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Morning Bell: 'I'm excited to see everybody back'

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Kindergarten teacher Kyrianna Mitchell kneels to welcome Reina Camargo to her classroom as she arrives with her family on the first day of school at Cesar Chavez Elementary School on SE Grand Blvd. Students returned to classrooms across the city on Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018, as Oklahoma City Public Schools started another school year. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman
Kindergarten teacher Kyrianna Mitchell kneels to welcome Reina Camargo to her classroom as she arrives with her family on the first day of school at Cesar Chavez Elementary School on SE Grand Blvd. Students returned to classrooms across the city on Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018, as Oklahoma City Public Schools started another school year. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

Good Thursday morning! Oklahoma City Public Schools students returned to class yesterday and there was plenty of nervous excitement to go around.

"Every year on the first day of school I get more nervous than the kids," said Cesar Chavez Elementary School Principal Melissa Marschall, speaking with The Oklahoman's Tim Willert. "I try to hide it. It's one of those nights where you can't sleep and you get so excited.

"You hope everything goes the way that you want it to, and that all the kids are successful like you want them to be. I'm excited to see everybody back. Once all the kids get in the building than I'm calm and I'm good."

I offered five story lines you should pay attention to as OKCPS starts a new year. 

The Academy of Seminole opened its doors on Aug. 1, 2018. Photo courtesy of Paul Campbell. 
The Academy of Seminole opened its doors on Aug. 1, 2018. Photo courtesy of Paul Campbell. 

Rural charter school opens in Seminole

Wednesday was also the start of The Academy of Seminole, a "rural" charter school that won approval from the state board of education. The school is one of the first Oklahoma charters outside of Tulsa or Oklahoma City. It opened with 31 students in 9th and 10th grade. 

Last year, I wrote about the new school and charter school experiment that was coming to the small town of Seminole. 

The school was largely developed by local businesses, especially Paul Campbell, CEO of Enviro Systems Inc., a Seminole-based aerospace company of about 195 employees. 

“There are a few days in everyone’s life that stands out amongst the others. For me, today is one of those days," Campbell said about the first day of school. "This journey started almost three years ago and to see an idea turn into reality is incredibly fulfilling. Especially that this will benefit rural kids makes this day even more special.”

Superintendent debate scheduled

Oklahoma State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister will debate her GOP runoff opponent, Linda Murphy, on Aug. 24. The debate is hosted by NonDoc, Let’s Fix This, Generation Citizen and the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy and will be held at City Presbyterian Church, 829 N.W. 13th St. in Oklahoma City. You can find out more info about the debate here.

Edmond hosting parent Chromebook Q&A

Edmond Public Schools is hosting a Parent Technology Information Night from 6:30-8 p.m. tonight at the Santa Fe High School auditorium, reports the Edmond Sun

The district, through bond funding, is in a five-year process to convert much of its learning from textbooks to digital devices, including Chromebooks. 

Speaking of technology in Edmond, beginning this school year, Edmond students will no longer be allowed to use cellphones during class time.

Higher Education: OU scales back Merit Scholars office

The University of Oklahoma could lose its biggest academic bragging point, which is the school has more Merit Scholars than any other public university and, in three years, more than any public or private university, including Harvard and Yale. Oklahoma Watch's Jennifer Palmer reports that the OU office dedicated to recruiting and retaining Merit Scholars has been scaled back. The decisions were made at some point before Boren retired and James Gallogly replaced him on July 1. Erin Yarbrough, the university’s interim vice president for public affairs, said the changes were made to focus more on scholarship students beyond the Merit Scholars program.

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

Related Photos
Kindergarten teacher Kyrianna Mitchell kneels to welcome Reina Camargo to her classroom as she arrives with her family on the first day of school at Cesar Chavez Elementary School on SE Grand Blvd. Students returned to classrooms across the city on Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018, as Oklahoma City Public Schools started another school year. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

Kindergarten teacher Kyrianna Mitchell kneels to welcome Reina Camargo to her classroom as she arrives with her family on the first day of school at Cesar Chavez Elementary School on SE Grand Blvd. Students returned to classrooms across the city on Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018, as Oklahoma City Public...

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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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