Shawnee Public Schools received their 2017-2018 School Report Cards from the State Board of Eduction, with results reviewed at the Shawnee Board of Education meeting Monday night.

The grades are based on different categories and a point system that evaluates how students perform at each school.

According to Superintendent Dr. April Grace, the grading criteria changed this past year and Shawnee's grades, while low, were better than years past.

"While these report cards are only a snapshot of the work we do with students on a daily basis, they do provide important data for us to use as part of a continuous improvement process for our schools," Grace said. "We do see them as improved from previous reports."

The overall average grades for each school are as follows: Horace Mann, D; Jefferson, D; Sequoyah, C; Will Rogers, D; Shawnee Middle School, D; and Shawnee High School. C.

In the past, the grading system was based on one letter grade, but in 2016 the State Board changed the system to be more fluid and focus on various aspects of a school's growth.

Now schools receive letter grades based on a point system in multiple categories which is then calculated in an overall average score.

The new system grades elementary school and middle schools on up to four aspects while high schools are graded on up to five. These categories include: academic achievement, academic growth, chronic absenteeism, English language proficiency assessment progress and post-secondary opportunities and graduation rate.

“The new system incorporates significantly more contextual information than its predecessor,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister said. "The Oklahoma School Report Cards provide valid, reliable, meaningful and actionable data that schools and communities can use to improve outcomes for kids.”

Grace explained the grades and the scores received help educators determine how to better a child's education.

"We believe, as is evident by the work we are doing in our schools, that we have to look at each individual student to determine how to best serve their needs within our classrooms," Grace said.

The new system focuses largely on academic achievement and growth which account for the highest number of possible points. However, the point system is more proficient.

“It was important that the new system not have a myopic focus on spring state tests,” Hofmeister said. “The new system recognizes that all kids start at different places, and in fact was built on the belief that all students can grow and all schools can improve, no matter where they are today.”

Grace explained the new system also focuses largely on Chronic Absenteeism which is an important factor to the district. This year Jefferson and Shawnee High School had the lowest grade for this category and Grace said the schools are working on improving the issue.

"We know, and research supports, that students who are chronically absent struggle to find success in school," Grace said. "We have already been working with our building leaders on developing strategies to address and reduce the number of students who are chronically absent."

In the future the new system will allow for a better understanding in the growth of a school and though Shawnee received lower grades, Grace said they're improving and things will begin to change for the better.

"Our focus will remain on steady and incremental growth across all areas," Grace said. "We will continue to think about ways we can re-imagine and re-design school to meet the needs of our learners."

To see grades in each category, points earned and for more information on all local schools and their grades, visit oklaschools.com.