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Morning Bell: Stillwater program preparing students for STEM field

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Debbie Short, STEM instructor at Meridian Technology Center conducts class on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 in Stillwater, Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman
Debbie Short, STEM instructor at Meridian Technology Center conducts class on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 in Stillwater, Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman

Good Thursday morning! The Fort Worth Independent School District is advertising for teacher positions on Oklahoma billboards, with one billboard that reads: "Your Future is in a Fort Worth Classroom. Teacher Starting Salary $52,000."

But first, the STEM Academy at Meridian in Stillwater teaches students science, technology, engineering and mathematics principles at the college level, looking to fill the skill gap in Oklahoma.

"We're preparing them for rigorous academics to enter a university prepared for engineering or any STEM-related field," said Debbie Short, who teaches AP chemistry and pre-engineering courses. "They're getting hands-on technology they're going to be using in college and also in the work field, but they're also learning group dynamics to be accountable with their classmates and teammates."


You can watch a video about the program above or at this link. The STEM Academy offers seven Advanced Placement courses. Students pay for the AP exam, but not tuition for the college credits they earn.

Former BA superintendent hired in Muskogee

Jarod Mendenhall, who was paid more than $100,000 so the Broken Arrow school district could end its relationship with him as superintendent mid-contract in 2016, has been hired as superintendent at Muskogee Public Schools, reports the Tulsa World.

"The moment I began discussing the position with the (Muskogee board of education), I knew it would be a great fit," Mendenhall told the Tulsa World. "I’m excited to get started and can’t wait to meet the people in the community. I was born in Muskogee 50 years ago, so this is really coming back home for me. There is no doubt that great things are in store for Muskogee and I’m thrilled to be a part of it."

Enid Public Schools announced Tuesday that Jon Mitchell will be the new principal of Longfellow Middle School.

Ft. Worth schools recruiting in Oklahoma 

The Ft. Worth school district is putting up billboards in Oklahoma inviting teachers to apply, with a starting salary of $52,000.

That starting wage shows the continued disparity between Oklahoma teacher salaries and those of its southern neighbor, a disparity that persists despite the $6,100 average teacher pay raise the Oklahoma Legislature passed in March. The advertisements are appearing as local universities hold graduation ceremonies and school districts try to get a handle on how many teaching positions they'll have to fill next year.

Edmond approves safe room construction

A $5.15 million storm shelter, doubling as classroom expansion at Edmond North High School, has been approved by the Edmond School Board

The work at Edmond North High School will get underway in June on the east side of campus. In a few years, a second shelter is tentatively planned for the west side of the school. Wynn Construction of Oklahoma City was awarded the job for the east shelter. The business was one of 11 construction companies to submit bids.

Related Photos
Debbie Short, STEM instructor at Meridian Technology Center conducts class on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 in Stillwater, Okla.  Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman

Debbie Short, STEM instructor at Meridian Technology Center conducts class on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 in Stillwater, Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-d209d5e996a021686a6dd159d1511e0d.jpg" alt="Photo - Debbie Short, STEM instructor at Meridian Technology Center conducts class on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 in Stillwater, Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman" title="Debbie Short, STEM instructor at Meridian Technology Center conducts class on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 in Stillwater, Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Debbie Short, STEM instructor at Meridian Technology Center conducts class on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 in Stillwater, Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, 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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