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Morning Bell: Former Norman supt joins OSSBA

Goats at FAME Academy. 
Goats at FAME Academy. 

Good Tuesday morning! 

TODAY: I'm back in south central Oklahoma today at FAME Academy, an alternative high school serving five rural school districts. It's the kind of school with passionate staff and hard-working kids that I enjoy spending time at. I'll have a story in the coming weeks about this school and alternative education in rural Oklahoma. 

I also saw goats, which are kind of the school's unofficial mascot (pictured above).

Former Norman supt joins OSSBA

Former Norman Public Schools superintendent Joe Siano is joining the Oklahoma State School Boards Association as associate executive director.

Siano served as superintendent of Norman Public Schools from 2000 to 2017. He also previously served as an assistant superintendent in Oklahoma City Public Schools and Putnam City Public Schools.

“Dr. Siano is a proven leader who will be a tremendous resource for school board members and school districts across the state,” said OSSBA Executive Director Shawn Hime in a Monday news release. “His extensive knowledge and experience will allow OSSBA to even better serve our members as they seek to provide a high-quality education for every student.”

Off for Election Day

The Miami School Board approved to modify the 2018-2019 school calendar during its August meeting, moving an off day to Nov. 6 (the day of the midterm elections) with the makeup day to be on Wednesday, Dec. 19. Miami joins several other Oklahoma schools that have planned off days for Election Day. 

School incidents: No charges will be forthcoming in an alleged hazing incident that was reported to Coweta school officials last week, reports the Tulsa World. The incident involved four student athletes in the Coweta Tiger football program.

A 16-year-old Owasso High School student was detained Monday morning after he was found in possession of a loaded handgun, reports the Tulsa World. The student cooperated with the school resource officer and admitted to possessing the weapon, which the officer discovered to be a loaded .22-caliber mini-revolver.

INBOX: Foundation for OKCPS launches "Our Best Investment" campaign. All cities invest in police, streets and parks to improve the quality of life. A new campaign from The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public schools reminds residents education is Our Best Investment. The launch of the yearlong campaign features community leaders sharing why they strongly support Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS) and urging others to get involved.

“It doesn’t matter if you have children in OKCPS or not,” said Mary Mélon, president and CEO of The Foundation for OKCPS. “If you’re part of this community, the district is filled with your kids, and we’ve got to accept responsibility for that.”

You can learn more about the campaign here

Obesity and schools

Oklahoma jumped to the third-heaviest state in 2017, from the already unenviable position of eighth, according to the Trust for America's Health's new report on obesity. Where do schools come in? Well, Oklahoma hasn't adopted some of the report's recommendations for addressing obesity, such as setting nutrition standards for early-childhood education programs, requiring recess in elementary school and physical education in middle and high school, and adopting policies to encourage sidewalks and bike lanes.

Schools can also help by creating environments where junk food isn't so conveniently available and it's easier to find a place to exercise, said John Woods, executive director of the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust.

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ICYMI: Oklahoma schools began a new school year over the last month, the first new school year since the state’s public education system was rocked by a two-week teacher walkout. While the historic demonstration promises to impact a generation of students, it also put a spotlight on challenges that remain in schools across the state. I recently published a four-part series exploring the impact the walkout had on Oklahoma’s public education system and where schools go from here. If you missed it, check it out in the link above. 

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

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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 ›