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Morning Bell: Emergency teacher certificates exceed 2,500

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book fair at Schwartz Elementary in the Mid Del district. This is for a story about how schools and parents raise money to cover basic stuff through fundraisers in the era of state budget cuts. Sep. 14, 2018. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman
book fair at Schwartz Elementary in the Mid Del district. This is for a story about how schools and parents raise money to cover basic stuff through fundraisers in the era of state budget cuts. Sep. 14, 2018. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

Good Friday morning! 

TODAY:  It was announced yesterday that an agreement has been made for The Oklahoman to be purchased by GateHouse Media. The purchase involves some staff reductions, but The Oklahoman's education coverage continues, so does the Morning Bell and so does our need for continued reader support. You can learn about digital subscriptions here

Emergency certifications exceed 2,500

The number of unlicensed and non-traditionally trained teachers in Oklahoma classrooms continues to grow by the hundreds.

On Thursday, the state Board of Education approved 412 more emergency teacher certificates issued to school districts that lack qualified candidates to fill teaching vacancies.

Since June, the panel has approved 2,565 certificates. That's 590 more than were approved over the previous 12 months.

"We continue to feel the full brunt of the teacher shortage," state schools Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said. "Districts still have certified positions open without qualified applicants to fill them.

Fundraising a common reality at many schools

Virtually every public school in Oklahoma raises money outside their budget. It's become a necessity. At Schwartz Elementary School in the Mid-Del district, the teachers have an account for their class. When they need something, they request it from the PTA, which manages the money.

“It would be real scary without it,” Schwartz Principal Rondall Jones said.

PTA moms still throw class pizza parties, but are just as likely to spend time hitting up businesses for sponsorship or balancing books and fundraising budgets that, at Schwartz can top more than $25,000 annually.

“We've gone from being PTA cupcake moms to PTA let's-fund-our-school moms,” said Amber Taylor, a parent of two children who attend Schwartz. “It's constantly, 'step up your game, step up your game.' We're funding our schools for things like crayons and other things they need.”

You can read more here about the increasing reliance on fundraising at Oklahoma schools. 

Grant extends Tulsa research

A new $2.7 million grant will extend the research of a child's educational progress through the third grade, enabling the students to be tracked through the fourth grade by a partnership between the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa and Georgetown University.

That will allow researchers to examine a critical phase in a child’s development, said Diane Horm, director of the OU-Tulsa Early Childhood Education Institute.

This study, known as School Experiences and Early Development, or SEED, will try to confirm whether the “fade out” really happens and, if so, why, Horm said.

ICYMI: Thirty-two states include a Seal of Biliteracy on a student's diploma or transcript, which confirms the high school graduate is proficient in English and at least one other language.

"I believe (Oklahoma) students miss out compared to students in other states (with the Seal of Biliteracy) who are able to apply to universities and demonstrate that they are bilingual," said Taylor Tribble, president of the Oklahoma Association for Bilingual Education "It's one thing to say you're bilingual, but to actually have a state seal recognizing you are officially bilingual, I think that holds a lot more weight."

Tribble's organization is advocating for the state to adopt the Seal of Biliteracy for inclusion on diplomas, something officials with the state Department of Education have expressed support for.

Related Photos
book fair at Schwartz Elementary in the Mid Del district. This is for a story about how schools and parents raise money to cover basic stuff through fundraisers in the era of state budget cuts.   Sep. 14, 2018.  Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

book fair at Schwartz Elementary in the Mid Del district. This is for a story about how schools and parents raise money to cover basic stuff through fundraisers in the era of state budget cuts. Sep. 14, 2018. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-4d0589e4e53d366fd712bacb1a41fa4f.jpg" alt="Photo - book fair at Schwartz Elementary in the Mid Del district. This is for a story about how schools and parents raise money to cover basic stuff through fundraisers in the era of state budget cuts. Sep. 14, 2018. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman" title="book fair at Schwartz Elementary in the Mid Del district. This is for a story about how schools and parents raise money to cover basic stuff through fundraisers in the era of state budget cuts. Sep. 14, 2018. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>book fair at Schwartz Elementary in the Mid Del district. This is for a story about how schools and parents raise money to cover basic stuff through fundraisers in the era of state budget cuts. Sep. 14, 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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