Sapulpa school receives academic excellence award from Governor Fallin

Governor Mary Fallin presents an academic achievement award to Holmes Park Elementary School, in this picture taken February 12, 2016./KTUL

SAPULPA, Okla. - Holmes Park Elementary got a special visit from Governor Mary Fallin, Friday. The Sapulpa school received the 2016 Spotlight on Education Achievement award for improving its A-F School Report Card. In one year, Holmes Park has gone from a D+ to a B.

Fallin has been in favor of the grading system since its start. She said Holmes Park is a prime example.

"Our grading system of our schools to achieve academic excellence is working."

Principal Bobby Alfred said their success began with what they call "Bench Mark Assessments."

"Continue to teach students skills for two weeks and then at the end of two weeks we see how they did. We want to know, 'did we miss any students? Are they learning what we want them to learn?' If not, then we go back and re-teach," said Alfred.

The principal added fourth-grade teachers also switch classes to give students a new perspective on subjects.

Fallin said she even likes the fact that parents got involved in the process.

"They send home weekly cards showing if their child missed any particular classes or that particular day, so the parents get a big picture of how their students are attending school," said the Oklahoma governor.

She added a lot of what has been done at Holmes Park can be used in other schools across the state.

"This is more important than ever, especially with the pinch that we're having in our state budget because it is going to be a difficult year for our schools, certainly it's a difficult year for all Oklahoma families," said Fallin. She continued, "We can do this, and that we can make improvements, we can learn from each other, we can share best practices that it is possible."

Alfred said he is proud of everyone's hard work, but it's only the beginning of their success.

"We always encourage the students and we let them know when they're doing a great job and when they haven't tried as we think they should let them know that too," said the Holmes Park principal.

Governor Fallin said she plans to visit more schools across the state presenting these academic achievement awards. She hopes to learn more about the successful strategies that can be implemented in other schools.

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