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The Morning Bell: Student license plate design winner announced

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Sarah Skaggs, a student at Latta High School in Ada, is the winner of a contest to design the new Oklahoma License to Educate plate.  

The design is below, and can be preordered here.

Winning design for a new license plate to support teacher recruitment efforts in Oklahoma. 
Winning design for a new license plate to support teacher recruitment efforts in Oklahoma. 

At $35 a piece, proceeds from the new specialty license plates will be deposited in the Oklahoma Teacher Recruitment Revolving Fund, which will fund a new teacher recruitment program, publish materials that emphasize the importance of the profession and other efforts to address the state's growing teacher shortage.

"This is part of a public awareness campaign for the need," state schools Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said back in August. "It's also a focus on art education. We know there have been many cuts and we have lost art teachers and certainly we want to put the focus back on a well-rounded education."

--MONTESSORI TRAINING: Eight Tulsa Public Schools teachers are training to bring a Montessori model to the district's Emerson Elementary School next year, reports the Tulsa World. The Montessori model encourages independence, and teachers say it also gives students more one-on-one time.

--DRUG ADDICTION AMONG STUDENTS: Oklahoma has not been immune to America's growing drug epidemic, and it's having an impact on the state's youth, whether they have also become users, or are being raised in a home with parents who use.

“Nowadays you see a lot more kids involved in the prescription pills,” said Chris Lambakis, a drug and alcohol counselor for El Reno Public Schools, who said the biggest challenge he faces in preventing students from using drugs is dealing with growing drug use at students' homes.

“If I have a student that I visit with who has disclosed to me their substance abuse, and then they tell me that mom or dad smokes weed themselves, how impactful is my conversation going to be with them when it's not frowned upon at home?" Lambakis said.

I wrote several weeks ago about how schools are responding to drug addiction, which some educators believe is a problem that it is getting worse. You can read that story here

--DISCIPLINE APPROACH: The Cleveland (Ohio) school system has ditched in-school suspensions, according to a Education Week

"A majority of those kids were repeat offenders because their needs weren't met, they didn't get a chance to explain what happened, and they weren't given any tools to change the behavior," said Brenda Duke, a planning-center instruction aide at Clark K-8 school in Cleveland. 

In Oklahoma City Public Schools, teachers say discipline remains a major problem. About 80 percent of district teachers who responded to a union survey said they are responsible for administering the majority of student discipline, while nearly half said they have a student with a chronic discipline problem who should not be in their classroom, reports Tim Willert in The Oklahoman

--A brief scene in the 1999 film “Oklahoma!” is generating complaints against the Nebo School District (Utah) after the movie was shown to students at Payson Junior High School in September. 

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Ben Felder

Ben Felder is an investigative reporter for The Oklahoman. A native of Kansas City, Ben has lived in Oklahoma City since 2010 and covered politics, education and local government for the Oklahoma Gazette before joining The Oklahoman in 2016.... Read more ›

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