Andrew Oster, Edmond
Relationships with students most important in school district
On behalf of Stillwater Public Schools administration, the Board of Education, staff and students, I would like to thank the citizens of Oklahoma for their continued love and support during our time of tragedy. Throughout these tough times, I was constantly reminded of the caring state we live in and thankful for the support our students and staff received.
As Stillwater Public Schools moves forward through the healing process, we'll stay focused on creating a thoughtful and proactive plan, instead of reactive. We'll examine our current practices as they relate to helping students. The majority of our counselors' time is spent on career awareness, state testing and class schedules. Creating a plan so that counselors are more readily available to students is something we're discussing. Stillwater Public Schools is also reviewing the training our staff receives in the areas of suicide and depression awareness.
Stillwater Public Schools is a high-performing district in academics, the arts and athletics and we'll continue this expectation. However, the bottom line is relationships with students. Our goal is to have all of our almost 6,000 students positively connect with at least one adult in our system.
Ann Caine, Stillwater
Caine is superintendent of Stillwater Public Schools. Eighth-grade student Cade Poulos died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound Sept. 26 in a Stillwater Junior High hallway.
Teen drivers' best asset
Teen driver safety begins with parent involvement
Parents are the key to teen driver safety. The more involved parents are in their teens' driving life, the safer these teens will be on the road. In recognition of Teen Driver Safety Week, which starts Sunday, AAA Oklahoma urges parents to:
Be role models. Our children pick up more from how we act than we know. Kids typically subconsciously mimic the driving behaviors of their parents.
Set rules. Oklahoma has a pretty good teen graduated driver licensing law. It sets limits on where novice drivers can drive, at what hours and with how many passengers. But conscientious parents will take these rules to the next level by imposing guidelines on cellphone use while driving, texting, use of seat belts, highway driving and alcohol.
Stay involved. Communication between teen and parent is vital. Ask your kids where they're going, who they'll be with, what roads they'll be on and when they'll be back. When they return, ask them about their driving experiences. How was it? Any problems? Did you encounter any unusual driving scenarios? Talk it out.
Parents not only have the answers, they are the answer to reducing teen drivers' risk on the road. For help, visit www.TeenDriving.AAA.com.
Chuck Mai, Oklahoma City
Mai is vice president of public affairs for AAA Oklahoma.