Educator Currents Newsletter for all Oklahoma Educators


Set Your Sights on Vision 2020

The State Department of Education’s Vision 2020 Conference promises FREE professional development opportunities for every Oklahoma educator, from the classroom teacher to the school librarian to the district superintendent and everyone in between.

This year’s conference is July 9 to 11 at the Cox Convention Center in Downtown Oklahoma City.

Lana Ingram, a special education teacher, recently told SDE staff that she’s been looking forward to this year’s conference because she gained valuable information at the event last year that helped her improve her instructional methods in the classroom.

“It was one of the best teaching conferences I have ever attended,” she said. “The speakers were motivating, and the sessions had so much information that I could take back to my classroom. I loved the variety of sessions that were available to attenders, as well as the vendor booths with additional resources.”

A GED pre-conference will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 8, followed by early bird registration from 4 to 7 p.m. The next day, Vision 2020’s power-power packed conference kicks into high gear. Early bird sessions start at 8 a.m. each day followed by general sessions at 9 a.m.

“You will not want to miss our world-renowned list of keynote speakers,” Event Coordinator Ashley Hahn said.

On Tuesday morning, Dr. Ryan Quinn, the author of Lift: Becoming a Positive Force in Any Situation and an Assistant Professor at the University of Louisville’s College of Business beginning in August, will speak about change management and how to use positive motivational techniques to bring about successful change.

“America’s Educator” Ron Clark takes the stage Wednesday to bring entertaining and true-life stories about his award-winning work as a teacher and the founder of the Ron Clark Academy.

Dr. Tony Wagner, who recently accepted a position as the first Innovation Education Fellow at the Technology & Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard, will speak on Thursday, giving insight into how to create innovators in today’s classrooms.

Each speaker will sign copies of their books following their general session presentation.

To learn more about the keynote speakers,
click here.

Breakout sessions will follow general sessions each day with a focus on educators Tuesday and Wednesday and on administrators Thursday. Sessions include topics on how to teach the new Oklahoma Academic Standards, early childhood literacy, STEM learning,

Ag in the Classroom, legislative updates and so much more.

Educators are urged to let parents know about Parent Power Night that will offer sessions on dealing with trauma in the wake of recent storms, graduation requirements, Career Technology, literacy, mental health resources and more. The night starts with a meet and greet with State Superintendent Janet Barresi from 5:15 to 6 p.m., including coffee and snacks, followed by sessions from 6 to 7:45 p.m.

Melodie Fulmer, Director of Parent and Community Engagement for the State Department of Education, said the No. 1 thing educators from across the state say would help them in their classrooms is for parents to become more involved in their child’s education.

“Students of involved parents have higher grade point averages, score higher on tests and have higher graduation rates,” Fulmer said. “The higher the parent involvement, the better the student engagement in the classroom. These students are more prepared for college, career and citizenship upon graduation, and they are just more well-rounded than their peers.”

For a list of conference breakout sessions by track, click here. To register, click here.


Tulsa/OKC Chefs Host Events to Benefit Tornado Victims

Some of Tulsa’s top chefs and about 35 area restaurants will hold a fundraiser for young tornado victims on June 22 at the Tulsa Convention Center.

Chef Aid, conducted in cooperation with Tulsa Community Foundation, will benefit children affected by the recent Oklahoma tornadoes.

The dinner, beginning at 6:30 p.m., will include food, wine, beer and live music for the all-inclusive cost of $75 per person. The event also will include a silent auction.

Chef Aid is being organized by chefs Eli Huff, Salt Food Group/Union Schools; Michael Fusco, Fusco's Catering; Devin Levine, SMG; and Kenny Wagoner, Cancer Treatment Centers of America.

Major sponsors include Staples, Salt Food Group, BOK Center, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, SMG and Tulsa Convention Center. Other sponsors include Ben E. Keith Co., US Foods, Sysco Foods and Fincher Media.

Corporate tables of 10 are available for $2,000. Call 918-808-8074 to reserve a corporate table.

In Oklahoma City, chef Rick Bayless will lead a trio of events for the OK Chefs Relief effort on June 24.

Bayless will lead local chefs at a pop-up restaurant at a yet-to-be-determined location from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. A minimum $10 donation is required for tacos and agua fresca.

At 5:30 p.m., The Tasting Room, 4322 N. Western Ave., will be converted into Bayless' upscale Topolobampo. This evening includes a demonstration and the chance to interact with the star of public television's "Mexico: One Plate at a Time." Admission is $1,000 per couple and is limited to 40 people.

The final pop-up will be inside the Will Rogers Theatre, adjacent to The Tasting Room. It will feature a menu from Frontera Grill. Cost is $60, and the event is limited to 240 people.

