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Oklahoma City's new school superintendent makes plans to build curriculum staff

Oklahoma City Public Schools Superintendent Rob Neu said the school district’s curriculum department is too small to be effective and it lacks leadership in several core subject areas.
by Tim Willert Modified: July 27, 2014 at 10:00 pm •  Published: July 27, 2014
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Oklahoma City Public Schools Superintendent Rob Neu speaks July 3 during a tour of the summer learning program sponsored by the city of Oklahoma City and the school district. By David McDaniel, The Oklahoman Archives
  David McDaniel -
Oklahoma City Public Schools Superintendent Rob Neu speaks July 3 during a tour of the summer learning program sponsored by the city of Oklahoma City and the school district. By David McDaniel, The Oklahoman Archives David McDaniel -

Oklahoma City Public Schools Superintendent Rob Neu is moving forward with plans to bolster one key department and revamp another in hopes of improving the district’s poor academic standing.

Neu said the district’s curriculum department is too small to be effective and lacks leadership in several core subject areas.

“There is very little curriculum support here,” he said. “I knew that we were not heavily staffed, but I did not know the degree to which we were understaffed.”

Neu said the district is in the process of building a curriculum department to rival that of his former school district in the Seattle suburb of Federal Way.

That district is about half the size of the Oklahoma City district but had two to three times the staff dedicated to course development, according to Neu.

Aurora Lora, the Harvard-educated administrator Neu hired to develop, implement and supervise district curriculum, said she was surprised at how poorly staffed the department was.

“I have never seen a district with such a small curriculum department,” she said. “I definitely think it (has) contributed to the lack of support for teachers and principals in terms of curriculum help.”

Lora previously worked for school districts in Seattle and Portland that were comparable in size to Oklahoma City.

“They had much larger curriculum departments and had all the core areas covered,” she said

To counter the deficiency, Lora said the district is seeking to hire a secondary literacy coordinator, elementary and secondary math coordinators, elementary and secondary science coordinators and a K-12 social studies coordinator.

Lora, the district’s associate superintendent of student achievement and accountability, also wants to add an advanced academics coordinator to oversee programs for gifted and talented students that include advanced placement and international baccalaureate programs.

“We’re also interested in adding someone for world languages,” she said.

Also in the works are new pacing guides for teachers that are aligned to state standards for every grade level, Lora said.

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by Tim Willert
Education Reporter
Tim Willert is a native Californian with Oklahoma ties who covers education. Prior to moving to Oklahoma in June 2011, he was as an editor for FOXSports.com in Century City, Calif., and reported on courts for the Los Angeles Daily Journal and...
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We’ve got to offer incentives to relocate teachers from other states. We’ve got to attract them ... tell them that we’re going to grow them as professionals. We have to pay them a stipend to get them here.”

Rob Neu,
Oklahoma City Public Schools Superintendent

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