I reported for a story in today’s Oklahoman about single-grade centers and smaller teams within schools.
My middle school in Texas operated with a team system that was similar to what Charlie Bushyhead described as the setup at Union.
The sixth-graders at my middle school were on the “Energizer Team,” and the eighth-graders were on the “Power Team.” The seventh-graders were split between the two. Each team had its own set of core teachers, and we intermixed for electives and lunch.
What do you think of the teaming concept, or of breaking students in specific grades out into their own buildings? (Any incentive from a parent’s perspective to keep their freshmen daughters away from senior boys, perhaps?) Share your thoughts here.
I talked to national school security experts yesterday for this story in today’s Oklahoman about the lockdown at Oklahoma City’s U.S. Grant High School.
Now that you know their views, share your own here. How do you feel about the ongoing lockdown?
(Comments are also still coming in about whether school shootings worry you. Scroll down or click here to add your thoughts on that subject.)
That’s why the Education Writers Association is planning a glossary of terms for journalists.
Some of the terms EWA may define for reporters like me are: scaffolding, data-driven decision making, intervention, mainstreaming, critical thinking, rubric and formative assessment.
I used to have a rubric’s cube …. but not sure what those other words mean. (Yes, I know it’s a Rubik’s Cube!)
Of course, journalists have their own brand of jargon that educators may not understand. A “lede” is the beginning of a news story. A “mug” is generally a head-shot and not a police line-up.
What edu-speak do you use or not understand? Let me know and we’ll figure it out.
Susan Simpson, Education Writer
U.S. Grant High School student Hodauri Latifu McCoy was arrested Monday on a felony complaint of carrying a firearm in a school. An officer removed ammunition from the pistol, according to a police report.
No one was hurt, but all of the Oklahoma City School District is now on high alert.
And this morning, almost 5,000 miles away in Finland, a 22-year-old gunman killed 10 students in a classroom at a trade school before taking his own life.
Do school shootings worry you? What would ease your fears?
Houston administrators plan to reopen about 120 of the district’s 300 schools tomorrow, and will roll out the rest as electricity is restored and damage repaired from Hurricane Ike, according to this Houston Chronicle story.
The list of open schools will be updated on the district’s Web site, and officials are thinking about how to make up the lost time.
This is similar to how Oklahoma City Public Schools recovered from the devastating ice storm last December – cancelling classes for a week, then opening all the buildings that were safe for children as they were ready.
Meanwhile, many commenters on the Chronicle story sounded off about what’s expected of teachers, and if it’s realistic or fair to expect them to all be back in the classroom at a moment’s notice while they’re still coping with the personal impact of the storm.
What advice would you share from your ice storm experience with parents and teachers in southern Texas as they roll out their school reopenings? Post it here.
My family, when my brother and I still lived at home, used to eat dinner together most nights. This is a scenario that’s becoming more common, according to state Superintendent Sandy Garrett’s last weekly column.
Monday is “Family Day – A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children,” a movement by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse and supported by Gov. Brad Henry by way of a proclamation, she wrote.
I blogged yesterday about the role public comments play at school board meetings. Today I’m following up with an answer for Kandis, who commented on the entry to ask for a defined purpose of a school board.
To answer her question, I called Jeff Mills, the new executive director of the Oklahoma State School Boards Association.
I’ll start with his response about what a school board is: a local governing body of a school district whose members are either elected or appointed to represent the public. Now on to what they do.
“One of their main functions is to hire a superintendent or a CEO to run that organization. … Their other major responsibility is setting policy,” Mills told me.
He went on to explain: “If I’m a superintendent, I can set a directive or I can set an interoffice activity, but the board is responsible to set legal and legislative type policy to manage the district. … A school board wouldn’t necessarily be involved in the day-to-day operations — that’s what the superintendent or CEO is for.”
Now if you’re wondering just what types of policies he’s referring to, don’t worry, he elaborated. Such policy responsibilities can include everything from school safety to budgeting and expenditures, he said.
