I’ve watched this several times now, and I’m not going to lie: I get a little emotional. My daughter is only two years out from attending Oklahoma City Public Schools.
The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools created this video for their annual campaign. They go to many schools and interview all kinds of people – students, volunteers, teachers, administrators. I saw several faces I recognized from spending a week at John Marshall High School. One of those was Ashley Bahtahou. (You can see her at about 1:35 into the video.) I didn’t interview her, but I saw her so many times throughout the week. She’s one of those students who is involved in everything, and you can tell that she’s respected and admired by other students. She was phenomenal during track practice. She was fast, sure, but she was so encouraging of her other teammates. She’s a neat kid.
What she said in the video was so striking to me because it’s the same thing I’ve heard over and over from students and teachers throughout the district: our reputation doesn’t reflect reality. Set aside the reputation and whether you think it’s deserved. To me, the saddest thing is that those kids all know what the city thinks of them. They know what the community says about Oklahoma City Public Schools. Children shouldn’t feel like the world around them expects them to fail. They should feel like everyone expects them to succeed.
First of all, Sonic announces they’re giving you $4,000 for special projects. Then you find out Royal Ivey’s showing up with the checks. I’m pretty sure Friday was a great day at Wilson Elementary in Oklahoma City. Sonic funded seven classroom projects through its Limeades for Learning Program. The projects were posted through www.DonorsChoose.org. Here are the winners:
- Candice Pride: Power Play the Old Way to a Healthier Lifestyle ($573.08)
- Susan Bumgarner: Let’s Find Out About Everything! ($399.56)
- Cindy Riedl: Kindle a Fire for 21st Century Learning! ($601.40)
- Elizabeth Ejtehadi: Math Manipulatives Create Math Masters! ($468.45)
- Linda Baker: Kindle a Fire for 21st Century Math Students!! ($1,161.61)
- Gregory Eskridge: Teaching with Technology ($469.60)
- Deborah Brashier: Picture Our Possibilities ($287.48)
Robin Hill School District’s parent-teacher association will host a grand opening for the school’s new playground 11 a.m. Feb. 23 at the school, 4801 E Franklin Road.
Parents and students have spent the last two years raising the more than $50,000 needed to purchase and install the new equipment. The old equipment was beyond repair, according to school officials.
Robin Hill School District is located between Moore and Norman. The school has about 200 students enrolled in prekindergarten through eighth grades.
The playground’s color theme is red, white, and blue. Students will release balloons in the same colors at the grand opening.
“We are very proud of our group’s accomplishment in reaching our goals for this playground project and want to share this joy with our community,” said Betty Chagaris, PTA president.
The reading time with students is part of a national effort to break the world record for the number of children reading the same book with adults on the same day.
Some of my favorite books to read at the age of Garrett’s audience today — prekindergarten through second-grade children — were the “Amelia Bedelia” stories.
What are your favorite childhood books?
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
The Oklahoma City Public Schools Foundation is now The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools, a.k.a. The Foundation.
The organization has a new logo to match.
“First, the logo reflects the hand of the community supporting our kids,” foundation chairman Stanley Hupfeld said in a news release. “Second, the logo shows a child growing into an adult with the support of the community.”
The nonprofit was created in 1984 to support the work of Oklahoma City Public Schools.
Wendy K. Kleinman
I never lived in on-campus housing. My community college didn’t have dorms at the time, and after I transferred I lived in rental houses off campus.
I think I missed out on an important college experience. Living with other students surely adds camaraderie to college life, and studies show it can also help keep students on track academically.
OU students have lots of options, both on and off campus, and at all price ranges. OU is hoping to lure more upper division students back to campus housing with a rebate program that gives back $100 to $400 a semester if the student maintains a high GPA.
Here’s the breakdown: GPAs of 3.25 to 3.49 would get $100 back; GPAs of 3.5 to 3.74 would get $200 rebated; GPAs of 3.75 to 3.99 would get $300, and 4.0 GPAs would get $400 back.
OU’s Traditions Square apartments rent for $480 a month and include all bills paid. So students earning a perfect GPA would get most of one month’s rent back in reward for their academic success.
What do you think about the plan? Would it entice you to live on campus and make better grades?
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan Simpson, Education Writer
I’ll probably never be wealthy enough to buy naming rights to any public building. But the Susan Simpson Honorary Toilet Stall — that’s a real possibility.
It’s not a novel idea. Colorado venture capitalist Brad Feld recently made an offer the University of Colorado couldn’t flush away. He paid $25,000 to have his name on a second-floor men’s bathroom in a technology center on campus.
He’s named on a plaque with the quote “The best ideas often come at inconvenient times.”
Feld said it’s good advice. “Sometimes my best ideas have come to me while I’m in the bathroom, sitting on the toilet or taking a shower. It’s a good time to reflect.”
All-righty then. Maybe CU should install pens and note paper in each stall for recording such good ideas.
Maybe I could start my own donor profile by sponsoring rolls of toilet paper in college restrooms. Or would that be a wasted endeavor?
Tell me what you think? Have campus “sponsorships” gone too far?
E-mail me at email@example.com
Susan Simpson, Education Writer
I donated rice to the United Nations today and built my vocabulary at the same time, on a new Web site that’s close to magnanimous and far from plebeian.
In simpler words, the site www.freerice.com donates 20 grains of rice to the U.N. for every vocabulary word you click the correct definition for.
The site gives you harder words as you answer correctly, and simpler words when you get hung up. How was I to know that a tilth is cultivated land?
Still, I showed the site I wasn’t a blockhead, racking up 540 grains of rice.
The rice is paid for by advertisers, whose banners display at the bottom of the screen.
According to the U.N., about 25,000 people die every day of hunger or hunger-related causes.
And with just a few minutes a day, you can virtually donate food while developing a new bond with the English language and becoming your local vocabulary queen or fugleman.
Every word in italics, by the way, came up in my surprisingly fun and altruistic little vocab quiz.
Wendy K. Kleinman
My last computer was a Dell. It got me through college.
This morning, 60 Dells were unveiled in a refurbished lab at the KIPP Reach College Preparatory School in Oklahoma City. Hopefully those computers will help the students get to college.
The KIPP School serves 280 fifth- through eighth-grade students in a building on NE 13.
“This computer lab truly was a community effort,” said Mautra Staley Jones, director of development and marketing for KIPP, in a press release. “From Flintco’s ceiling tiles, StapleGun’s graphics and Dell’s employees who painted the room, polished the floor and installed computers, this lab will bring a world of opportunity to the fingertips of KIPP students for years.”
In the same way the Oklahoma Educational Technology Trust works to get technology into more schools, the new Dell Community Computer Lab is another example of how community establishments in the state pool their time and resources to give students more.
Wendy K. Kleinman