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The Morning Bell: 'No way in hell my kid’s going to school here'

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Edgemere Elementary School Pre-K teacher does the turkey stroll with her class in Oklahoma City, Tuesday November, 25 2014. Photo By Steve Gooch, The Oklahoman
Edgemere Elementary School Pre-K teacher does the turkey stroll with her class in Oklahoma City, Tuesday November, 25 2014. Photo By Steve Gooch, The Oklahoman

"There’s no way in hell my kid’s going to school here.’”

That was the thought of Stephanie Griffith and her husband when they first visited Edgemere Elementary in Oklahoma City. 

Fast forward a few years after meeting community leaders who helped transform the school into the David R. Lopez Community School at Edgemere and Griffith is now happy to have her kid at the school. 

Kelly Pearson was one of the community leaders Griffith met.

“When you have a community school, your focus is on developing those community relationships. That is part of the job,” Pearson said. “Our teachers make a special effort to get to know the families and their needs and their desires for their kids. They make that a priority.”

The Oklahoman's Tim Willert recently wrote about the school's transformation and how much of a big hit the community school is with parents. You can read that story here

Despite objections, schools use 'seclusion rooms'

A controversial practice of shutting children alone in small closet-like rooms to control their behavior has led Oklahoma parents to withdraw their children from school, seek police intervention and take legal action, reports Jennifer Palmer of Oklahoma Watch

School officials give the rooms benign-sounding names like “blue room,” “cool-down room” or “de-escalation room” and say they’re intended to provide a healthy temporary separation. But many parents and child advocates say the practice is like being locked in a closet, and some liken it to solitary confinement in prison. Students placed in the room often have special needs.

OKCPS will keep current calendar ... for now 

The Oklahoma City Public Schools voted Monday to keep the existing calendar in place. But the board will reprise a committee to study the district's calendar in an effort to find a model that maximizes student learning and teacher retention.

--Oklahoma public schools have at least 28 different school-year start dates, which has a group of Oklahomans pushing for a statewide start date in early September.

Tulsa high schools to be part of NSU program

With the Tulsa school board’s vote to approve an Upward Bound program affiliated with Northeastern State University, a number of students from four Tulsa high schools — Central, McLain, Hale and Webster — will get more guidance on how to get to college, reports the Tulsa World

Indian education officials come to Oklahoma

Long accused of under serving thousands of Native American students, the federal agency that oversees 183 Indian schools across the country — including five in Oklahoma — is working to establish a new direction.

Officials with the Bureau of Indian Education held a town hall last week at Riverside Indian School in Anadarko to present a draft of a new strategic plan, inviting feedback from educators and tribal leaders.

"When you look at our system, we have had such a high turnover with directors, that without a plan, every time we lose a director, we lose momentum," said Tony Dearman, who was named director last year. "With this document ... no matter who is in the director position, it is going to continue moving forward."

Hofmeister visits new Durant school 

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister toured the Robert E. Lee Early Childhood Center in Durant, which opened to students in August. 

The new center includes a playroom with kid-size buildings like a fire station and doctor's office. All of the "buildings" were sponsored by local businesses, reports KTEN.

"We know that our school districts in this area are doing an outstanding job -- not just because of great teachers in the classrooms, but because of great partners in the community," Hofmeister said.

That's all for today's Morning Bell. Got a story idea, comment or question? Email me at bfelder@oklahoman.com.

Have a great Tuesday!

Related Photos
Edgemere Elementary School Pre-K teacher does the turkey stroll with her class in Oklahoma City, Tuesday November, 25 2014. Photo By Steve Gooch, The Oklahoman

Edgemere Elementary School Pre-K teacher does the turkey stroll with her class in Oklahoma City, Tuesday November, 25 2014. Photo By Steve Gooch, The Oklahoman

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-e4c18262a27c6a02cb4519b1278335ce.jpg" alt="Photo - Edgemere Elementary School Pre-K teacher does the turkey stroll with her class in Oklahoma City, Tuesday November, 25 2014. Photo By Steve Gooch, The Oklahoman" title="Edgemere Elementary School Pre-K teacher does the turkey stroll with her class in Oklahoma City, Tuesday November, 25 2014. Photo By Steve Gooch, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Edgemere Elementary School Pre-K teacher does the turkey stroll with her class in Oklahoma City, Tuesday November, 25 2014. Photo By Steve Gooch, The Oklahoman</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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