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Morning Bell: Immigrant students earn their diploma

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Michelle Guereca pauses to hug a faculty member as she walks across the stage during a special graduation ceremony to recognize 30 (ELL) English Language Learners at U.S. Grant High School. The ceremony was Monday afternoon, May 21, 2018. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman
Michelle Guereca pauses to hug a faculty member as she walks across the stage during a special graduation ceremony to recognize 30 (ELL) English Language Learners at U.S. Grant High School. The ceremony was Monday afternoon, May 21, 2018. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

Good Tuesday morning. Today is the last day of school in Oklahoma City, while many Oklahoma schools completed the school year last week. A few more districts will last another several days, mostly to makeup for the two-week teacher walkout. Enjoy your summer break, but keep reading the Morning Bell (we've got summer school).  

U.S. Grant High School in Oklahoma City held a special graduation ceremony last week for the dozens of students who immigrated to the United States in high school, spoke little or no English, but were able to finish high school and earn their degree. 

The Oklahoman's Tim Willert attended the ceremony and reported on the event and the students it honored.

District docks pay of teachers during walkout

Western Heights Public Schools is penalizing teachers and support staff for participating in the teacher walkout instead of returning to the classroom, The Oklahoman has learned.

About 20 certified employees were notified by email that their May paycheck "would be docked" because they were absent "without leave in April."

Most chose to ignore the school board — which voted 4-1 on April 2 to limit the district's support of a teacher walkout to one day — and the threat of disciplinary action if they skipped school the following day.

"I was blindsided," said one employee who requested anonymity. "I had no idea this was coming."

Four OKCPS schools will have new principals

Bodine Elementary, Classen School of Advanced Studies, Greystone Elementary and Johnson Elementary, will have new principals in the coming year, the Oklahoma City Public Schools district announced last week.

Homeless student numbers jump, schools respond

According to a study by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, the percentage of homeless people in families with children in Oklahoma jumped from 11 percent to 24 percent last year, the second largest increase in any state. New Hampshire reported 26 percent. School districts use a framework of teachers, counselors, administrators, homeless assistance programs and outside organizations to try to help students who are dealing with the stress, instability and lack of reliable housing causes, reports the Ardmoreite, which has an article about the Ardmore City Schools District's work to help 169 homeless students this last school year.

Edmond looks to focus on bullying

The school bullying issue will receive even more attention from the Edmond School District, intent on identifying problem students before they act out. District Information Director Susan Parks-Schlepp said a committee has been planned since March to "better meet the needs of our students."

Serving on the panel will be district and site personnel as well as representatives of state agencies who specialize in mental health and substance abuse problems.

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

Related Photos
Michelle Guereca pauses to hug a faculty member  as she walks across the stage during a special graduation ceremony to recognize 30 (ELL) English Language Learners at U.S. Grant High School. The ceremony was Monday afternoon,  May 21, 2018.  Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

Michelle Guereca pauses to hug a faculty member as she walks across the stage during a special graduation ceremony to recognize 30 (ELL) English Language Learners at U.S. Grant High School. The ceremony was Monday afternoon, May 21, 2018. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-4e4477bdce2d55f4705f2c3ebd24ebf9.jpg" alt="Photo - Michelle Guereca pauses to hug a faculty member as she walks across the stage during a special graduation ceremony to recognize 30 (ELL) English Language Learners at U.S. Grant High School. The ceremony was Monday afternoon, May 21, 2018. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman" title="Michelle Guereca pauses to hug a faculty member as she walks across the stage during a special graduation ceremony to recognize 30 (ELL) English Language Learners at U.S. Grant High School. The ceremony was Monday afternoon, May 21, 2018. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Michelle Guereca pauses to hug a faculty member as she walks across the stage during a special graduation ceremony to recognize 30 (ELL) English Language Learners at U.S. Grant High School. The ceremony was Monday afternoon, May 21, 2018. Photo by Jim Beckel, 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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