Educator Currents Newsletter for All Oklahoma Educators

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21st Century Provides Summer Learning

The State Department of Education’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) team spread out across the state last week to find examples of educators working to improve outcomes for students in our state.

They found a great program in Kingfisher, where summer learning included a field trip to investigate all the STEM concepts included at a miniature golf course. The lesson included angles, bisectors, laws of motion, kinetic energy and more. Students arrived with iPads, clipboards and lots of questions in hand for the owner of the course.  Then, students returned to their school, where 21st CCLC leaders had been saving materials with their maintenance and cafeteria staff all semester to build their own putting greens.

KF Images

“Believe it or not learning can be FUN,” exclaimed Sonia Johnson, State Director for 21st CCLC. “We talk about these programs connecting academics to the real world, and this is a great example of that.” 

Later in the week, team member Andrea Hohlier headed to Lawton to see what some of the middle and high school students were learning at their 21st CCLC that partners the Lawton School District with the Fort Sill Army base. The students were dissecting frogs and other marine life as well as creating art projects as they learned science and nutrition lessons. Later this summer the students will travel to Houston to continue their studies.

Others on the team, Jasmine Vasilev and Melodie Fulmer, Executive Director of Parent and Community Engagement, plan to visit other centers as the summer progresses.

More than 15,000 students are being educated at 21st Century Community Learning Centers this summer. The purpose of the program is to provide academic enrichment opportunities during non-school hours. Designed as a supplementary program to enhance state or local reform efforts, this program assists students in meeting academic standards in key subjects, such as math, reading, science and social studies, by providing out-of-school services to students and their families. The program targets high-need, high-poverty, low-performing schools; implements highly effective research-based programs to address academic needs; and provides academic assistance along with enrichment opportunities to help students graduate college, career and citizen ready.

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Dr. Ryan Quinn to Speak at Vision 2020

Dr. Ryan Quinn, a visiting assistant professor in the Marriott School of Management at Brigham Young University, will be one of three keynote speakers at the State Department of Education’s Vision 2020 conference. He will present Tuesday, July 9.

DR Quinn

Dr. Quinn teaches and conducts research on change management, with specific interests in how conversations organize and re-organize our social world. He has taught in full-time and executive MBA programs, executive education and undergraduate programs. He has consulted for Fortune 500 companies, private firms, start-up businesses, nonprofits and government institutions, and is a principal at Lift Consulting.

He also has been involved in educational consulting and training, including his involvement in the Darden/Curry Partnership for Leaders in Education’s Turnaround Specialist program. As part of the Wallace Foundation program, Dr. Quinn is helping to train school system administrators in transforming public schools and reducing achievement gaps.

Dr. Quinn has a bachelor's in statistics from Brigham Young University, a Ph.D. in Management and Organizations from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, a graduate certificate in the study of complex systems from the University of Michigan, and has studied international business and corporate strategy at Hitotsubashi University in Japan. He has taught at the Olin School of Business in Washington University in St. Louis, the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia, the Marriott School of Management at Brigham Young University and will soon accept a position at the college of business in the University of Louisville. Dr. Quinn also has been heavily involved in the Positive Organizational Scholarship movement, focusing many of his research questions on understanding what makes organizations and the people within them flourish, excel and exceed expectations.

Dr. Quinn has published articles in publications such as Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management Review, Academy of Management Annals, Organization Science, Academy of Management Annals, Human Resource Management, Journal of Management and Business & Economy. He has co-authored a book with his father, Robert E. Quinn, entitled Lift: Becoming a Positive Force in Any Situation, and co-authors The Lift Blog. Dr. Quinn will follow his talk on Tuesday with a book signing.

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Register for Vision 2020

All Oklahoma teachers, administrators and other educators should register now to attend this summer's Vision 2020 professional development conference.

To register or learn more information, follow the link

This conference features top educational presenters from across the state and the nation. More than 200 sessions cover everything from new academic standards to how to help struggling math students, how to incorporate more Advanced Placement curriculum in your school, breakthroughs in literacy for early grades and much more.

