THE road to improvement for Oklahoma City Public Schools is long and hard. Those who’ve been paying attention have known this for years. For those not as familiar, the reminders are frequent.
A recent news story from The Oklahoman’s Adam Kemp provided just such a reminder. Kemp detailed jaw-dropping statistics about the level of violence even among young students in the state’s largest school district. He explained how safety was a critical focus of the district’s new leadership. Kemp told the story of one elementary school battling back from its academic and disciplinary struggles.
“The police were here every day,” Bodine Elementary Principal Nikki Coshow said of the 2012-13 school year. “If it wasn’t kids fighting then it was parents fighting in the parking lot.” In the school year that just ended, it was Coshow who became fighter-in-chief — for her students and their school.
As a result, parents and school leaders say the school is safer and students are happier. Improving student achievement is the critical focus. There’s a laundry list of reasons why the school is headed in the right direction. We’d venture to guess that strong, dedicated leadership — and the type of teachers attracted by such leadership — are Bodine’s greatest assets. Changes have improved parental involvement at the school, too.
Bodine, like the district as a whole, has a long way to go. But there are other victories on this road as well. The Oklahoman’s Tim Willert recently featured five Oklahoma City students who participated in the inaugural graduation ceremony for the district’s first virtual school. The education background of each student is unique, but they all faced challenges to completing their high school education. One graduate is a 20-year-old single mom of two daughters, including a newborn.
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