Morning Bell: Downtown charter schools continues to expand
Good Wednesday morning. At a time when Oklahoma City Public Schools has faced significant budget cuts, dwindling classroom resources and discussed closing schools due to declining enrollment, John Rex charter school in downtown Oklahoma City can seem like an outlier in the state's largest school district.
John Rex expanded into sixth-grade this year, which is a product of growing enrollment demands and an indication school leaders plan to continue expanding into high school, which would create the need for additional facilities.
“I don't think we have any other available space for a high school, so we will need to be in the next bond election,” said Bob Ross, president of the Inasmuch Foundation and vice chair of the John Rex board.
You can read my story from this week on John Rex here, which includes a look at how some leaders believe it is a model that can be replicated across OKCPS.
OKCPS changes calendar
A calendar change approved this week night will mean a later start date and a longer summer for students enrolled in Oklahoma City Public Schools.
The school board voted 6-1 to replace the district's 8-year-old continuous calendar with a modified version that features a mid-August start date and a week off for Thanksgiving. Gone are two-week breaks in October and March beginning with the 2019-20 school year.
Teacher strikes predicted in other states
After thousands of teachers in a half-dozen states walked out of their classrooms to protest issues like low pay and cuts to school funding—to varying degrees of success—some onlookers are predicting this school year will see continued activism, reports Education Week.
Already, teachers in more than a dozen districts in Washington state have gone on strike over contract negotiations. Teachers in Los Angeles, the second-largest district in the nation, have overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike, which could take place next month. And teachers in North Carolina, who protested in droves at the state capital in May, forcing schools across the state to close, are weighing future collective actions this year.
Here's a four-part series I recently published taking a look at Oklahoma education in the post walkout world.
Duncan to be inducted in OAAE Hall of Fame
Longtime Eastern Oklahoma State College professor Marilynn Duncan will be inducted into the Oklahoma African American Educators Hall of Fame on Sept. 25, reports the McAlester News-Capital. Duncan retired from Eastern in 2017 after teaching psychology and sociology full time for 42 years. Following her retirement, she returned to her hometown of Muskogee and continues to teach online courses on a part-time basis.
Math, science teachers named finalists
State schools Superintendent Joy Hofmeister announced Monday five state finalists for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching at the elementary level. Established in 1983, this is the highest recognition of K-12 math and science teachers in the United States. Awards alternate each year between elementary and secondary teachers.
This year's finalists are Gena Barnhill, Yukon Public Schools; Jayci Harris, Byng Public Schools; and Carrie Akins, Krystin Lovejoy and Mendy Shepard, all of Edmond Public Schools.
Have a great Wednesday!