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Morning Bell: OEA backs teachers with pay docked during walkout

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A person holds a sign supporting Western Heights Schools during the second day of a walkout by Oklahoma teachers at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, April 3, 2018. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
A person holds a sign supporting Western Heights Schools during the second day of a walkout by Oklahoma teachers at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, April 3, 2018. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

Good Monday morning! 

While this year's teacher walkout was largely supported by district leaders and school boards, teachers in Western Heights were instructed to return to work or risk their pay. With the district backing up that threat by docking the pay of some teachers who remained on the walkout, Oklahoma's largest teachers union is threatening legal action against Western Heights Public Schools.

"Docking our pay, in my opinion, is illegal," said one employee who requested anonymity and whose May paycheck was shorted $218. "If somehow they came up with a legal proceeding to justify it, it should've been explained to us prior to docking our pay."

Attorneys for the Oklahoma Education Association are representing teachers in the dispute, spokesman Doug Folks told The Oklahoman.

Broken Arrow works to ensure tragedy doesn't happen again

Broken Arrow Public Schools doesn’t plan to build a memorial to Jaymeson West, the Pride of Broken Arrow band member who died by suicide in September. Instead, the district is taking a different approach.

With the community still reeling from the tragedy that struck this fall, the school district wants to do all it can to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again, reports the Tulsa World. So district administrators and teachers have spent much of the past week learning how to do just that: prevent suicides.

Earlier this year, I visited with officials from Broken Arrow to learn about how they had responded to tragedy and what other districts were doing to be better prepared. State education leaders say the demand for crisis preparation is increasing across Oklahoma, especially in rural school districts that might not have as many community support organizations in their backyard.

Last year, the state Department of Education offered five free crisis training sessions for school leaders, but "they filled up so quickly and we had a long waiting list, we added five more training sessions," said Shelly Ellis, executive director of school support and improvement.

PC students complete school murals

Students at four Putnam City elementary schools this year worked with professional artists to plan, design and paint murals in their schools.

The result? Large, colorful murals in Apollo Elementary, James L. Dennis Elementary, Wiley Post Elementary and Windsor Hills Elementary, each one uniquely reflecting the values of the school and the communities that surround them. You can learn more about the murals and view them here

Devon Energy to award STEM education grants

A new FFA grant program will be fueling science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education for Oklahoma students.

Devon Energy will provide seven grants to the Oklahoma FFA Foundation for chapters in central and northwest Oklahoma for the 2018-19 school year. The awards range from $500 to $5,000 and will fund STEM programs that emphasize hands-on learning.

The goal of the program is to increase students' access to new technologies being used in the agriculture industry.

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

Related Photos
A person holds a sign supporting Western Heights Schools during the second day of a walkout by Oklahoma teachers at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, April 3, 2018. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

A person holds a sign supporting Western Heights Schools during the second day of a walkout by Oklahoma teachers at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, April 3, 2018. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-319c60204f0c6925dd11bcd11059510c.jpg" alt="Photo - A person holds a sign supporting Western Heights Schools during the second day of a walkout by Oklahoma teachers at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, April 3, 2018. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman" title="A person holds a sign supporting Western Heights Schools during the second day of a walkout by Oklahoma teachers at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, April 3, 2018. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>A person holds a sign supporting Western Heights Schools during the second day of a walkout by Oklahoma teachers at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, April 3, 2018. Photo by Nate Billings, 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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