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The Morning Bell: 'Get these kids in school'

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Canadian County Sheriff deputy Doug Gerten, of the Juvenile Investigations unit, speaks to a child that has lock themselves in the bathroom, and refuses to go to school as he responds to an assistance call from the parent in Mustang, Okla. on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman
Canadian County Sheriff deputy Doug Gerten, of the Juvenile Investigations unit, speaks to a child that has lock themselves in the bathroom, and refuses to go to school as he responds to an assistance call from the parent in Mustang, Okla. on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

Good Tuesday morning!

Last month I spent some time with Deputy Doug Gerten, who works in the Canadian County Sheriff's juvenile investigations unit. He is part of a six-year-old truancy program that leaders say has drastically reduced drop out rates and increased attendance rates. 

“If you get these kids in school, you can avoid a lot of future problems,” Gerten said. “A lot of times just having an officer show up at their house is enough to get them to school.”

I rode along with Gerten as he visited the homes of students who were missing school. Sometimes it's a defiant teenager who just doesn't want to go to class. Other times it's a child with parents who are abusing drugs and alcohol and unable to take them. 

In addition to motivating parents and students to practice good school attendance, the program is also about tackling the underlying issues of why a child is absent.

You can read my story of the truancy program here

Teacher raise petition falls short

An initiative petition aiming to enact an Oklahoma City income tax for teacher pay raises fell short of collecting the required number of valid signatures, a review by the city clerk's office found.

City Clerk Frances Kersey issued a "preliminary determination" letter Monday to Ward 2 Councilman Ed Shadid, a leader of the signature drive, saying 9,090 valid signatures had been counted. Organizers needed 11,991.

You can read more here

Emergency cert teacher charged with rape

Hunter Joanne Day, 22, who was a first-year, emergency certified teacher in Yukon, has been charged with second-degree rape in Canadian County District Court in connection with an alleged sexual relationship with a student at Yukon High School. 

Principal suing OKCPS

An assistant principal is suing Oklahoma City Public Schools, alleging the district changed a favorable evaluation to keep from retaining her during tough budget times. In her lawsuit, Hillcrest Elementary Assistant Principal Jenny Vesper accuses a district administrator of pressuring the school's principal to lower Vesper's score "so that she would be identified for non-retention." The Oklahoman's Tim Willert has more

Charter school studies early college program

The Academy of Seminole plans to begin an early college high school program next academic year that will allow students to earn an associate degree along with their high school diploma, Head of School Wren Hawthorne announced at a recent parent meeting.

The academy's high school will be located on the campus of Seminole State College to make it easier for students taking both high school and college classes. Hawthorne said academy students can earn their associate degree free, which is a savings of nearly $10,000.

--The Academy of Seminole will be one of of the first non-urban charter schools to open in Oklahoma, following a law change that allows for "rural" charter schools

Foundation accepting student applications

The Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation is accepting applications for its 2018 Fleming Scholar Program, reports the Muskogee Phoenix

The annual summer program is entering its 63rd year. Applicants must be Oklahoma residents at the time of high school graduation and at least 16 years old to qualify. High school seniors and college freshmen, sophomore and juniors are eligible to apply for this award-winning program.

Pauls Valley teachers receive grants

The Pauls Valley Foundation for Academic Excellence awarded 32 grants totaling more than $16,000 going to teachers in Whitebead and Pauls Valley schools, reports the Pauls Valley Democrat

“This is providing for schools in ways their normal budget can't provide for,” said Lorin Jacobson, chairman of the foundation's grant committee.

“It supplements the curriculum and helps these teachers with projects for the kids in their class.

More education news...

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up a case about prayers before school board meetings, leaving continuing uncertainty over the constitutionality of the practice. (Education Week)

A budget crisis that has starved funding for Oklahoma’s schools, resulting in a teacher shortage and prompting more than one-quarter of the state’s districts to hold classes only four days a week, is partly to blame for the Democrats' recent run of success in the state, writes Russell Berman of The Atlantic

Twenty six schools from across the state will be represented at the Christmas tree lighting at the state capitol this week, reports the Tulsa World

That's all for today's Morning Bell. Have a great Tuesday!

Related Photos
Canadian County Sheriff deputy Doug Gerten, of the Juvenile Investigations unit, speaks to a child that has lock themselves in the bathroom, and refuses to go to school as he responds to an assistance call from the parent in Mustang, Okla. on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017.  Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

Canadian County Sheriff deputy Doug Gerten, of the Juvenile Investigations unit, speaks to a child that has lock themselves in the bathroom, and refuses to go to school as he responds to an assistance call from the parent in Mustang, Okla. on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017. Photo by Chris Landsberger,...

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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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