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The Morning Bell: Some launch new teaching careers this week

University of Central Oklahoma graduates Alexis Hidalgo and Emily Holmes. (Photo by Ben Felder)
University of Central Oklahoma graduates Alexis Hidalgo and Emily Holmes. (Photo by Ben Felder)

Good Wednesday morning. 

While it's back to school for most students and teachers this week across Oklahoma, there are some recent December college graduates getting ready to begin new careers as teachers in the coming days. 

Despite much attention in recent years on Oklahoma teachers who are leaving the state or the profession, the University of Central Oklahoma's College of Education and Professional studies program graduated 177 future teachers last month, including Alexis Hidalgo, a new special education teacher who said she is entering the profession at the perfect time. 

"This is a really exciting time, I'm ready to get started," said Hidalgo, who will be working at Southridge Junior High in the Moore school system.

You can read more about my visit with some new teachers here, which includes a visit by the national teacher of the year to Oklahoma. 

OKC district may wait weeks to resume renovations

Oklahoma City Public Schools could have to wait three months to resume renovations on a new student services center because the district submitted the wrong paperwork, a city official said Tuesday.

J.J. Chambless, subdivision and zoning manager for the city of Oklahoma City, said the district's application to rezone the site of the former Dewey Elementary School in northeast Oklahoma City contained the wrong mailing list of property owners who live within 300 feet of the project.

"They provided that list and we mailed notice," Chambless said. "But the list was somehow for another school across town. It was nowhere near the school.

"None of the neighbors that should have gotten notice received notice. It made the application invalid."

You can read more in today's Oklahoman

Student wins third cane competition

Jenks eighth-grader Avery Carrington won his third gold medal in a white cane competition for visually impaired students, writes Ginnie Graham of the Tulsa World. This time, it was in the Oklahoma Regional Cane Quest at the School for the Blind. Cane Quest is a national program of the Braille Institute of America.

“I don’t really think about it being a competition,” Carrington said. “I’m not thinking about beating anyone else; I’m just focused on doing the best I can, because even though it’s set up as kind of a game, I know that what I’m really doing is getting better and better at traveling independently. Plus, I really enjoy seeing and hanging out with my old friends from OSB (Oklahoma School for the Blind).”

Trump and education in 2018

As President Donald Trump heads into his second year in office, there are many big questions when it comes to education, and some big issues on the horizon for the GOP-controlled Congress as well, writes Alyson Klein of Education Week. 

What will be the fate of the U.S. Department of Education's budget? Will U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos get to applaud any new school choice initiative? And will Congress prevent hundreds of thousands of "Dreamers" from being deported?

Klein tackles eight big education question for 2018 when it comes to the federal government. 

Benefits of pre-K

The Seattle Times took a closer look at s new study that showed students in Oklahoma, where state law mandates high-quality standards for all preschool providers, show academic gains last well through middle school.

The study, published earlier this month in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, found that eight years after students who went through Tulsa’s universal preschool program continued to perform better in math, were more likely to enroll in advanced courses and were less likely to repeat a grade than their peers who never enrolled in the program.

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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 ›