Study: Tulsa Head Start Program Produces Lasting Positive Effects

Aug 18, 2016
classroom floor
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

An analysis of participants in a Tulsa Head Start program found many indicators that the federal early-education program works — and the positive effects last into middle school.

Overall, participants in the Community Action Project Head Start program had higher math scores, lower rates of grade retention and were less likely to be chronically absent.

The findings are significant because they contrast with other research showing the program’s positive effects fade quickly.

Teachers In Oklahoma Expected To Spend Hundreds On Classroom Supplies

Aug 14, 2016
Tulsa high school history teacher Vince Facione expected to spend at least $300 before the first day of school. He gives each of his 190 students a three-ring binder.
Clifton Adcock / Oklahoma Watch

Elementary music teacher Tony Flores’ entire classroom budget for the year will be expended on music for three performances. Last year, he bought new instruments, to the tune of $1,000 out of his own bank account.

In Danielle Childers’ pre-kindergarten classroom, students will have snacks for snack time, mats for naptime and stickers for a job well done, but the cost of those items falls on her.

empty classroom
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Leaders of the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration are supporting a legal challenge filed in the state Supreme Court this week by Oklahoma City attorney David Slane.

The Norman Public Schools' administrative offices.
Jennifer Palmer / Oklahoma Watch

Parents upset over the axing of a Norman Public Schools language program are driving an effort to create what could be the state’s second charter school allowed outside Oklahoma City and Tulsa under a new law.

A group of parents is asking the district to sponsor the school, which would continue the mission of a French immersion program that was eliminated in the spring at Reagan Elementary School to save the district $400,000. The charter school, Le Monde International School, also would offer Spanish immersion.

Archdiocese of Oklahoma City Archbishop Paul Coakley and Renee Alvarado Porter at the announcement for the new Cristo Rey high school on Aug. 4, 2016.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

A new Catholic high school geared toward low income students will open in Oklahoma City in the fall of 2017. The Archdiocese of Oklahoma City announced Thursday that the new Cristo Rey school will be located on Oklahoma State University’s Oklahoma City campus.


The Cristo Rey model heavily uses work-study. All students work at a partner corporation one day a week.


Oklahoma's new academic standards
Emily Wendler / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

School starts Monday for Oklahoma City Public Schools, and many more districts across the state will begin classes in the coming weeks. With the new year comes new academic standards, but the teacher training on these new standards may be compromised by tight school budgets.

“With the current budget situation, I’m not going to lie, our professional development budget was one of the first things that they cut,” said Shannon Thompson, the Dean of Academics for Moore Public Schools.

Kevin McDonald, Edmond Memorial High School English teacher, directs the percussion session of the band during a practice in Edmond, Okla., on Thursday.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

State officials are considering what to do with $140.8 million dollars cut from state agencies in the middle of Fiscal Year 2016, but can now be spent. The money is available because General Revenue Fund reductions required by FY 2016’s midyear revenue failure were deeper than necessary.

Gov. Mary Fallin says she is considering using the money to fund teacher pay raises.

Parents and teachers attending the July 25, 2016 Edmond City Council meeting to support State Question 779.
Jay Williams / Twitter

The City of Edmond passed a resolution Monday night opposing a ballot initiative this fall that would raise Oklahoma’s sales tax by 1 percent to pay for education.

The tax hike would raise about $615 million per year for common and higher education in the state, but Edmond city leaders are worried it would hinder economic development. Oklahoma is the only state in the U.S. where cities and towns rely on local sales taxes as their primary source of revenue.

Tracy McDaniel, principal and co-founder of KIPP Reach Academy in Oklahoma City, said the school has been working on increasing its retention rate of students.
Michael Willmus / Oklahoma Watch

A little-known trend in KIPP Reach Academy's school enrollment casts a new light on its achievement record – a record considered when the charter school’s expansionproposal went before the Oklahoma City school board Monday.

Nearly three years ago, Gov. Mary Fallin requested an investigation into allegations of fraud against the state’s largest virtual charter school.

State agents launched the probe of Epic Charter Schools and, about a year later, turned their findings over to the Attorney General’s Office.

Since then, no charges have been filed against Epic or its employees, and no announcement has been made about the case.

The Oklahoma City Public Schools administration building.
Oklahoma Watch

Oklahoma City Public Schools released a more detailed breakdown of its massive budget cuts Thursday afternoon, showing specifically how cuts could affect students this school year.

The district’s fine arts budget will be slashed by 50 percent. The entire library media budget will be eliminated, which will impact the purchase of new resources for all schools. The elementary school budget will be reduced by $10 per student – from $25 to $15 – affecting funds for classroom supplies and other needs.

Jacob McCleland / KGOU

A waning number of applicants, coupled with a dramatic cut in state funds, is throwing into reverse Teach for America’s efforts to place teachers in public-school classrooms in Oklahoma.

The national program recruits college graduates and professionals to commit to a two-year stint in mostly low-income, struggling schools.

Rodney Redus of Oklahoma City votes at the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics polling location in Tuesday's primary. Only 47 voters had cast their ballots at the site as of 2:30 p.m.
Trevor Brown / Oklahoma Watch

The potential size of a so-called “teacher caucus” in the Legislature was significantly whittled down Tuesday after 20 current or former educators lost their primary battles.

Many of the candidates running on a platform of increasing state funding for public schools and teacher salaries were taken down by members of their own party and will not advance to November’s general election.

Amber England, the director of Stand for Children Oklahoma, calls the OCPA Impact legal challenge to State Question 779 a "delay tactic."
Oklahoma Watch / Twitter

Supporters of a ballot measure that would increase the sales tax in Oklahoma by one percent and generate about $615 million per year say a legal challenge against the proposal is simply a delay tactic.

The lobbying arm of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs filed the lawsuit Thursday, alleging the measure’s title and summary are inaccurate and misleading. But proponents of State Question 779 say the ballot measure is the only viable option on the table to raise teacher salaries.

Mike Mason taught science at Putnam City and Mustang high schools.
Oklahoma Watch

The idea of running for public office, much less being part of the Oklahoma Legislature, was never on Mike Mason’s mind during his 31-year career as a science teacher at Putnam City High School and Mustang High School.

That, however, changed after he agreed to meet with Oklahoma Education Association leaders earlier this year about whether he would consider running for office. Already upset at the state’s relatively low education funding, Mason received encouragement and decided to jump into the Senate District 47 contest in south Oklahoma City.