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The Morning Bell: DACA students rally at Skydance Bridge

DACA supporters gathered at the Skydance Bridge to celebrate the contributions of Dreamers and immigrant youth and to urge Congress to take action before year-end. (provided)
DACA supporters gathered at the Skydance Bridge to celebrate the contributions of Dreamers and immigrant youth and to urge Congress to take action before year-end. (provided)

Good Monday Morning! Students in Oklahoma City begin winter break this week on Thursday. The last day school before the new year for students in Tulsa, Edmond and many other schools across the state is Dec. 20. 

DACA supporters gathered last week on Oklahoma City's Skydance Bridge, which had been lit up in blue, orange and yellow lights to celebrate Dreamers and immigrant youth in Oklahoma. 

Those in attendance rallied as Congress prepares to leave for the holiday recess in less than two weeks. 

DACA recipients, allies, and advocates called on Congress to pass a clean Dream Act and step in before DACA expires in just a few months. 

“It is important that we, the youth, fight to prove that we are (here) for nothing but to do good,” said Suzeth Gallegos, a high school senior and DAOK volunteer. “We’re here to study, work, and be the most productive Americans that we can possibly be. We deserve to be here, and we deserve a chance at the American dream.”

--For nearly 7,500 undocumented immigrants in Oklahoma, many of whom have only known a life in the United States, deportation relief found under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program will come to an end in March unless there is an act of Congress. Read more here

Edmond schools to take entire Thanksgiving week off

Next year about 25,000 Edmond students will not be in class for all of Thanksgiving week. That was the major change made to the 2018-19 school calendar, approved by the Edmond Board of Education this week.

SCHOOL BOARD ELECTIONS: Here's a roundup of school board candidates from across Oklahoma County for some upcoming races. Voters go to the polls Feb. 13. If no candidate in a race receives more than half the votes, the two candidates with the most votes will meet in a runoff April 3.

Chronic absenteeism in Tulsa schools

The state’s second-largest district — with about 39,000 students — wants to lower its chronic absentee rate from just above 25.7 percent to 24 percent. That would still be far higher than the national average — 13.7 percent.

TPS has started what it calls a district-wide shift in managing attendance, setting goals of raising the attendance rate and lowering the number of students who are chronically absent, which means a student misses 10 percent or more of the school year. The initiative is a considerable investment of resources for TPS — creating teams across departments to make attendance a higher priority at every school, reports Samuel Hardiman of the Tulsa World

“We realized that our schools needed an actual structure in place in order to make this body of work pretty prevalent, relevant and in the face of school leaders and parents every day,” said Ebony Johnson, executive director of family and student support services for TPS.

LISTEN: The history and future of native education

In its latest podcast, The Frontier spoke with Greg Anderson, who serves as the Secretary of Education and Training for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, about the future of native education in Oklahoma. 

Anderson said many schools serving native students face challenges with technology. He also said culturally relevant curriculum is a focus for his tribe, along with hiring more native teachers.

"We need more native teachers in the state because we have 130,000 native students in the state of Oklahoma," Anderson said. 

You can listen to the entire podcast here

High schoolers get look at teaching profession

Northwestern Oklahoma State University played host to eight Woodward High School students recently for the high school’s “Teach Oklahoma” course, reported the Woodward News

Teach Oklahoma was designed to mentor high school students about teaching and provide a fundamental knowledge about the teaching profession in Oklahoma. The course is supported through the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

“The Teach Oklahoma program is more critical than ever in light of the teacher shortage not only in Oklahoma but across the nation,” said Christee Jenlink, chair to the Division of Education and associate dean of the School of Education.

Norman North assistant principal wins award

Stephanie Williams, of Norman North High School, has been named the 2018 Oklahoma Assistant Principal of the Year by the Oklahoma Association of Secondary School Principals. OASSP Executive Director William Parker called Williams "a committed education leader who serves students with her actions as well as her heart." Read more at

That's all for today's Morning Bell. Have a great Monday!

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Ben Felder

Ben Felder is an investigative reporter for The Oklahoman. A native of Kansas City, Ben has lived in Oklahoma City since 2010 and covered politics, education and local government for the Oklahoma Gazette before joining The Oklahoman in 2016.... Read more ›