More dialogue to come on school closures

January 27, 2019

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A letter was sent to all Oklahoma City Public Schools community partners and volunteers who are in our system ahead of the board of education meeting last week. Here is an excerpt from this letter, signed by Superintendent Sean McDaniel and me:

"It is important that you hear from us that no matter the changes associated with closing and repurposing schools, we believe with 100 percent certainty that the upgrades that will occur are going to be very positive for our kids.

"There will be more learning opportunities as resources are put into our classrooms in the form of art, music and PE teachers. There will be added support staff to assist principals and teachers deliver a better and higher quality educational experience. There will be added counselors and other social supports to assist our kids with issues that challenge them outside the school building. Our repurposed buildings will be filled with community partners ready to support our kids with after school programming and services for the entire family.

"It is also important that you hear from us that if a school you are currently working with ends up being closed and/or repurposed, this does not mean we no longer need your support. In fact, we are heading into a time when every community partner is needed as much or more than ever. This time of transformation is also an opportunity to provide equitable support to all of our schools and all of our students. We want to coordinate with you the best course of action, be it in a different school building or in one of our repurposed buildings.

"We look forward to visiting with you personally in the coming weeks but wanted to send this communication ahead of the public Pathway announcements to let you know how grateful we are for your support. Please stay engaged with us as we forge our Pathway to Greatness. Our kids deserve it, and it is our responsibility as a community to continue providing the opportunity and support that our students and ultimately our entire city are counting on."

As reaction to the three pathways is heard and digested, there is time for additional dialogue. As has been the case throughout this inclusive and transparent process, the community is invited to weigh in and ask for additional information.

Once a pathway is decided upon, it is imperative for the community to come together to implement the plan. There is hard work to come, but the outlook is bright for our kids.

Read Mary Mélon's original NewsOK editorial.