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Morning Bell: Student trauma summit today

Good Tuesday morning!

TODAY: The state Department of Education is hosting the It Starts Here: Trauma-Informed Instruction conference at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City. In partnership with state agencies, tribal nations and nonprofits that serve children and families, the event will target educators who on a daily basis encounter trauma in individual children. You can learn more about the summit here.  

Oklahoma children are more likely to experience toxic, adverse conditions at home than children in other states. 

Enid teacher nominated for national award

Longfellow Middle School (Enid) special education English teacher and team leader Misty Beckner was recently nominated for the 2018-2019 national LifeChanger of the Year award, reports the Enid News & Eagle

Beckner was recognized for her leadership and dedication in the community, according to a press release. In her role as department head, Beckner creates a positive tone and nurturing atmosphere, helps both new students and staff feel welcome, and she also helped to promote the Special Olympics for students. In addition, she teamed events for special education teachers and developed activities for the school staff.  

National tone on teachers changes

For years, teachers continually heard the message that they were the root of problems in schools. But in a matter of months, the public narrative has shifted: The nation is increasingly concerned about teachers' low salaries and challenging working conditions, reports Education Week

Before, "there seemed to be a lot of teacher blaming going on," said David Labaree, a professor emeritus at the Stanford Graduate School of Education. "You now see a surprising degree of growing sympathy for teachers."

OJA partners with White Fields

The Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs will partner with a Piedmont facility to offer a “home-like setting” for male youth in the juvenile justice system, another effort by the state agency to shift from a focus on detention to treatment.

The OJA on Sunday announced a contract with White Fields group home to provide treatment, mentoring, education and counseling for up to 12 young males.

“As OJA experiences a significant change in the kids that are coming into our system, both in the level of trauma they have experienced and also the number that are being referred to us, we are looking for ways to provide more treatment and support,” said Steve Buck, OJA's executive director.

Nominations sought for scholarships, awards

The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, a nonprofit that recognizes and encourages academic excellence in Oklahoma's public schools, is seeking nominations for its 2019 Academic All-State Scholarships and Medal for Excellence Awards.

Scholarships and educator awards totaling $125,000 will be presented at the foundation's 33rd annual Academic Awards Banquet on May 18 at the Renaissance Tulsa Convention Center. You can learn more here

Former reporter takes over literacy organization

Laura Akers, a former Ardmoreite and Oklahoma Gazette reporter, has been named Ardmore Literacy Leadership’s executive director, a position the nonprofit created this summer. Akers has a master’s degree from Oklahoma City University in nonprofit leadership, reports the Ardmorite

The ALL was created in 2013 and has been overseen by a board for the last four years. ALL is a nonprofit, but has not yet filed for 501c3 status. Akers said for now, her main priority is the unglamorous task of building the organization from a legal standpoint, filling out paperwork and documenting the organization’s efforts. 

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

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 ›