Here is the text of my comments from the board meeting last night:
Normally I prefer to use my board member comments to thank people — district employees who work tirelessly in service of our students, students who work hard to succeed, community members who step up to help.
Today I want to use my time to say thank you, but I want to be very deliberate in what I am saying.
Thank you to the educators, support staff, administrators and leaders who supported our children today. Thank you for answering questions and offering solace. Thank you for changing lesson plans or tossing lesson plans out the window. Thank you for helping our students make sense of a world that doesn’t always make sense.
Sometimes in the aftermath of tragedy, I’m nervous to speak up in public because I feel it’s not my place. I will talk to friends or acquaintances, saying I’m sorry that they don’t feel safe living in their own skin in America. I will tell my children that they are beautiful exactly how they are, and people who say otherwise are wrong. Shouting from the rooftops isn’t always my thing.
But this weekend I decided to use my microphone to say very clearly and very directly that white supremacy and hate are wrong. Institutional racism is wrong.
What happened in Charlottesville isn’t a problem that's 1,200 miles away. In Oklahoma City, we know the damage white supremacists can do. The aftermath of one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in American history is three miles from this room.
Today, I have no doubt that Oklahoma City educators and school employees put their regular work on pause to help students who are trying to process a parade of Nazis carrying torches. So thank you to those adults who comforted our students today. Our children need all of us more than ever, and they need us to say that white supremacy and all its incarnations are not OK.
You can also watch my comments in the video below, beginning at 31:50.
Oklahoma City Public Schools will provide free breakfast and lunch at 17 schools throughout the district this summer. The district is partnering with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Summer Food Service Program to offer free meals to children participating in summer school. Summer school is by invitation only for children in third through sixth grades who need extra reading help and for high school students who need to make up credits for graduation.
Here are the summer school sites for District 3 elementary schools:
Seven Oklahoma City Public Schools basketball teams made it through the regional tournaments and competed in the state championship tournament. Here's a look at the OKCPS teams:
Classen School of Advanced Studies (4A girls)
Oklahoma Centennial High School (3A boys)
Star Spencer High School (3A boys)
Douglass High School (3A boys)
John Marshall Mid-High School (4A boys)
Northwest Classen High School (5A boys)
Southeast High School (5A boys)
Teacher pay has been one of the most discussed issues ahead of the 2017 Oklahoma Legislative Session after the failure of State Question 779 this fall. Lawmakers know Oklahomans want better pay for our teachers. Oklahoma Watch recently took a look at teacher salaries for all districts in Oklahoma. Here's a look at OKCPS and district charter schools, which can set their own teacher pay scales and don't have to meet the state minimum.
Minimum Teacher Salary
Oklahoma, state minimum set by law: $31,600
Oklahoma City Public Schools: $34,000
Average Teacher Salary, Minus Benefits
Justice Alma Wilson SeeWorth Academy: $42,637
John Rex Elementary: $42,493
Stanley Hupfeld Academy at Western Village: $42,001
Oklahoma City Public Schools: $40,357
Santa Fe South High School: $39,942
Independence Charter Middle School: $39,499
Santa Fe South Middle School: $38,574
Dove Science Academy: $37,561
Harding Charter Preparatory High School: $36,895
Lighthouse Academy: $36,450
Harding Fine Arts Center: $36,205
KIPP Reach College Preparatory: $34,469
Dove Elementary: $33,358
Harper Academy: $21,611
Congratulations to all of the 2016-17 individual school Teachers of the Year who have been named for Oklahoma City Public Schools. Here's a list of the winning teachers from District 3, but you can read a full list of all the teachers on the district website. Congratulations to all the winners, and thank you to all the amazing teachers in OKCPS!
Adams Elementary - Sarah D. Williams
Buchanan Elementary - Leslie Schmitt
Cleveland Elementary - Shelley Stevenson
Jackson Enterprise Elementary - Lisa Purcell
Kaiser Elementary - Michelle Cheney
Linwood Elementary - Adrian Rosado
Mark Twain Elementary - Yolundia Cleveland
Pierce Elementary - Madison Wingate
Rockwood Elementary - Richard Wilkinson
Westwood Elementary - Abby Hernandez
Taft Middle School - Jon Mulzet
Northwest Classen High School - Milton Bowens