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The Morning Bell: State wants to end dependence on emergency cert teachers

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Kindergarten teacher Harold Smith stops at one of several small tables in his classroom to help a student with a daily assignment, this one being about shapes of objects. For story that looks at the lack of male teachers, especially black male teachers. in Oklahoma City elementary schools. Kelly Coleman, principal at Green Pastures Elementary School in Spencer has hired a few black male teachers to be part of the school's faculty. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman
Kindergarten teacher Harold Smith stops at one of several small tables in his classroom to help a student with a daily assignment, this one being about shapes of objects. For story that looks at the lack of male teachers, especially black male teachers. in Oklahoma City elementary schools. Kelly Coleman, principal at Green Pastures Elementary School in Spencer has hired a few black male teachers to be part of the school's faculty. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

Good Friday morning!

I hope you had a restful and pleasant Thanksgiving.  

State education leaders have set a goal to reduce the number of emergency teaching certificates to under 60 by 2025, a daunting task considering the number surpassed 1,800 last week, with no sign of slowing down.

I wrote about this goal in today's Oklahoman, which is included in the state's new school plan. 

When the goal was set in September, which is when the school plan was finalized and submitted for federal review, Oklahoma's emergency certified teacher use was at 1,160.

"It is a goal that when reached indicates we have a strong teacher pipeline," said state Superintendent Joy Hofmeister.

Such a drastic reduction in emergency certified teachers might seem like an impossible challenge, but five years ago only 32 emergency certified teachers were used across the state.

You can read the rest of the story here

ICYMI - Gov's consolidation plan would impact most schools

Gov. Mary Fallin's call for the consolidation of services in Oklahoma school districts that spend less than 60 percent of their budget on student instruction could affect nearly 500 districts.

"This idea completely discounts the total cost associated with educating a child," said Jason James, the superintendent of Alex Public Schools in south central Oklahoma. "Fuel costs money, buildings and building repairs cost money. To be an efficient school we have to not only invest in teachers, but teacher aides, librarians, custodians and social programs."

You can read more about the consolidation plan and the response from educators here

Mustang schools to add sports HOF

The Mustang Public Schools Athletic Department has announced the creation of the Mustang Athletics Hall of Fame to celebrate and honor the school's storied athletic history.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to recognize the accomplishments of former Broncos while at the same time inspiring current student athletes to achieve greatness,” said Robert Foreman, Mustang director of athletics.

The Hall of Fame Banquet will be Aug. 25 at the Mustang High School Event Center.

Marathon training underway

Students at Soldier Creek Elementary School have started training for the OKC Memorial Kids Marathon, led by teacher and coach, Sherilynn Admire.

"We talk to the kids about the bombing, the effects of the bombing, the results of hate, and if you let that emotion take over what ends up happening, tragically, for others," Admire told KFOR

Language Link at OKCPS 

Language Link is an over the phone interpretation system used at Oklahoma City Public Schools that allows parents to clearly and effectively communicate with educators at their child's school. (Via KOKH)

“If you don't know the language, that can be very frustrating, and when it entails the future of your child that can add more stress to it,” says Juliana Gutierrez, OKCPS Communications Specialist.

Language Link program is a free program that gives families access to interpreters in 240 different languages, so they can communicate more clearly with educators in their child's school.

--Language can be a challenging barrier in a district like OKCPS. Last year I wrote about the growing segregation of Hispanic students in the district and how the district is looking to respond to language barriers in the Hispanic community and beyond. 

“I had a parent tell me yesterday she wasn't able to help her child with her homework because she didn't understand English,” said Rosalbe Torres, a 2005 graduate of U.S. Grant High School and a parent of two children in Oklahoma City schools. “The language barrier is big, which is why you see so many Hispanic families living near each other because it can make life easier.”

--Dual-language programs can provide students with a boost, research shows. English-language learners assigned to dual-language-immersion classrooms in the Portland, Ore., school district were more likely to be classified as English proficient by 6th grade when compared to peers enrolled in traditional classes, a new study by the RAND Corp. found, reported Education Week

The research team also determined that the district's dual-language students significantly outperformed their ELL who were not in dual-language classes peers on English-reading skills—by nearly a school year worth of learning by the end of middle school.

That's all for today's Morning Bell. I'll have several education stories this weekend in The Oklahoman, including Sunday as I visit a school in Lawton that showed a dramatic turnaround in academic performance last year. 

Related Photos
File: Kindergarten teacher Harold Smith stops at one of several small tables in his classroom. [Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman archives]

File: Kindergarten teacher Harold Smith stops at one of several small tables in his classroom. [Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman archives]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-90348d4b70a1dc91215a882331ee05fc.jpg" alt="Photo - File: Kindergarten teacher Harold Smith stops at one of several small tables in his classroom. [Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman archives]" title="File: Kindergarten teacher Harold Smith stops at one of several small tables in his classroom. [Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman archives]"><figcaption>File: Kindergarten teacher Harold Smith stops at one of several small tables in his classroom. [Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman archives]</figcaption></figure>
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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