'Traveling teachers' are commonplace at southside OKC schools

Students are not the only ones displaced by school overcrowding in the Oklahoma City school district.
by Tim Willert Modified: March 25, 2014 at 3:00 pm •  Published: March 24, 2014

It’s a sign of the times on Oklahoma City’s south side, where dozens of teachers don’t have a classroom to call home.

Instead, they move their papers, textbooks and laptops from one classroom to the next, where they are reminded of their visitor status by another teacher’s decorations and pictures of another teacher’s family on the desk.

“When you go into another classroom, you feel like you have to ask permission for everything to do in there,” said Payden Reynolds, one of 16 “traveling” teachers at Capitol Hill High School, 500 SW 36. “If it’s your own classroom, you can do whatever you want.”

Challenge for district

The problem is not limited to Capitol Hill, which has grown from 750 to 1,250 students in five years, Principal Alex Souza said Monday. U.S. Grant High School has 26 traveling teachers, and three middle schools in the area — Jefferson, Roosevelt and Webster — have a combined 35 teachers without their own classrooms.

“It’s a big challenge,” said Souza, who estimated that Capitol Hill teachers without classrooms lose an average of 10 minutes of instructional time per period because of the arrangement, designed to maximize the use of every classroom every hour of the school day.

To combat a sharp increase in enrollment at several southside schools, the Oklahoma City School Board is considering a plan to relieve school overcrowding by relocating hundreds of southside students to schools on the north side beginning with the 2014-15 school year.

Under the proposal, 224 students from U.S. Grant would attend Northwest Classen High School and 169 students from Capitol Hill would attend Douglass Mid-High School. Hundreds of middle school students also would be affected by the plan, which the board is expected to vote on Monday.

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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