Here are my comments from the board meeting tonight:
My favorite image of Clara Luper is one taken of her in 1988. Chin in hand, she looks into the light with a slight smile curling her lips.
The first time I saw it, I was frozen. So often in life we are tethered by fear — fear of the unknown, fear of rejection, fear of harm. This woman was untethered to fear, unafraid of what the world may think. This woman had hitched her horses to justice. She looked into the light. She walked unafraid through the unknown because she knew the ending. She knew right was on her side.
History frequently forgets women, especially women of color.
So let’s say her name and say her name and say her name. Clara Luper. Say her name so we don’t forget what she did for us all.
The building is named the Clara Luper Center for Educational Services. Don’t shorten it to an acronym. Don’t call it admin. Don’t call it downtown. Say her name out loud.
May we all be reminded of her mission and our duty to continue carrying the torch. May we say her name. May we all look into the light and smile.
Congratulations to all of the 2017-18 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 - Monta Johnson
Buchanan Elementary - Gwendolyn Hill
Cleveland Elementary - Elvia Morales-Montelongo
Jackson Enterprise Elementary - Lorena Cardenas
Kaiser Elementary - Samantha Young
Linwood Elementary - Joselyn Lundy
Mark Twain Elementary - Keren Macway
Pierce Elementary - Miranda Crowell
Rockwood Elementary - Casey Denton
Westwood Elementary - Dena Lanman
Taft Middle School - Alicia Grote
Northwest Classen High School - Telannia Norfar
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)