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The Morning Bell: ACT still widely used in Oklahoma

Good Monday morning!

ACT has announced plans to launch ACT Academy, a free online learning tool and test practice program designed to help students master the skills they need to improve their ACT scores and succeed in college and career. The program will be launched in the spring.

The new academy will be an option that could be put to good use in Oklahoma as nearly all Oklahoma high schools offer the ACT to 11th grade students as the state now requires schools to offer a single college- or career-readiness exam. 

However, 10 school districts — including Oklahoma City and Tulsa, the state's two largest — have elected to offer the SAT instead.

Officials with Oklahoma City Public Schools said the SAT exam had a lower administrative burden, provided richer data tools and was a test the district was already preparing students to take before the state requirement.

Other districts going with the SAT expressed similar reasons for picking that test, with some noting that the nonprofit College Board administers the test and already works with several districts on the advanced placement program.

Most schools are using the ACT for a variety of reasons, one likely being that the majority of Oklahomans are more familiar with the ACT.

The Oklahoma Legislature begins a new session in one week, and there are dozens of education-related bills already filed. Jennifer Palmer of Oklahoma Watch has a good roundup of some of the bills, which target teacher pay, school choice and a variety of other school topics. 

Bixby Public Schools is looking for community input in its search for a new superintendent. An online survey will be available Jan. 29 through Feb. 9 for parents, school employees and other community members to share what qualities they believe are important in the next superintendent. 

“Selecting a superintendent is an important decision for the children, educators, and families we serve and the community as a whole,” said board president Ron Schnare. “We are blessed with a community that embraces the school district and is highly engaged in the education of our children. I’m hopeful everyone interested in the school district’s continued success will share their thoughts through the survey.”

Former Bixby Superintendent Kyle Wood resigned in December, nearly three months after a student says he was raped with a pool cue for the second time at a high school football team event at Wood’s house. Lydia Wilson, principal of Bixby Central Elementary, was named interim superintendent.

Sponsoring organizations for the 2018 Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) are now being sought by the state Department of Education. Eligible sponsors include public or governmental agencies, private, nonprofit residential summer camps and private, non-profit organizations.

This program provides nutritious meals for children from needy areas who participate in summer educational or recreational programs and for eligible children enrolled in summer camps. 

Last summer, Oklahoma’s participation in the Summer Food Service Program increased 14 percent over the previous year, resulting in 1.6 million free meals for children age 18 and under between May and August. Almost 200,000 additional meals were provided during summer 2017, in part due to a public awareness campaign, #FoodforThought, created by OSDE.

Tulsa Public schools spent the weekend disinfecting Zarrow International School, reports the Tulsa World

“Due to the high number of students absent due to both flu and strep and in an effort to keep everyone healthy, the district will be sending in a crew this weekend to disinfect throughout the entire building. This is done using a bio-spray technique,” Principal Denise Marquez said in a note to parents.

Oklahoma is in the midst of a severe illness season. Seventy-four people had died of the flu in the state as of Thursday.

Oklahoma history scholarships: Oklahoma high school students have an opportunity to earn cash scholarships and tuition grants for college based on their knowledge of Oklahoma history and geography. The Oklahoma Scholarship Competition will make at least eight scholarships available in each county.

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 ›