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Ways to help Oklahoma City schools meet special needs

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Mary Melon
Mary Melon

The gym at Adams Elementary School was filled with community partners from the Faith-based community Tuesday night with one goal in mind: to connect with the school in a consistent and meaningful way.

The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools hosted the Partners in Action Community Night, inviting interested partners to learn about school needs and ways to engage.

Principal Kelley Coleman shared details about some of their needs. Here is a partial list: They would like to purchase T-shirts for students and staff as a way to build unity, morale and culture in the school using a Harry Potter theme. They would like to replace their dilapidated sign in front of the school with a digital marquee sign to communicate with families and students. The one they have has been broken for years and won’t hold any letters.

They would like some new playground equipment and school beautification. They would like at least 24 volunteer Reading Buddies (ReadOKC), school supply kits for all of their students (Kit-A-Kid) and at least 150 coats for their students with the greatest need (Coat-A-Kid). They would like to make holiday baskets for their families in need and teacher appreciation gifts.

Coleman and Assistant Principal John Addison also thanked current community partners who are doing so much for their students.

Coleman shared a story of how valuable their clothes closet is. A teacher recently came to her office asking for duct tape to wrap around a student’s shoes that were falling apart. Before they undertook that project, they checked the clothes closet with fingers crossed, and found one pair of boy’s shoes. They held it up to the broken shoes and said a little prayer that they would be the right size. Miraculously, they were.

They asked the boy if he’d like to tape his old shoes or have the new ones. Coleman described the way his face lit up and the joy and gratitude he showed for this new pair of shoes as being what most children would have over a coveted new toy. She and the teacher were moved to tears.

Educators across Oklahoma City Public Schools do so much more than teach subject matter. Our community partners step in to help fill the gaps for what seems to most as basic necessities. And our students teach us all, if we open our hearts and minds.

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