Foundation CEO: Past year historic for Oklahoma education

January 13, 2019

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Reflection is the perfect exercise as a year ends and another begins. Pausing to celebrate successes while keeping a critical eye on continuing challenges and reviewing meaningful data helps define direction for the future.

This past year was historic for public education. A teacher walkout brought Oklahoma's public education system to the national stage. Despite the teacher pay increase that resulted, we still face a huge shortage of trained teachers and our classrooms remain underfunded.

On a local level, Oklahoma City Public Schools ushered in a new superintendent and began a comprehensive facilities review with input from the community and educators in the district. The transparent process will culminate in recommendations for doing school differently, which ultimately benefits our students. Defining what makes a school great for kids isn't as simple as it may sound and takes compromise/consensus on what is most important and how it can be measured.

The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools' work, thanks to generous community support and continued strategic, focused effort, has provided significant impact for Oklahoma City Public Schools in a variety of ways.

Our key focus areas allow us to connect our community with our schools by supporting teachers, leaders, students and classrooms. We build and grow partnerships and support professional development through DonorsChoose.org, Partners in Action, English Language Learning programs and the Urban Teacher Preparation Academy. We also advocate for a changing narrative about OKCPS through local and statewide communication efforts. All of our efforts have defined and measurable goals with outcomes that are tracked on an ongoing basis.

The Foundation's efforts provide support for immediate needs for classrooms and schools, while at the same time addressing long term needs through our work on teacher and leader development and advocating for comprehensive reform and transformation.

It is a multifaceted, yet strategic approach and remains aligned with OKCPS and their primary goals. All of us working together will provide our kids with what they deserve. The work isn't easy, but failure is not an option.

Read Mary Mélon's original NewsOK editorial.