The Morning Bell: Bond elections mostly successful, 'dysfunction' in OKCPS?
Good Wednesday morning. School leaders in nine Oklahoma communities are waking up to election results from bond votes held on Tuesday. Most bond elections passed with wide support, while at least one was defeated.
Lawton voters overwhelmingly approved a nearly $100 million bond. "I wish to thank the Lawton-Fort Sill community for your support of this very important Student Investment Program" said LPS Superintendent Tom Deighan in a written statement Tuesday evening.
Ardmore voters rejected a bond to build a new performing arts center (33 votes shy!), while they approved a smaller bond to replace buses. "At the end of the day, this was a community vote - a community decision - and they have made their decision so we have to accept that," Superintendent Kim Holland said.
School bond measures in Tuttle, Bridge Creek (Grady County), Battiest, Idabel and Ripley also passed.
More elections ... Tuesday also included three state legislative election in which Republicans ended a recent string of special election success for Democrats with a win in an Oklahoma City Senate seat. However, Dems did win a Tulsa area race.
--PRAISE FOR STATE'S SCHOOL PLAN: Oklahoma's new federal-compliant public school plan received high marks from the Fordham Institute, which reviewed every state plan submitted under the Every Student Succeeds Act.
Oklahoma was one of seven states to receive a perfect score from the Washington-based conservative think tank.
Fordham's analysis stated Oklahoma's new school plan uses "ratings that clearly and intuitively convey to all observers and constituencies how well a given school is performing. They signal that all students matter by ensuring that at least 50 percent of schools' annual ratings are composed of measures of growth for all students and/or measures of achievement that look beyond proficiency rates. And they're fair to all schools—including those with high rates of poverty—by virtue of making growth measures of any kind constitute at least half of schools' summative ratings."
You can read more about Fordham's rating here.
Speaking of the state's new school plan...
Along with increasing test scores and graduation rates, fighting childhood hunger is included in Oklahoma's new education plan, which has been submitted for federal approval.
With nearly 23 percent of children facing food insecurity, Oklahoma has some of the highest childhood hunger rates in the nation, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.
--UNION LEADER WARNS OF DYSFUNCTION: The leader of the union that bargains with Oklahoma City Public Schools on behalf of 2,400 teachers has repeatedly called for the district to transform its "dysfunctional" culture by looking outside of itself.
Oklahoma City American Federation of Teachers President Ed Allen reiterated his point at Monday night's school board meeting, telling members “we don't have a product people want to buy," reports Tim Willert of The Oklahoman.
On Wednesday, a mix of teachers, principals, school board members and district administrators, including Superintendent Aurora Lora, will meet with representatives from Kotter International, a management consulting firm based in Seattle and Boston.
--State education leaders hope to encourage more public schools to focus more on creating more high-quality career pathways, especially as Oklahoma experiences a shortage of skilled labor and a large number of high school students enter college needing to take remediation courses.
The Department of Education also wants to increase individualized academic plans for students and have more students enroll in concurrent and dual enrollment courses that offer college credit and career certification before high school graduation. You can read more about this effort here.
--STUDENT DEATH: A fourth-grade student at Will Rogers Elementary School in Vinita died Monday after being hospitalized when she lost consciousness during a physical education class, reports the Tulsa World.
--THUNDER MATCH: In celebration of the team's 10th season, the Oklahoma City Thunder will match donations for all health and sports projects posted by Oklahoma teachers on DonorsChoose.org, a nonprofit website that enables individuals to donate directly to public-school classroom projects.
That's it for today's Morning Bell. I'll be in Canadian County this morning looking into a truancy program that has shown success. Tonight I'm in Del-City looking into a mentorship program for 20 students.
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Have a great Wednesday!