Past year his­toric for Ok­la­homa ed­u­ca­tion

The Oklahoman (Sunday) - - NEWS - Mary Mélon Ok­la­homa City Pub­lic Schools Foun­da­tion

Re­flec­tion is the per­fect ex­er­cise as a year ends and an­other be­gins. Paus­ing to cel­e­brate suc­cesses while keep­ing a crit­i­cal eye on con­tin­u­ing chal­lenges and re­view­ing mean­ing­ful data helps de­fine di­rec­tion for the fu­ture.

This past year was his­toric for pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion. A teacher walk­out brought Ok­la­homa’s pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem to the na­tional stage. De­spite the teacher pay in­crease that re­sulted, we still face a huge short­age of trained teach­ers and our class­rooms re­main un­der­funded.

On a lo­cal level, Ok­la­homa City Pub­lic Schools ush­ered in a new su­per­in­ten­dent and be­gan a com­pre­hen­sive fa­cil­i­ties re­view with in­put from the com­mu­nity and ed­u­ca­tors in the dis­trict. The trans­par­ent process will cul­mi­nate in rec­om­men­da­tions for do­ing school dif­fer­ently, which ul­ti­mately ben­e­fits our stu­dents. Defin­ing what makes a school great for kids isn’t as sim­ple as it may sound and takes com­pro­mise/con­sen­sus on what is most im­por­tant and how it can be mea­sured.

The Foun­da­tion for Ok­la­homa City Pub­lic Schools’ work, thanks to gen­er­ous com­mu­nity sup­port and con­tin­ued strate­gic, fo­cused ef­fort, has pro­vided sig­nif­i­cant im­pact for Ok­la­homa City Pub­lic Schools in a va­ri­ety of ways.

Our key fo­cus ar­eas al­low us to con­nect our com­mu­nity with our schools by sup­port­ing teach­ers, lead­ers, stu­dents and class­rooms. We build and grow part­ner­ships and sup­port pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment through DonorsChoose.org, Part­ners in Ac­tion, English Lan­guage Learn­ing pro­grams and the Ur­ban Teacher Prepa­ra­tion Academy. We also ad­vo­cate for a chang­ing nar­ra­tive about OKCPS through lo­cal and statewide com­mu­ni­ca­tion ef­forts. All of our ef­forts have de­fined and mea­sur­able goals with out­comes that are tracked on an on­go­ing ba­sis.

The Foun­da­tion’s ef­forts pro­vide sup­port for im­me­di­ate needs for class­rooms and schools, while at the same time ad­dress­ing long term needs through our work on teacher and leader de­vel­op­ment and ad­vo­cat­ing for com­pre­hen­sive re­form and trans­for­ma­tion.

It is a mul­ti­fac­eted, yet strate­gic ap­proach and re­mains aligned with OKCPS and their pri­mary goals. All of us work­ing to­gether will pro­vide our kids with what they de­serve.

The work isn’t easy, but fail­ure is not an op­tion.

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