UMB Bank is handling ticket sales for the OKC events at 405-239-5936.


AP and College Readiness Report

The National Math and Science Initiative recently released a report for Arkansas that demonstrates the difference participation in Advanced Placement (AP) classes and exams makes for students who attend college.

The first line of the report shows members of the Class of 2009 that did not take an AP class and did not earn a qualifying score on an AP exam during high school.  The students may have taken concurrent enrollment. In four semesters, the students earned an average of 27.66 college credit hours with an average GPA of 2.07;  2,376 of them were not remediated during their four semesters, but 5,339 were remediated, resulting in a 69.20 percent remediation rate for that group.

The second line of the report shows the members of the Class of 2009 that did take at least one AP class but did not receive a qualifying score on an AP exam.  In four semesters, these students earned 43.27 college credit hours with an average GPA of 2.60. Only 34.48 percent of that group received remediation.

The final line for the Class of 2009 shows students who took an AP class and received a qualifying score on the exam. These students earned 48.41 college credit hours with an average GPA of 3.11 and only had a 5.13 percent college remediation rate.

The next three lines show the same breakdown for the Class of 2010 who had only attended college for two semesters.

Cathy Seward, Director of Advanced Placement and AVID for the State Department of Education, said research like this is why she believes AP better prepares students for college.

“Concurrent enrollment is wonderful for some students and some classes, but if we want our students prepared to be successful in college, AP is the way,” Seward said. 

It’s important for parents to know that if a child requires college remediation these are courses that cost money but earn no credit towards a degree, Seward said. Students who take remediation also are more likely to drop out of college.

Oklahoma educators can attend Advanced Placement sessions at Vision 2020. For a list of session titles, click here.

To read the report, click here.



Banks Provide
Houses to Teachers

The Bank of Oklahoma and Chase Bank are making available a number of vacant, foreclosed properties in the Oklahoma City metro area to help teachers and local school support staff that lost homes during the storms that ravaged Oklahoma from May 19 to June 7.

The banks are making the properties available to Neighborhood Housing Services Oklahoma City, Inc., a local nonprofit community organization designed to help individuals and families achieve the American Dream of home ownership.

The organization will use the properties to help teachers and school support staff re-establish home ownership or as temporary housing as homes are restored.

The organization is currently seeking contact information from interested individuals who qualify. To find out more information about this disaster relief program, contact, NHS Oklahoma City at (405) 231-4663.


Yukon Alternative Learning Experience Receives Achievement Award

The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence has named the Yukon Alternative Learning Experience as the recipient of its 2013 Oklahoma Award for Outstanding Achievement in Alternative Education. The $5,000 award will be presented July 10 at the Oklahoma State Department of Education Vision 2020 Conference.

The Yukon Alternative Learning Experience (YALE) was founded in 1998 on the premise that not all students thrive in a traditional school setting. The program serves over 100 students in grades 9 through 12 who have a sincere desire to earn their high school diploma. The school’s mission is to “provide students with the skills, knowledge and values to become competent, productive citizens.”

“Our philosophy at Yukon Alternative is to find what works for each individual student,” said Principal Jody Pendleton. “In order to accomplish this, we implement many strategies that are outside the box.”  Among those strategies are flexible scheduling, small class sizes, innovative instruction methods, an artist-in-residence program, service-learning opportunities and strong community involvement.


Sign Up for FREE NIE Teacher Workshop

Oklahoma teachers and librarians are invited to sign up for a free Newspapers in Education workshop, “From Pressroom to Classroom.”

The workshop will show how to use The Oklahoman Daily Print Replica, Archives, and educational supplements more effectively in classrooms and libraries. Educators will go through the steps of using the NIE services that include logging in, searching the archives, presenting educational supplements and a tour of The Oklahoman’s printing facilities.

The workshop is from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, June 24, 2013, at The Oklahoman Building, 9000 N Broadway Extension, Oklahoma City. Lunch is included.

To register for the workshop,
email Bailey Huntsman at
Include your name, school name and the best email address and phone number at which to reach you during the summer.

There is limited space available so please send your workshop enrollment email ASAP. If the first workshop fills up and there is enough interest another workshop will be scheduled in July.


From the
Superintendent’s Desk

State Superintendent Janet Barresi writes about why she's excited for all Oklahoma educators to attend this year's Vision 2020 summer conference. Click here to read the column.


New to the SDE Website

Check out these latest updates to the State Department of Education’s website:

Marzano 2013 Summer Training Schedule

Special Education Events

Back to School with a Healthy Smile

Now Hiring: REAC3H Instructional Coach

Summer Math Challenge


Stay Connected 

 Janet Barresi – Twitter

OSDE – Twitter

Janet Barresi – Facebook

OSDE – Facebook