The Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce presented the State of the Schools on August 14th.  A few OKCMAR members were in attendance, including Board member Glen Cosper and Government Affairs Director Gary Jones. 

The presentation by the OKCPS executive team was both informative and exciting. They kicked off their presentation by highlighting the implementation of the Pathway to Greatness.  P2G was the plan adopted in March to consolidate and re-purpose schools in the district. This resulted in monetary savings that will be used to provide counseling, arts and PE programs at every school.

P2G also will result in schools having a larger student population, which will provide more funding through economies of scale at each school. Prior to the implementation of P2G, many schools in the district were half full of students.  These extra dollars will ensure they have the necessary funding to provide key services and programs that they could not previously afford.

They also talked about 4 of the lowest performing schools who were targeted to be part of a school transformation pilot program in conjunction with the University of Virginia. It is hoped that they will serve as incubators for initiatives that can be implemented to improve the quality of education in schools throughout the district.  

They also discussed their collaboration through the OKC Public Schools Compact, a collective impact model whose partners are the Oklahoma City Public Schools, the Oklahoma City Chamber, the Oklahoma City Public Schools Foundation, the United Way of Central Oklahoma, and the City of Oklahoma City to support improvements identified by the Oklahoma City Public Schools.

Modeled after Read OKC, Embrace OKC is the Compact’s newest collaborative initiative with a focus on mental health.

Embrace OKC means that we have come together, as a community:

◦ To embrace mental health as preventable and treatable

◦ To protect children’s mental health for life

◦ To achieve maximum social and emotional well being for children and their families; and

◦ To hold the school and community as a sanctuary of safety and support.

OKCPS worked with our partner at the state level, the Oklahoma State Department of Mental Health, to administer the Oklahoma Prevention Needs Assessment (OPNA) survey to more than 7,000 of our students in 6th, 8th, 10th and 12th grades. The survey was paid for by our amazing Compact partners.

The OPNA results helped us identify patterns, risks, and behaviors that can drive prevention and support services. It also provided us with the data needed to create a comprehensive, district-wide mental health action plan to address some of the challenges that OKCPS students and families are experiencing.

Glen Cosper said, “I’m excited for Oklahoma City Public Schools having New STEM/Maker labs in every grade school to start this year and propel the great new plan to move the district forward. These skills are crucial for 21st Century Learners. Give them a couple of weeks to get used to the changes ,the movement is in a very positive direction. 

He added, “As REALTORS®, the guest speaker praised Oklahoma City for our progress but also gave us ideas to improve more in expanding education and business partnerships.”

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