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Morning Bell: Personalized learning grows, has some setbacks

Good Tuesday morning! Today is part three in a four-part series from The Oklahoman exploring the impact the two-week teacher walkout in April had on Oklahoma’s public education system. Today's focus is on the impact the walkout had on politics, not just because dozens of teachers are running for office, but also because teachers are finding other ways to be involved in the political process. 

“Before (the walkout), I was one of the reasons we were in this mess because I didn't research the candidates and I didn't go up to the Capitol,” said Donna Bussell, a reading specialist at Mustang High School.  

“But now I’ve got our representative’s phone number on my phone.”

Personalized learning grows in Oklahoma, has some setbacks

Education experts embracing the concept of “personalized learning” think they have found the future of education. They see entire schools with large classes of students not tied to the lockstep of grade levels, advancing individually at their own pace, reports Jennifer Palmer of Oklahoma Watch

But some early adopters have stumbled hard, demonstrating pitfalls when schools embrace the emerging trend. At least two Oklahoma districts with issues have since scaled back or put their program on hiatus.

KIPP Tulsa University Prep opens

Tulsa has its first high school located on a college campus as KIPP Tulsa University Prep High School’s inaugural class of freshmen started classes Monday at Oklahoma State University-Tulsa, reports the Tulsa World.

Ahmad Roper's mother was literally in tears when she discovered and enrolled her son in the new expansion of KIPP Tulsa, which was founded in 2005 for grades 5-8.

"She got real emotional because this is something new and big and better that I could come up from," said Roper, who attended Monroe Demonstration School and Sand Springs' Clyde Boyd Middle School previously. "This is just a better option than an average high school."

Tulsa school board member Amy Shelton resigned Monday, leaving a seat on the board open. Tulsa Public Schools will accept applications until Aug. 30.

That does it for today's Morning Bell. Got a question, comment or story idea? Reach me at

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 ›