Foun­da­tion can re­flect on 2017 with a sense of ac­com­plish­ment

The Oklahoman (Sunday) - - NEWS -

Re­cap­ping the past year pro­vides a way to cel­e­brate suc­cesses and to re­view mean­ing­ful data and de­fine di­rec­tion for the fu­ture. Fo­cus, align­ment and im­pact were words that con­tin­ued to guide The Foun­da­tion for OKCPS’s work in 2017. This past year was another in­cred­i­bly chal­leng­ing one for pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion. Bud­get cuts con­tin­ued and teach­ers left our state in record num­bers. De­spite that, the Foun­da­tion’s work, thanks to gen­er­ous com­mu­nity sup­port along with a strate­gic, fo­cused ef­fort, has pro­vided sig­nif­i­cant im­pact for Ok­la­homa City Pub­lic Schools in a va­ri­ety of ways.

Our key fo­cus ar­eas, aligned with OKCPS’s great­est needs, are out­lined be­low:

Pro­vid­ing in­no­va­tive sup­port to teach­ers

Our part­ner­ship with con­tin­ues to em­power teach­ers to ask for and re­ceive what they need in their class­rooms. From ba­sic sup­plies, books, ath­letic equip­ment, arts sup­plies to field trips, 848 projects were as­sisted by the Foun­da­tion and 1,771 ad­di­tional projects were funded com­pletely by cit­i­zen donors. We re­main the largest ed­u­ca­tion foun­da­tion part­ner that has in the coun­try.

In­creas­ing com­mu­nity en­gage­ment and aware­ness

Part­ners in Ac­tion is our ini­tia­tive con­nect­ing com­mu­nity part­ners with schools and their needs, posted by prin­ci­pals. Part­ner­ships con­tin­ued to flour­ish. To­tal fi­nan­cial im­pact so far is nearly $6 mil­lion, with more than 600 part­ner matches be­ing com­pleted.

Sup­port­ing English lan­guage pro­grams

As the district’s His­panic pop­u­la­tion con­tin­ues to grow, English lan­guage learner, or ELL pro­grams are in­creas­ingly im­por­tant. The Bilin­gual Teacher Pipe­line Project is fund­ing col­lege for 34 bilin­gual para­pro­fes­sion­als work­ing in the district to be­come cer­ti­fied teach­ers. Our first group be­gins stu­dent teach­ing next fall. We launch our Span­ish for English speak­ing OKCPS staff next week and have pro­vided multi-lan­guage tech­nol­ogy to the district as a way to as­sist and en­gage fam­i­lies.

Teacher and leader pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment

The Foun­da­tion has sup­ported the Ur­ban Teacher Prepa­ra­tion Academy, a pro­gram de­vel­oped and led by the Univer­sity of Cen­tral Ok­la­homa to sup­port newly cer­ti­fied teach­ers in OKCPS by pro­vid­ing men­tor­ship and pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment. The av­er­age re­ten­tion rates for th­ese teach­ers over a fiveyear pe­riod is an im­pres­sive 86 per­cent, com­pared to 23 per­cent for new teach­ers not uti­liz­ing this train­ing.


Ed­u­cat­ing the com­mu­nity about chal­lenges and suc­cesses in pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion, and es­pe­cially OKCPS, is an im­por­tant role and one the Foun­da­tion has taken on as a key fo­cus. High­light­ing ways OKCPS is a great in­vest­ment that pro­vides a rich ed­u­ca­tional ex­pe­ri­ence for stu­dents are sto­ries we don’t hear of­ten enough. Ef­forts in this area will be ev­i­dent in 2018.

The Foun­da­tion can re­flect on 2017 with a sense of ac­com­plish­ment in the ar­eas of fo­cus, align­ment and im­pact. There is still much to be done and we look for­ward to con­tin­u­ing our im­por­tant work with en­thu­si­asm and hope. We see our work with a clear VI­SION of as­sist­ing OKCPS in be­ing a world-class school district. We will pro­vide VALUE in all we do for our schools and for our com­mu­nity part­ners who in­vest with us. And, we do this with one VOICE, speak­ing up for ev­ery stu­dent in Ok­la­homa City Pub­lic Schools. Th­ese are our schools. Th­ese are our kids. This is our city.

Mary Mélon Ok­la­homa City Pub­lic Schools Foun­da­tion


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