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Parent Power Night

Please encourage parents, grandparents and guardians to attend Parent Power Night at Vision 2020. A number of informational sessions will be covered from 6 to 7:45 p.m. Tuesday, July 9 at the Cox Convention Center. Possible subjects to be covered include:  College, Career and Citizen Ready; Achieving Classroom Excellence (ACE); third-grade reading requirements; literacy; Career Technology; funding your child’s college education; starting a parent group at your school; suicide prevention; Internet safety; signs of dating violence; and more.

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College Board Offers Planning for College Sessions

Educators, please share the following information with your students and their parents.

College Board will hold college planning sessions from 5 to 8 p.m. (EDT), June 12. The sessions are designed to help students and parents with planning and paying for college. Presented in both English and Spanish, these free, informative sessions are a great opportunity for families to realize that college is within reach.

Sessions are:

5 to 6 p.m. EDT: How to Maximize Your Summer: Part II
For those applying to college in the fall, summer is the perfect time to begin working on their application. An expert will provide advice for high school students who are interested in how to make the summer count.

6 to 7 p.m. EDT: What to Expect in College
A successful transition to college can help students stay in college. Join us to discuss how to maximize the college experience.

7 to 8 p.m. EDT: For Puerto Rican Students:
How to Study in the Mainland
Join us for an informational session on how to study in a mainland school.

To sign up Click Here 

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Psychological Aids for Helping Students in Times of Disaster

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have designed brochures to help educators, students and their families in times of disaster, school crises or emergencies. 

Click here to access a brochure is for teachers. 

Click here to access a brochure for children and parents.

For more information,go to

Additional tips for helping children cope after Oklahoma's recent tragedies can be found on the SDE website at

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First Freedom Essay Competition Open to High School Students

Students in 9th- through 12th-grades are eligible to enter the 2013-2014 First Freedom Student Competition. The national essay and video contest offers high-school students an opportunity to compete for $2,500 awards as they examine the First Amendment and the history and implementation of religious freedom in American democracy and the world today. The upcoming school year’s topic, guidelines, student flyer and classroom poster can be found at (click on the red button, center column).

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OTA/Encyclo-Media Conference

Plan ahead now for your staff members to attend the 2013 Oklahoma Technology Association’s Encyclo-Media Conference to be held October 1 and 2, 2013, at the Cox Convention Center, in Oklahoma City.  The program will include keynote speakers and school district personnel discussing technology software, hardware, library media programs, gifted and talented education, guidance and counseling issues, curriculum, state standards and much more.

Registration for the conference is currently open.  Go to and click on the OTA/Encyclo-Media Conference link for more information and to register online.

This is an awesome opportunity for your faculty and staff to obtain critical professional development to support the continued success of your students.

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Keyboards & Guitars Sought

The El Reno Public Schools Alternative Education Academy is seeking electronic keyboards and guitars for the 2013-2014 school year.  To make a donation, contact: Kristy K Ehlers, Ph.D, El Reno Public Schools, Technology Department, PO Box 580,
El Reno, OK 73036,
(405) 262-5417.

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Free Dental Screenings 

The Oklahoma Dental Association realizes that poor oral health in children can lead to failure to thrive in school. That is why teachers across Oklahoma are being asked to spread the word to elementary school children and their parents or guardians about a new statewide event called Back to School with a Healthy Smile.

On July 31, 2013, volunteer dentists will provide FREE dental screenings for elementary school children at their individual practices.

State Superintendent Janet Barresi is serving as the Honorary Chair of the inaugural program as part of her commitment to give each child in Oklahoma the chance to learn about healthy habits. This program will give each elementary school student in Oklahoma a chance to start the school year with a healthy smile.

All children screened will receive results and a free child admission ticket to the Oklahoma Aquarium.

Give your students something to smile about! Encourage your students’ parents to go online to and find a list of participating dentists in their area and schedule an appointment.

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From the Superintendent’s Desk

State Superintendent Janet Barresi recaps this year’s Legislative session, shining light on some of the new laws that will affect students, parents and educators in the coming school year. Click here to read the column.

New on the SDE Website

Check out the latest updates to the SDE Website

Storms Cause Millions in Damage to Schools

2013 Summer Programs

TLE Implementation Timeline

Accountability Data Certification Projects

SDE Replaces Lost Teaching Certificates

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