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Oklahoma City Council, school board members team up with task force

Members of the Oklahoma City Council and Oklahoma City Public Schools board have formed a task force to look for ways they can help students. City and district staff members attend the meetings. The goal is to brainstorm ways the city and district can help each other.
BY MICHAEL KIMBALL Published: April 29, 2012

It has no official power, but some of the most powerful and influential leaders and staff members in the city and district in the room are in the same room at the same time during the meetings. Momentum can build and a concrete plan can be laid out for policies and projects to be approved at the city council and school board level.

Setting an example

The city's participation in the reading buddies program started with the task force. It quickly grew from about 20 participants to 70, with the potential for more. Students responded the way organizers hoped by showing excitement about reading and wanting to get better.

“They've been reading more than one book every week, because they'll get through one but want to stay with their reading buddies,” said Rachelle Taylor, who coordinates the reading buddy program for the district.

It's just one example of the many efforts, large and small, that it will take to keep improving students' performance. The task force's aim is not only to find ways the city can help make it possible, but to encourage corporations and community groups around the city to think of ways they can help as well.

“We've got a long ways to go,” said Ryan, White's fellow city councilman. “Maybe as an example, the city can show what it can do and what needs to be done.”