Warner Public Schools stands out in state assessments

Senior Reporter
12/14/2019 10:00 AM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Choir is among the recent program and course additions at Warner Public Schools. No Warner school has ever received a grade lower than B-minus in the state’s A-F grade system for schools. COURTESY
WARNER – Since the Oklahoma Department of Education unveiled its A-F letter grading of public schools in 2013, systems around the state check annually to see how they are assessed against the standing criteria.

Among the schools that consistently grade well is Warner Public Schools, located in the Cherokee Nation’s jurisdiction. No Warner school has ever received a grade lower than B-minus. The high school was given an A-plus in 2014 and 2015. For the 2018-19 term, each school received an A. Each school seeks high rates of students at advanced and proficient levels, indicating they are ahead of the pace necessary to enter college or a career.

“A lot of hard work by our students and staff, as well as outstanding community support help our schools perform at a high level,” Superintendent David Vinson said. “We have high expectations for student learning and behavior. We also believe that engaged students are better learners, and in achieving that goal we have added many programs for students over the past seven years.”

Program additions include boys and girls wrestling and golf, Cherokee Association of Parents and Teachers teams, art, chorus, online classes, video production and leadership teams in the elementary, middle and high schools.

Vinson said the faculty and administration work believing that all students can learn, and teaching methods incorporate both rigor and compassion.

“Our school is outstanding in terms of our students’ behavior, which allows our teachers the ability to teach engaged students daily without interruptions,” Vinson said. “We have a culture and school environment that supports students and families. That loving support coupled with our high expectations for learning has allowed our students to lead the way in our state academically for the past several years.”

Of the 1,494 school sites that recieved A-F report cards, 54 or 3.6 percent received A grades. Warner was among four traditional public high schools to receive an A, while another six were magnet or charter schools.

Warner was among 44 elementary and middle school sites that received an A, and one of 22 pre-kindergarten to eighth grade schools awarded an A.

“We were one of only two multi-site districts in Oklahoma that received an A at each site,” Vinson said. “Regarding that number, it puts Warner in the top 0.3 percent in the state.”

The Native student population also scores well at Warner. The proficiency rates for Native students at the elementary-middle school are 80 percent for English language arts, 78 percent for math and 100 percent for science, for a composite of 81 percent. Native students statewide test at respective percentages of 46, 43, 43 and 44.

Junior year testing with Native students returned proficiency rates of 53 percent in English language arts, 53 in math, 50 in science and 52 overall.

For the entire junior class, proficiency ratings were 57 percent for English language arts, 56 for math, 50 for science and 55 overall. Respective statewide averages were 33, 24, 24 and 27 percent.

Like many schools in the CN jurisdiction, Warner receives financial assistance from the tribe, which Vinson said greatly aids the district.

“We receive yearly tag money and the JOM (Johnson-O’Malley) grant, which helps to fund many Warner Public School projects each year, and those revenue streams are greatly appreciated,” he said. “Beyond that, the Cherokee Nation has gone above and beyond in their financial support of Warner Public Schools. Dr. Mike Dobbins, our Cherokee Nation councilor has been very helpful in attaining support for our school system through several donations and grants. The Cherokee Nation has financially supported our backpack for students food program, the video production program, STEM Wars – the STEM Competition Event – and our annual Warner Eagle Cherokee Classic basketball tournament, as well as many other areas that provide student opportunities.”

Vinson said he was proud of the efforts of everyone in the Warner system, and that there was no limit to his appreciation.

“Any expression of thankfulness to our students, staff, school board and Cherokee Nation seems to pale in comparison to what they truly deserve for their accomplishments,” he said.
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david-rowley@cherokee.org • 918-453-5560
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