Teachers have until Friday to register for the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum’s annual education summit.
At the June 9 and 10 summit, participants will discuss how to use in their classrooms the lessons learned on April 19, 1995. They will hear from several presenters including survivors and family members, FBI agents involved in the investigation of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper who arrested Timothy McVeigh.
Cost is $25 and applications can be found at www.oklahomacitynationalmemorial.org and should be turned in to the memorial office by 5 p.m. Friday.
- Staff Writer Dawn Marks
Oklahoma City schools Superintendent Karl Springer left me a voicemail last night referring to yesterday’s post about the Dallas district layoffs. Here’s part of his message:
“Hi Wendy, it’s Karl Springer. Hey, I’ve been reading your blog on the Dallas Independent School District. We have openings in Oklahoma City for some teachers – several elementary positions. Be nice to be able to get some of those people from Dallas to apply.”
If you know someone who was affected, you might want to pass this information along. A list of vacant positions is available here: www.okcps.org/jobs/okcpsvacancy.pdf.
Expected layoffs came today for teachers across the Dallas Independent School District. This is a simple post to send you over to the Dallas Morning News’ education blog, where you can read posts from those teachers and their colleagues about the impact today is having. Some comments are rather poignant.
Educators should be paid like babysitters, says EducationNews.org columnist Robert Archer, who’s going on his 13th year as an English teacher in Washington state. They should be paid baby-sitting wages not to insult them over the work they do, but because he figures they would make more money. Archer admits he doesn’t have all the kinks worked out for his idea, which is based on what his children’s babysitter charges, but it’s an intriguing one to read nonetheless — just click here.
Meanwhile, this article from Education Week illustrates what some school districts nationwide are facing as the economy stumbles. Their actions, such as halting new school construction, are compounded by worries about future hits if sales tax revenue declines further as consumer spending constricts.
And this bit of news out of Tulsa gives a glimpse into how the state’s largest district is dealing with both factors: teacher pay and a tight budget.
Share your thoughts on teacher pay and school funding — particularly the views in the above links — below in the comments section.
After leading workshops last week at a regional math convention, state Teacher of the Year Heather Sparks is back in the news again.
All Kinds of Minds, a nonprofit organization that tries to help struggling students, issued a congratulations today to Sparks.
Sparks graduated from an All Kinds of Minds program called Schools Attuned and went on to become a program facilitator.
The Oklahoma City Taft Middle School teacher said the professional development she received through Schools Attuned “significantly changed” her teaching and helped her with her algebra and pre-algebra lessons.
Oklahoma was the second state to launch a statewide Schools Attuned program thanks to funding from the state Legislature and Department of Education. The funding allows people to go through the training without paying the standard $1,500 fee.
More than 2,500 Oklahoma educators have gone through the program to date. If you’re one of them, share your thoughts on the program below.
UPDATE: Sheryl Flowers with Schools Attuned called me this morning, Oct. 7, to update the number of Oklahoma educators who have gone through the program. She said it’s up to 3,904 in 231 districts.
-PERSONAL LOOK AT DISTRICT LAYOFFS: More than 60 central office employees in the Dallas school district were shown the door at the start of this week, and more cuts – including teachers - could be on the way later today as officials try to remedy an $84 million budget shortfall. Here’s a view on the situation from Donald Claxton, who briefly headed the communications department at Oklahoma City Public Schools under former Superintendent John Porter after working in the Dallas district.
-BOYCOTT MOVES TO THE BALL FIELD: An Illinois state senator from Chicago took his stab at school funding reform to last night’s playoff game between the Cubs and the Dodgers last night. Sen. James Meeks also led a student boycott of lower performing schools at the start of the year.
-CONFUSING STUDENT ASSESSMENTS: This Washington Post story talks about a literacy program’s assessments that start on a seemingly arbitrary scale of 2 to 16 and then switch to the letters J through P. I’m not questioning the scale or the program there, but the article did make me think about whether parents can always understand how their students are evaluated.
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
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.
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.