Sometimes there are things that just can’t fit into a story but that reporters really want to share. I wanted to share this little bit that was left on the cutting room floor from my nDepth story about Webster Middle School. (Click here to read it.)
The students in Claudette Justice’s English class hurried to summarize the beauty and vastness of nature in 17 syllables before the bell rang. Justice had already taught them how to address a letter, and the second half of her class was dedicated to haiku poetry. A girl counted syllables as she talked to herself: “I love su-shi.” She paused. “Hmm. But I don’t.”
When you plant a seed
and water it and it grows,
then pops out a tree.
Need to use to stay alive.
Forever be my love.
Birds chirping a song
they sing and hum all day long.
Soaring in the sky.
The tree shape I drew
from a little drop of paint
looks like a dancer.
Hear my heart beating.
I’ll stay with you forever,
keeping a promise.
The dog was singing.
He sang a song I once knew
so I sang along.
Bark bark yes it’s me
Owner please give me a treat
Yum yum delicious
The green leaves are gone
missing all the memories.
Autumn, please don’t come.
Thank you to John Marshall for sharing their fabulous photos with us from their May 10 graduation ceremony. Principal Aspasia Carlson said it was a wonderful night. Star Spencer and Southeast honor their graduates tonight, and a full list of Oklahoma City Public Schools graduation will be in The Oklahoman tomorrow.
Look at this fabulous young ladies and gentlemen. The leadership class from John Marshall High School made a trip to the Petroleum Club to have a lunch and learn all about etiquette. A majority of the students at John Marshall are eligible for free or reduced-priced lunches. How was this exciting outing paid for? The John Marshall staff. They donated to the trip and sponsored students.
I spent a week in John Marshall High School last month, and my story about my time there ran April 15. (Click here to read it.) After spending so much time covering a story, reporters always lament that there are things left out. There are a couple of anecdotes I wished I could have fit in, but there had to be room left in the Sunday paper for the comies and the crossword. I was already way – way! – over my limit. So I’m going to share two of those little asides here. To me, they really illustrate the humor that Principal Aspasia Carlson uses with her kiddos.
Students milled around the breakfast tables, eating particularly slowly. One boy claimed he was eating breakfast late because he slept in.
“Do I need to call your mom?” Carlson asked him. He smiled when he knew he was caught. “What’s your number?” Carlson said. “I’ll call and wake you up.”
And one more …
Carlson came out of her office to find a boy slouching in a chair next to the copier.
“OK, I just heard the bell ring,” she said. “Where are you supposed to be?”
“I’m getting my transcript so I can go to college,” he said with a grin.
Carlson laughs. “OK,” she admits, “that’s allowed.”
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)
Oklahoma City Councilman Ryan invited Oklahoma City School Board Member Lyn Watson onto his weekly show. Here’s what she had to say about the happenings of District 1.
Here’s some news out of the capitol:
OKLAHOMA CITY – Legislation approved by the Oklahoma House of Representatives would implement better intervention efforts when students are identified as needing counseling.
House Bill 2641, by state Rep. Lee Denney, creates the Twenty-first Century Successful Living Act. The legislation would require the Office of Juvenile Affairs and the Oklahoma Association of Youth Services to identify an evidence-based counseling curriculum for schools.
“This legislation will allow schools to be more proactive dealing with students who are in need of counseling to help them resolve the issues that may prevent these kids from succeeding in school and becoming productive citizens,” said Denney, R-Cushing. “Hopefully, we can put a lot of troubled youth back on the path to being model students.”
Under the bill, the Office of Juvenile Affairs would make the counseling available to students and school districts through designated youth service agencies.
If the bill becomes law, each of the existing 41 youth services agencies would train two staff and deliver services to approximately 75 students, for a total of 6,150 students served in the coming fiscal year.
During the second year of the program, the number of students served would double to 12,300. During the third year of the program, the agency expects to serve 18,450 students.
House Bill 2641 passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives on a 70-15 vote. It now awaits a hearing in the state Senate.
Auditors have discovered three secret banks accounts used by the state Education Department. Check back to NewsOK.com for more as this develops. Here’s the auditor’s press release for now:
OKLAHOMA CITY – State Auditor Gary Jones released a supplemental investigative report today requested by the Oklahoma State Department of Education.
This supplemental investigative report follows an initial special audit report released January 4, 2012, which reviewed travel claims by a former state education department official.
“Superintendent Janet Barresi and the state School Board originally asked for a special audit regarding some suspicious travel claims by a former employee,” said State Auditor Gary Jones. “Information came to light during that investigation that suggested a much bigger problem had existed at the State Department of Education.
“We brought the information to the attention of Superintendent Barresi and requested permission to continue to investigate the existence of a previously unknown bank account,” Jones said. “We appreciate her full support and assistance in this matter.”
During the course of this limited investigation, the State Auditor became aware of three unauthorized, previously unknown bank accounts that were utilized as a slush fund to spend more than $2.3 million over a 10-year period. The use of these accounts allowed former State Education Department Officials to issue payments shielded from government oversight as well as public scrutiny.
SAI investigators spent many hours reviewing documents and conducting interviews during the course of this investigation.
The supplemental investigative report is available at the State Auditor’s website, www.sai.ok.gov
Rep. David Brumbaugh, R-Broken Arrow, came up with this idea. Here’s a press release he sent out:
OKLAHOMA CITY – Legislation approved by the Oklahoma House of Representatives would “give teeth” to the School District Transparency Act, according to the bill’s author.
Under House Bill 2644, by state Rep. David Brumbaugh, school districts and the Oklahoma Board of Education would lose funding if they fail to comply with the School District Transparency Act.
“I authored this bill because taxpayers have a right to know how their tax dollars are spent in our schools and lawmakers need to have financial data to make appropriation decisions,” said Brumbaugh (R-Broken Arrow).
The legislation authorizes the Office of State Finance to withhold administrative and support funds from the Oklahoma State Board of Education if it does not include data on its website required by the School District Transparency Act. The withholding would be 1 percent of total appropriations for administrative and support functions and would increase by 1 percent for each subsequent month of noncompliance. If noncompliance continued after five months, 8 percent would be withheld.
“The main thrust of this bill is to get more data posted online at the state level, but I also felt that we should address school districts,” Brumbaugh said. “I did try to give the school districts a lot of leeway so they are not punished for an honest mistake, but only for being out of compliance for months and months.”
House Bill 2644 was approved by a vote of 87-2 and now proceeds to the Senate for consideration.
Two students who attend Douglass High School suffered minor injuries when the bus they were riding in collided with a car Thursday morning. They were taken to Mercy Hospital. The driver of the car received four tickets.