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Morning Bell: The 30 million word myth?

Good Thursday morning!

Have you ever heard it said that children who grow up in poverty hear 30 million fewer words by age three? It's a pretty commonly cited fact in education circles but it may not be true.

In a report by NPR, it was found that this 30 million figure has been cited more than 8,000 times and has had big policy implications, including federal investments in Head Start and Early Head Start.

NPR's Anya Kamenetz reports that it’s a study that some people argue contained a built-in racial bias, and others say is just plain wrong.

Edmond approves building projects

The state's third-largest school district has just approved an estimated $20 million in building projects and is already making plans for another $22.5 million in construction.

The Edmond School Board on Monday authorized four major projects. The most prominent is a $13.7 million upgrade to the Edmond Memorial High School football stadium.

The upcoming stadium expansion will allow Edmond Memorial to host varsity football games for the first time in Bulldog history. The stadium seating will be expanded and there will be an enlarged press box, as well as more concessions areas. Similar projects were completed at Edmond Santa Fe High School two years ago. Edmond North High School's upgraded stadium will open this fall.

Del City school looks into community school concept

Earlier this week, teachers, parents and business partners gathered at Del City's Epperly Heights Elementary School to learn about the community school concept and whether it would work at their school, reports News 9

In addition to educating students, community schools also provide healthcare, English language learning and other services for adults, as well as family-bonding activities. Instead of taxpayers footing the bill, however, the service providers partner with the schools themselves.

Right now, Edgemere Elementary is the Oklahoma City area's only community school.

Epperly Heights is already home to a food pantry and coat closet for students in need. Del City councilwoman and small business owner Pamela Finch agrees it takes a village to raise a child.

She said, “We need to support our kids and our schools. That’s our basis, our foundation for our communities, let alone our future.”

Summer camp teaching technical trades

Camp Hope Kids Ranch in Savanna is a free kids program designed to teach children technical trades and provide them free breakfast and lunches Monday-Thursday from McAlester Public Schools, reports the McAlester News-Capital. The Camp Hope Kids Ranch is inside the old Salvation Army building at 400 North A Street in McAlester.

Ronnie Smith, who helped open the camp, said from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 9, the kids will learn blacksmithing and lunch will be provided.

“We will take raw metal and turn it into different items,” Smith said. “We will make steak turners, crosses, S hooks, drive hooks, or just anything you can imagine you can build.”

That does it for today's Morning Bell. Have a great Thursday. 

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 ›