Oklahoma City Public Schools

The Oklahoma City Public Schools administration building.
Oklahoma Watch

Oklahoma City Public Schools has reached a settlement with the U.S. Department of Education to address the disproportionate discipline of black students in the district.

Oklahoma City Public Schools superintendent Rob Neu speaks to reporters in August 2014, shortly after taking the position.
Oklahoma City Public Schools / Facebook

Less than two years ago, Rob Neu arrived from the Seattle area to become superintendent of Oklahoma’s largest school district, Oklahoma City Public Schools.

On Monday, news broke that Neu is planning to resign.

Oklahoma Watch

Updated April 15, 8:01 a.m.

The Oklahoma City Public Schools superintendent is "out of the office."

That's all the district's board of education said after meeting for five hours in executive session Thursday night to discuss the employment status of Rob Neu. After the meeting Board Chair Lynne Hardin said Neu has not submitted a resignation, but Associate Superintendent Aurora Lora has been assigned the additional responsibilities of superintendent in addition to her current role.

Ada City Schools Superintendent Pat Harrison says his district will save about $30,000 by cutting six days from the remainder of the school year.
Richard R. Barron / The Ada News

Oklahoma requires one of the shortest school years in the nation, in terms of instructional days.

But that hasn’t stopped a growing number of districts from ending their school year early this year or moving to four-day weeks to deal with cutbacks in state funding.

Oklahoma City Public Schools superintendent Rob Neu addresses reporters during an April 21, 2015 news conference about the district's discipline practices toward minority students.
Oklahoma Watch / YouTube

Oklahoma City Public Schools said Friday 92 administrative positions will be eliminated in order to save about $5 million in the 2016/2017 school year. That's about an 18 percent reduction in the overall administrative workforce.

59 of those jobs will be at the Central Office, and 33 will be at campuses throughout the district. That comes on top of the 208 teacher position cuts announced last month.

The Oklahoma City Public Schools administration building.
Oklahoma Watch

The Oklahoma City Public Schools district proposes addressing racial disparities in discipline through an “intense process” of reforms, an attorney for the district told the school board Monday evening.

The proposal is intended to resolve a 2014 complaint being investigated by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights that the school district disciplined minority students more frequently and more harshly.

Karen Burston, of Oklahoma City, is tearful as she talks about what she believes is the discrimination she and her son have faced at Sequoyah Elementary School. Burston’s son is in a special education program.
Victor Henderson / Oklahoma Watch

A federal civil rights agency has opened its fourth investigation into Oklahoma City Public Schools, this time focused on claims that school officials discriminated against special education students.

Officials with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights said the newest investigation, filed on Dec. 3, examines whether the district applied different treatment, exclusion or denial of benefits to students with disabilities.

Contractors discovered chalk drawings and lessons on blackboards in Emerson High School, dating to 1917.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Updated July 21, 7:40 a.m.: The Oklahoma City Public School Board voted without discussion during its board meeting to temporarily cover up the century-old chalkboards at Emerson Alternative School so renovations at the site can continue.

The drawings from 1917 were discovered last month, and school officials want to find a way to preserve them. The cover-up approved Tuesday night is expected to cost about $26,000.

Original Post

Contractors discovered chalk drawings and lessons on blackboards in Emerson High School, dating to 1917.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

A construction crew working on a school in Oklahoma City made a startling discovery earlier this month. Behind the walls at Emerson High School, they found old chalkboards containing class lessons, written in chalk almost a century ago. And chalk drawings, in remarkable condition.

Math teacher Sherry Read’s classroom is a total mess. Light fixtures dangle from the ceiling. The floor has a layer of dust. Down the hallway, workers make a racket in another classroom.

Thelma R. Parks Elementary School in Northeast Oklahoma City, which had the highest overall suspension rate in Oklahoma City at 42.1 percent.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

The higher number of black student suspensions starts at an early age in Oklahoma City, where 12 elementary schools suspended more than 40 percent of their black students in 2011-2012.

Data from the U.S. Department of Education show black students in elementary schools are consistently suspended at higher rates than their white peers in Oklahoma City.

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