Oklahoma City School Board meeting, Sept. 2, 2008 / By Wendy K. Kleinman, The Oklahoman
Mills also talked about the public comments issue that started this conversation.
“There are public participation policies out there, and some of those may limit (comments) to three minutes or so — each one will vary — and they may limit the number of people who may speak on one topic,” Mills said, “for the simple reason that if you have no order you could be there all night.”
UPDATE: To answer a question this entry prompted, school board members’ phone numbers and addresses, at least for Oklahoma City Public Schools, are available to the public. They are listed on this site.
Keep the comments and questions coming!
Back at the Oklahoma City School Board’s Sept. 2 meeting, Chairman Kirk Humphreys said he doesn’t think patrons should be able to raise personnel issues during public comments, upsetting the few parents in attendance.
Although his comments were made a few weeks ago, I’m bringing them up now because of a column in the most recent issue of The School Administrator magazine, which I just received.
The column is by Nicholas Caruso with the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education. You can read the whole piece here, but one line in particular intrigued me. He wrote:
The board meeting is a meeting held in public,
not a public meeting.
It seems to me that view aligns with Humphreys’ comments, while the parents I spoke with afterward said they feel as though the meetings belong to them.
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
There was a parade of top teachers as district Teachers of the Year crossed a stage at the Oklahoma State Fair on Tuesday for recognition. Then later, there was a parade of prizes after Heather Sparks was named as the 2009 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year.
The announcer joked over the loudspeaker that he felt a bit like Bob Barker just before introducing the priciest of them all: a new car!
Sparks’ entire prize package is valued at $50,000. The Oklahoma City School District, where she teaches, received an additional $5,000 cash award.
Here are the awards Sparks received:
$100 savings bond, Education Retirement Services
$250 cash award, AFT-Oklahoma
$1,000 gift card, American Fidelity Assurance Company
$1,000 cash award, Stillwater National Bank of Oklahoma City
$2,000 cash award, Data Recognition Corporation
$5,000 cash award, Masonic Fraternity of Oklahoma
(When asked what his mother should do with all the money, Sparks’ youngest son, 10-year-old Harrison, told me she should give it all to him.)
$1,750 stipend, Marvin Stokes Endowed Lecture at East Central University
36 hours graduate tuition waiver, Oklahoma State University
36 hours graduate tuition waiver, University of Central Oklahoma
36 hours graduate tuition waiver, Northeastern State University
36 hours graduate tuition waiver and 16 hours undergraduate tuition waiver for the winner’s child or a local student, University of Oklahoma
One-year full tuition waiver for the winner’s child or a local student, University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma
One year of professional services, AFT-Oklahoma
One year of professional services, Oklahoma Education Association
One year of professional services, Professional Oklahoma Educators
Classroom Performance System, eInstruction
SMART Board with projector and accompanying software, SMART Technologies
Technology training workshops, SMARTer Kids Foundation
Framed certificate, Oklahoma State Fair
Glass trophy, Midwest Trophy Manufacturing Company
Rose bouquet and plaque, Professional Oklahoma Educators
Lapel pin, Oklahoma Chapter of the National State Teachers of the Year
Art print, American Fidelity Assurance Company
Book, Oklahoma Historical Society
Gift basket and one-year family zoo membership, Oklahoma City Zoological Society
Laptop computer, Oklahoma Schools Insurance Group
Toyota Prius for one year, Gulf States Toyota
Hurricane Ike’s waves are still rippling.
Toyota representatives who came to Oklahoma City to present a hybrid Prius to the 2009 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year today weren’t present at the ceremony.
They were with Gulf States Toyota — based in Houston — and had to return home to clean up from Ike, said Tim O’Toole, president and general manager of the Oklahoma State Fair.
O’Toole extended some words of thanks and hope to the representatives and others in the hurricane’s path before stepping aside for the teacher recognition program to continue.
Check out NewsOK.com and tomorrow’s Oklahoman for more about the state’s new Teacher of the Year, math teacher Heather Sparks of Taft Middle School in Oklahoma City.