SDE: Educator Currents Newsletter for All OK Educators

Educator Currents

Free Dental Screenings, July 31

As an educator, you understand that children learn best when they are healthy, and yet one of the most overlooked and most important ingredients is oral health. Did you know that tooth decay is the most prevalent chronic condition among children in the United States? Or that more than 51 million school hours are lost each year due to dental related illness?

Smile graphic

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 state-wide 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!

So 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.

Summer Reading image

Students Urged to Read 5 for Summer

Governor Mary Fallin and State Superintendent Janet Barresi kicked off the State Department of Education’s 2013 Summer Reading Program – Read 5 for Summer – earlier this month.

Research shows that if children read at least five books on the appropriate reading level over the summer it will help them return to school ready to learn.

Bookmarks were sent to each elementary school child in the state along with letters for parents in both English and Spanish as well as tips for questions to ask before, during and after the reading experience.

The bookmarks have space for a child's Lexile score as well as lines to record the titles of five books read during the summer. They can return their bookmarks to their school librarians in the fall for recognition and rewards.

School and public librarians, as well as teachers, can help children record their Lexile scores on the bookmarks. Parents and others also can look up a child’s reading level on the State Department of Education’s Lexile page:

The Oklahoma Department of Libraries and the Metropolitan Library System are supporting the State Department of Education’s Read 5 for Summer program, which is running in conjunction with the library’s own summer reading program, Dig into Reading.

The books children read over the summer will count for both the SDE and Department of Libraries summer reading programs.

Watch a video of the kickoff event here:

Summer Math Challenge Image

Free Summer Math Challenge 

On average, all students lose approximately 2.6 months of grade level equivalency in math skills over the summer months.

The Summer Math Challenge is a free, six-week, email-based, math skills program targeted to students who have just completed second through fifth grades. Parents receive daily emails with fun activities and resources to help kids retain the math skills learned during the previous school year.

Join the Summer Math Challenge

  1. Go to to enroll your child.
  2. Starting Monday, 6/24, check your inbox for daily emails with fun math activities and resources.
  3. Visit every day to read about the weekly math concept and earn badges.
  4. When the program ends on Friday, August 2, print an award certificate to celebrate your child's summer accomplishment!

Teacher of the Year Applications

There is still time to submit 2014 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year applications.  The application is located on the Teacher of the Year webpage at on the State Department of Education website.  Applications are to be postmarked or delivered to the SDE no later than June 7, 2013.

Maryetta Student a Doodle for Google Finalist

Jenna Hooper, a fourth-grade student at Maryetta Elementary School in Adair County, recently was named as Oklahoma’s only state finalist in the Doodle for Google art contest for the 2013-2014 school year.  Jenna’s image of A Tie-Dye World can be found at:

Jenna and her family will now be invited to New York City where the overall national finalist will be announced on May 23. 

Congratulations to Jenna and all of the other students who participated in the contest this year!

Vision 2020 Graphic

Sign Up for Vision 2020

All Oklahoma teachers, administrators and other educators should register now to attend the State Department of Education's summer professional development conference - Vision 2020.

To register or learn more information, go to

The conference features the 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.

The schedule of keynote speakers for the event has changed. Over the next few weeks, we will feature one of the main keynotes in this column.

Ron Clark photo

Known to many as "America's Educator," Ron Clark is the 2000 Disney American Teacher of the Year, a two-time New York Times Bestselling author, the subject of a television movie and the founder of The Ron Clark Academy. Ron is regularly featured on network and cable television (The Today Show, CNN and Oprah,) and was dubbed by Winfrey as her first "Phenomenal Man."

Clark brings charisma, energy and devotion to the education profession. He pioneered innovative projects in rural North Carolina working with minority students in a low wealth area. 

Clark also will hold a book signing at Vision 2020. 

His books include the New York Times bestselling The Essential 55, which includes his 55 expectations of students - as well as all individuals - young and old; The Excellent 11, which  captures the attention of parents, educators and students alike; the New York Times Best Seller The End of Molasses Classes: Getting Our Kids Unstuck – 101 Extraordinary Solutions for Parents and Teachers, which brings to light 101 innovative and classroom-tested ways for improving America’s schools and leading our children to greatness. 

Continue Receiving Newsletters

The State Department of Education will continue communicating important events, professional development schedules, grant opportunities and other significant news throughout the summer. All educators should make sure they continue receiving these updates throughout the summer. To sign up using your personal or a new school email address click here, or use the subscriber options at the bottom of this email communication.

Talented Teachers, Leaders Sought

The Oklahoma State Department of Education is looking for the state’s best and brightest educators to engage in professional collaboration and leadership opportunities in a variety of ways at the state level. These educators also may be eligible for future awards and recognition.

Take an opportunity to recommend teachers, educators and/or principals who have demonstrated exceptional educational talent and exemplary educational accomplishments, and who are engaging and inspiring. The State Department of Education and other agencies will consider using the input of these educators in our various policy working groups, such as Teacher Leader Effectiveness Evaluations and Oklahoma Academic Standards. Click on this link to download the recommendation form that will need to be completed and returned to the SDE by Friday, May 31, 2013. Detailed information on where to submit the recommendation is located on page four of the form.

Future City Enrollment Open

Enrollment for the Oklahoma Future City Competition is now open at City is a hands-on learning Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) competition that energizes students and adults.  Future City addresses a wide range of topics: computer, social studies, math, writing, research, speech, art, creativity, teamwork & planning.  An official team consists of three student presenters, a teacher and engineer mentor.  It is recommended to use up to a dozen students and narrow down to the three presenters.  The registration fee is $25 per school, and each school can have up to six teams.  Each registered school will receive a copy of SimCity.  The previous physical models and presentations along with contact information and the schedule are located at: