All 52 of the children attending Daposka Ahnkodapi, the Osage Nation’s Elementary School, were promoted to the next grade at a fun-filled ceremony featuring a handgame and Indian tacos on July 14.
Since the top grade for the school was the 5th grade, it will now add the 6th grade for the upcoming academic year. Ultimately, it will go through the 8th grade as its first class grows up.
School Superintendent Patrick Martin said that he is hoping to have a middle school separate from the elementary. The WahZhaZhe Early Learning Academy is moving into a new building and Daposka is hoping to inherit their old building and convert it into a middle school, he said.
For the first time, the Daposka students underwent standardized testing this past year, thanks to a partnership with the Osage County Interlocal Cooperative in Hominy. The test, called Aimsweb, is an online assessment, data management, and reporting system that provides national and local performance and growth norms for the screening and progress monitoring of math and reading skills for all students in Kindergarten through 8th grade. Test results showed that on average the children in Daposka were well above average in reading but slightly below average in math.
“The kids are not used to taking standardized tests, but the outcomes were very good with reading scores,” Martin said. “With Covid, they said everybody’s test scores were low.
“But their reading was great. We just have to keep working at math.”
According to a Brookings Institute study released in January on the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and secondary education, academic normalcy has not yet returned to 2019 levels. In fact, across the country, math and reading scores for students in grades 3-8 had a “sizeable drop” in scores.
Martin said that the ceremony was quite joyous because it was the first community event Daposka has held since the pandemic cast a dark cloud in early 2020. Earlier that day students enjoyed a day at the Sun and Fun water park in Ponca City, along with a pizza party.
“Everybody had a great time, everybody was excited and enthusiastic,” he said.
With additional reporting by Editor Shannon Shaw Duty