level are the ACT (or for some schools the SAT) and the NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress). In the past our state assessment pass rates were quite a bit higher than how our students performed on the national assessments.

Now our state’s academic standards are aligned to these national assessments, and our state assessments are calibrated to them as well. We want to know how we, as a state, are performing when compared to other states, and now we can say we are comparing “apples to apples.”

This is not going to be easy or painless, but I am very proud of the work our state has accomplished to raise the achievement bar for our students. Our standards and assessments are meaningful, and our goals are not only worthy, they are attainable. This moment has been several years in the making, and it has taken a lot of folks to make it happen.

Right now our district is analyzing our performance on last year’s state tests, and soon we will have individual student scores to report to parents. Our staff will be ready to walk our students, parents and community through this year’s “reset” of our assessment data.

I hope you are enjoying the cooler temperatures that come with Fall weather and taking in some of the many activities we have going on in our schools and around the community. What a great place to live! As always, I would love to hear from you.

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Woodward Public Schools1023 10th StreetWoodward, OK  73802

PH: 580-256-6063Fax: 580-256-4391

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The Woodward Board of Education does not discriminate on the basis of disability, race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, or veteran status.

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