For one hour every week, Stanley Hupfeld visits the
elementary school in Oklahoma City that now bears his name to hang out with the boy he mentors. Next year, Hupfeld wants to start teaching the second-grader chess, but, for now, they
play checkers and talk about geography.
“I’ve often said it’s the best hour I spend all week,”
said Hupfeld, former president and CEO of INTEGRIS Health.
Mentors started coming to Stanley Hupfeld Academy at Western Village more
than a decade ago, back when it was still called Western Village Elementary. Today, it has more than 300 mentors. They are community members with all kinds
of backgrounds. Some are students themselves, and about a third work for INTEGRIS.
“Our goal is to have a mentor for every student in
Stanley Hupfeld Academy,” said Academy director Tobi Campbell.
Oklahoma has more than 100 mentoring and leadership
programs that reach countless schools and students, according to the Oklahoma
Foundation for Excellence (OFE), which helps to establish mentoring programs in
schools across the state through its David and Molly Boren Mentoring
Mentors provide a stable source of support for students
who might not get that at home. They can tutor kids who need academic
help, or they can lend a sympathetic ear. By simply visiting with a child for an hour a
week, mentors leave a lasting and positive impression.
Bernard Jones, who works with prosthetics at the Oklahoma City VA
Medical Center, is in his eighth year as a mentor at Stanley Hupfeld Academy. He was skeptical when he first heard about the program, afraid it would amount to babysitting.
It didn’t take long to
change his mind.
“It’s something I look forward to every week. The kids
look forward to seeing me every week,” Jones said.
The program at Stanley Hupfeld Academy is one branch of
the Positive Directions mentoring program, which INTEGRIS operates in
communities with its hospitals. Each mentor is matched to a single student whom he or she hopefully will stick with until that student graduates to the next school.
What to do with the weekly hour is up to mentors and
mentees. Jones said the first 30 minutes of his sessions typically are devoted to study
time, but he leaves at least 15 minutes to play games or talk.
“As they get to know you, they get a little looser and
start to share their life stories with you,” he said.
Mentoring programs in Oklahoma have been started at all
levels of schools by a range of organizations, including colleges,
churches, nonprofits and businesses.
In Tulsa's Kendall-Whittier Elementary School roughly 70 students stay until 6 p.m. every day, spending time with their mentors. The youth mentoring program was started off-site by a neighborhood nonprofit in 2003. In 2011 it became part of the University of Tulsa's True Blue Neighbors initiative and was moved into the school building with help from the George Kaiser Family Foundation.
"We've really seen tremendous growth in our ability to serve students and parents in this neighborhood," said Director Danielle Hovenga, who moved with the program.
Although the program is free, participants must apply to join. Every kid gets a healthy after-school snack, takes a break for playtime, then spends an hour working on academics with a mentor. Half of that hour is spent on literacy, Hovenga said.
Although mentors come from all across the community, many are associated with the university, she said. Some faculty and staff volunteer, and students can use it as a work-study job or for academic credit in some classes.
Being able to operate the mentoring program from inside the building has led to better coordination with teachers, and the school staff gets to see the mentoring program in action, she said.
For Hupfeld, mentoring fits perfectly with his
hospital’s mission of keeping people healthy. Mentors help to create a
healthier and smarter community. That’s why INTEGRIS has offered time off and
rewards for employees in the program from the beginning.
Beverly Woodrome, director of the mentoring initiative at
OFE, said there are too many kinds of successful mentoring initiatives around the state to suggest one model is better than others. In one town, a mentoring program was
launched by a local banker who simply recognized a need. In bigger cities, large corporations sometimes hire staff solely to run their mentoring programs.
There is one basic ingredient both Woodrome and Hupfeld
cited. First, both the school and the organization providing mentors need to be
dedicated to the program and provide designated leaders on both ends.
Mentors range from top-level executives to, in one case,
a school custodian. The more careers and backgrounds represented, the better,
“I think sometimes we overlook people who could be
inspirational,” she said.
She shared that message at the Oklahoma State Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 15, during OFE’s “Oklahoma Mentor Day."
Oklahoma Teacher of the Year Peter Markes has been busy over
the past few months. He gave talks at universities in every corner of the state
and dropped in on orchestra programs to conduct and observe. Now he’s also
“I still spend one to two hours daily administrating my
own Edmond North orchestra program, and I envisioned the Teacher of the Year
schedule to be much, much busier. I am hopeful that the spring semester will
see a renaissance of the OKTOY program, now restored to full funding,” Markes wrote in his first blog post.
