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Oklahoma's lowest performing schools split $36.9M in federal grants

Oklahoma state schools Superintendent Sandy Garrett says that grants for Oklahoma City, Crutcho and Tulsa schools could be 'transformative' for urban districts.
BY MEGAN ROLLAND Published: July 15, 2010

Under the school improvement plan half of the teachers were removed from the school in April after Principal Rodney Stearns evaluated teachers.

"Dr. Stearns has hit the ground running," said Cindy Schmidt, Oklahoma City Public Schools chief academic officer. "He still has some openings, and we are still working on filling those."

The district used a federal grant for improving teacher quality to offer $1,500 signing bonuses for new teachers who commit to teach at Grant for at least three years.

Betsy Mabry said she met two teachers who were moving to Grant next year.

"They are very excited," Mabry said. "They have hearts to turn this school around."

Garrett said it was important to her that the removed teachers were not left out in the cold. She said she was relieved that teachers were offered positions within the district or are now full-time substitutes.

Pending approval from teachers unions and the school board, all three Oklahoma City Public Schools are using a portion of the money to extend the school days for students by 30 to 60 minutes a day.

Douglass Middle School will add 18 school days and F.D. Moon will add 15 school days only for those students in need of remediation.

Tulsa Public Schools and Crutcho Public Schools also included plans to extend school days at their underperforming schools.

Garrett applauded the increased learning time as a key to improving the state's educational system.

"We talk a lot about time and time to learn and we know that's probably key," Garrett said.


Oklahoma City grant applications

These are some of the most significant reforms proposed in the Oklahoma City grants proposal for $12.1 million, and those that will affect students and teachers at the three schools. Some proposals are still awaiting approval by the district school board or teacher's union.

Douglass Middle School, $3.08M

• 30 minutes longer school day (awaiting approval).

• 18 extra days of school (awaiting approval).

• A continuous learning calendar that shortens summer and lengthens breaks.

• Reading and math teachers will receive $50 per student who scores proficient or advanced on the CRT (awaiting approval).

• $6,000 bonus for teachers if goals are met for reading and math standardized tests (awaiting approval).

• $3,000 bonus for teachers who meet the 98 percent teacher attendance rate (awaiting approval).

F.D. Moon Academy, $3.96M

• New principal Marionette Gibson was assigned.

• 60 minutes longer school day (awaiting approval).

• 15 extra days of school for students in need of remediation (awaiting approval).

• $50 bonuses per student proficient or advanced on standardized tests for reading, math and special education teachers (awaiting approval).

• $6,000 bonuses for each teacher if goals are met for reading and math standardized tests (awaiting approval).

U.S. Grant High School, $5.09M

• 60 minutes longer school day from 7:40 a.m. to 3:10 p.m. (awaiting approval).

• $1,500 signing bonus for teachers signing 3-year contracts.

• $1,500 annual bonus for teachers each year goals in math and reading tests are met (awaiting approval).

• Spanish language courses for all teachers for six weeks each semester.


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