Our Best Investment is in our children

September 23, 2018

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Our Best Investment is in our children. Not many could dispute that statement, and a new campaign sponsored by The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools will highlight all the reasons why. Over the coming months, Oklahoma City residents will have the opportunity to hear from civic leaders, district leaders, educators and students with messages to help change the narrative about the state's largest school district.

The 46,000 students in Oklahoma City Public Schools are Our Best Investment. Not only do these students need a rich educational experience, they need to be provided with the supports and tools necessary to help them become healthy, productive citizens and members of the workforce. This is a big responsibility and does not fall just on Oklahoma City Public Schools employees. This is the responsibility of the entire community. Parents play a huge role, but so do all citizens, even those without children in our schools. From the business community to the faith based community, from retirees to Millennials with young children and Generation Z who are just starting their careers, every member of our community can make a difference for our children.

The nearly 5,000 employees of Oklahoma City Public Schools are our best investment because they have the ultimate responsibility of educating our children and preparing them for their future. They deserve all the support possible and to be treated as the dedicated professionals they are.

The first goal of Our Best Investment campaign is to focus on the need for community support and developing a sense of pride and responsibility. The long term campaign goal is to share the positive stories about OKCPS to community constituents, voters and legislators, ultimately resulting in larger engagement by all audiences.

There are many ways to become involved with Oklahoma City Public Schools through dedication of time, talent and treasure. The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools serves as a conduit through Partners in Action, a joint initiative with OKCPS, connecting community partners with schools and their needs. There are also easy ways to support teachers and classrooms through The Foundation's partnership with DonorsChoose.org. Volunteers are always needed to serve as reading buddies/ mentors in the classrooms through ReadOKC. Visit okckids.com or contact The Foundation for OKCPS for more information about any of these initiatives.

Mayor David Holt said, “Ultimately, a city doesn't exist without its people, and Our Best Investment happens in school buildings.” Changing the narrative about Oklahoma City Public Schools must also acknowledge there is much work to be done to improve academic performance and to provide efficient and evidence based supports to our students. There is no need to sugar coat this fact and district leaders are embracing this reality with defined priorities and focused plans. The role of Our Best Investment campaign is to also focus on the success stories, featuring Our Best Teachers, Our Best Students and Our Best Schools.

Oklahoma City Public Schools is our district. These are our schools and these are our kids. There is no better investment.

Read Mary Mélon's original NewsOK editorial.