Markes was named
Oklahoma Teacher of the Year in September, just as he started his 12th year
directing the orchestras at Edmond North High School. He’s excited to talk
about teaching and leadership in all classrooms, and he hopes to create an
outline of “best practices” for orchestra programs based on what he learns on
The Oklahoma Teacher of the Year has a car and will
travel. Click here for an application if you want to arrange a visit.
Check out the all-new Oklahoma Teacher of the Year Blog
Two Oklahoma elementary school teachers are among 102 teachers nationwide recently honored with the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.
The teachers, both of whom had been nominated by the Oklahoma State Department of Education, are Annette Huett, who teaches fourth grade at Kelley Elementary in Moore; and Diane Reece, who taught kindergarten at Bokoshe Public School in LeFlore County.
Ms. Reece died of leukemia on Dec. 4. She was 61.
Reece’s two daughters, both of whom followed in their mother’s footsteps by becoming schoolteachers, said the recognition is bittersweet.
“Mom had an exceptional passion for the classroom and students,” said Kris Williams, who teaches in the same district where her mother worked for 36 years.
“She strived to bring great learning opportunities to students, whether it was exciting hands-on activities, trips to local theater performances or completing class service projects. Mom was extraordinary in all areas of life and made a lasting impact on many.”
Reece’s other daughter, Kassandra Lovell, teaches science in Spiro.
“She went above and beyond to teach subjects in a creative way that inspired others. She knew that many times, a child's first experience with school took place in her kindergarten class,” Lovell said.
“She wanted students to be excited about learning and realize that learning could be fun. Helping to create lifelong learners and making the world a better place were important to her."
Huett, a 23-year veteran of the classroom, said she was deeply honored by the recognition.
“It reaffirms my instructional style and hopefully inspires hands-on teaching,” she said. “I would like to thank Moore Public Schools for their support, especially my principal and coworkers. Without their support, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi said Reece and Huett were highly deserving of the Presidential Award for Excellence.
“Oklahoma children are blessed to have had the likes of Diane Reece and Annette Huett in the classroom. Diane’s passing is tragic and leaves a hole in the hearts of those who knew and loved her, but the considerable impact of her life — a life devoted to education and to strengthening her community — will shine on in the minds of all the young people who had the privilege of being her pupils.
“Similarly, the influence of Annette Huett on her students is beyond measure. These teachers have instilled so many young children with a love of learning, and that lesson in itself is of immense value.”
Bestowed annually to K-12 science and math teachers across the nation, the honor comes with a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation and a trip to Washington, D.C., for a number of celebrations.
State Education Department officials are currently working with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching at the National Science Foundation to ensure that Ms. Reece will be properly honored.
The Oklahoma Academic Scholars program recognizes outstanding academic achievement of graduating seniors. Oklahoma Academic Scholars will be presented a certificate of distinction from the state and their local high schools. A gold seal will be affixed to their diplomas and the honor will be recorded on their official transcripts. Graduating seniors must meet all of the following criteria to qualify for this honor:
- Accumulate over Grades 9, 10, 11 and the first semester of Grade 12, a minimum grade point average of 3.7 on a 4.0 scale, or be in the top 10 percent of their class.
- Complete (or will complete) the curricular requirements for a standard diploma.
- Achieve a 27 composite score on the ACT or 1220 combined reading and mathematics score on the SAT I. The ACT or SAT I must have been taken on a national test date.
You will be able to report the names of qualifying seniors via the Single Sign On System from January through March 3, 2014. You will see the report listed after signing into the system.
You will need to report via the Single Sign On System even if you do not have any qualifying seniors. All high schools must report to ensure all students are recognized that have met the requirements mentioned above.
Your school will be mailed certificates and gold seals for the diploma by April 11, 2014, and the names of qualifying seniors will be shared with the news media.
Thank you for your assistance in recognizing outstanding Oklahoma high school seniors! If you have questions or concerns, contact me at (405) 521-4287.
-Dir. Timmie L. Spangler, Gifted and Talented Education
The Title III window for ACCESS for ELLs test
ordering began this month and the deadline to have the tests ordered from
Metri-Tech is Jan. 30.
The phone number for Metri-Tech is 1-800-747-4868.
To see all the important ACCESS for ELL dates visit: http://www.wida.us/membership/states/Oklahoma.aspx