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Morning Bell: Millwood supt: 'I have so much to do'

Cecilia Robinson Woods, Millwood Public Schools Superintendent. Outlook. Wednesday, February 28, 2018. Photo by Doug Hoke, The Oklahoman
Cecilia Robinson Woods, Millwood Public Schools Superintendent. Outlook. Wednesday, February 28, 2018. Photo by Doug Hoke, The Oklahoman

Good Tuesday morning! After taking a week off, I'm back (and so is the Morning Bell). Let's get at it.

Cecilia Robinson-Woods has been superintendent of Millwood Public Schools in Oklahoma City for five years, and she doesn't see herself leaving anytime soon. 

"I don't know how I'm going to leave, I have so much to do," she told The Oklahoman's Tim Willert. "I think it's just a really good fit. I think it's just a good professional fit. I mean, I'm a part of the community. I live three minutes up the road. I fit in here."

In a recent interview, Robinson-Woods discussed her upbringing in Oklahoma City, her experiencing with busing as an elementary student and her work to increase parent participation at Millwood. 

This school year, Millwood converted its pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade school to a charter, which the Legislature allowed public schools to do with a law change a couple years ago.

Robinson-Woods said up to 20 percent of her staff is emergency certified and the district would have lost many of them without making the switch. I wrote about the charter conversation in November, which you can read here

Gov signs budget bill

Gov. Mary Fallin has signed a $7.6 billion spending bill, which includes a nearly 20 percent boost in education spending, to $2.9 billion. Most of the new money will pay for higher teacher salaries that lawmakers approved in special session. 

However, many superintendents and chief financial officers say not much has changed when it comes to financial picture for schools, reports the Tulsa World

"Now we can say that we’ve received some funding, but not enough to make an impact, to be able to really support the programs we have,” said Nolberto Delgadillo, chief financial officer for Tulsa Public Schools. “Even though enrollment is declining, we’re still not funded to the level we’d like to see to be able to maintain programs.”

Support staff struggle with low pay

School support workers in Oklahoma City, and much of the state, "earn so little that many qualify for public benefits: food stamps to feed their families, Pell Grants to attend college and Medicaid for their children’s care," wrote Moriah Balingit of the Washington Post. "They struggle to survive on $20,000 a year — or less — even as they assume duties usually assigned to better-paid colleagues."

Superintendent, staffers suspended for grade-tampering

The superintendent and three other staff members at Langston Hughes Academy for Arts and Technology were suspended last week following allegations of grade-tampering, the president of the school's board of education said Thursday.

"We (the board) were notified this week of allegations that our Superintendent/ Principal, Assistant Principal, Principal's secretary and special education coordinator changed or directed teacher to change students' grades," said a letter to parents provided to the Tulsa World by Langston board president Carmen Pettie.

Pettie said Rodney Clark, the superintendent and principal, Sheila Clark, the special education coordinator and Clark's wife, Mario Choice, the assistant principal, and CiJi Jones, the principal's secretary, were placed on administrative leave with pay.

School leaders recognized by SALLT

Chris Brewster, district superintendent of Santa Fe South Charter School; Nathan Carr, headmaster of The Academy of Christian Classical Studies; and Scott Martin, founder of Odyssey Leadership Academy are the recipients of SALLT’s third annual 2018 Clapham Award. This award was given at SALLT’s 10 Year Celebration on April 26 in recognition of making a positive difference for the common good in Oklahoma City. 

OU offers free computer science courses

The University of Oklahoma School of Computer Science is offering computer science curriculum at no cost to all Oklahoma high school students. The online courses are offered via the connected learning platform NextThought to provide training in Java and SNAP, two high-demand coding languages.

The curriculum is available through participating high schools. Educators interested in learning more about the program and who want to apply can go to Applications are due Friday.

This week: Student artists from Putnam City schools will display their artwork from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday at the 37th annual Putnam City Festival of the Arts.

That does it for today's Morning Bell. Got a question, comment or story idea? Send an email to Have a great day!

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 ›