Morning Bell: Let’s talk about education in Oklahoma

Good Thursday morning! Let’s talk education in Oklahoma. No, really, let’s talk. The Oklahoman has launched a new Facebook pagecalled DIG: Education. From The Oklahoman‘s Dig Team, the newspaper’s rapid investigative desk, this Facebook group is dedicated to conversations about education in Oklahoma. Moderated by myself, this is a space for deeper discussions on education issues and stories in The Oklahoman. It’s also a place to draw attention to new ideas and ask questions as we try to dig deeper into Oklahoma’s public school system. You can join the group here.

Immigration rhetoric taking a toll on students 

A leader with Oklahoma City Public Schools says the president’s rhetoric and policies on immigration have had an impact on her students.

“A lot of kids are coming to schools with a large amount of trauma and anxiety because they are worried they aren’t going to see their parents again,” said Rebecca Kaye, chief of staff for Oklahoma City Public Schools, speaking to the fears some students have that their parents may be deported.

Kaye joined U.S. Rep. Steve Russell in a Wednesday forum to discuss immigration and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which offers certain protections and employment access to those illegally brought to the United States as minors.

Greenwood principal to resign

Kojo Asamoa-Caesar, the principal of Greenwood Leadership Academy, a partnership elementary school within the Tulsa Public Schools umbrella, will resign this year, reports the Tulsa World.

“Principal AC (Asamoa-Caesar) will continue to serve as GLA’s principal, welcome students, support teachers and work with our families as we open school on Aug. 22, and until a new principal is selected and hired. We expect that transition will happen in October, around the planned fall break,” said Ashley Phillipsen, executive director of the Met Cares Foundation, which oversees the school.

The school will expand to second grade in the coming year after opening last year with grades pre-kindergarten through first grade.

The state of education?

Some school leaders believe the recent teacher pay raises has given many educators a boost headed into the new school year.

“I would classify the state of education in Oklahoma right now as upbeat, obviously, because of the historic legislative action that is going to ensure the revenue is there for the significant pay raises of both certified employees and support employees,” said Enid Public Schools Superintendent Darrell Floyd, speaking with the Enid News & Eagle.

Pioneer-Pleasant Vale Schools Superintendent Brent Koontz said, “I feel like things are on the upswing educationally for our state. I believe the general public is more aware of the financial challenges we have faced for over a decade.”

School grant: AT&T Oklahoma has awarded a $25,000 request to the Edmond Public Schools Foundation to fund IGNITE Innovation and Technology for Edmond High School Students. Edmond has formed an alliance with surrounding districts and the University of Central Oklahoma to create STEM committees at each school sight made up of members of the school and community. However, to fulfill this goal, teachers said they needed greater access to the tools, materials and supplies that allow them to carry out critical hands-on science activities that are integral to student understanding of complex science principles. (Information from the Edmond PSF)