John Rex Charter School Board of Education met at noon Thursday and saw the first draft of the school’s promised nondiscrimination policy.
Headed by Carrie Coppernoll-Jacobs, the Policy Committee developed a draft that is intended to directly address concerns raised by a group of John Rex parents and the public after a flap over statements former OKC Mayor Kirk Humphries made about homosexuality on a local TV program.
The draft was submitted to the board Thursday as an information item to be discussed by board members, parents and staff.
It will come up for a vote at the next regular meeting of the board April 19.
The proposed policy would prohibit discrimination based on
• national or ethnic origin
• sexual orientation
• gender identity or expression
• genetic information
• socioeconomic status (e.g. income level)
• disability status (e.g. mental, physical, or other)
• veteran status
• family and marital status
• or any other status protected by federal, state, or local law.
The policy adds that John Rex shall not “discriminate against a student for enrollment purposes based on proficiency in the English language or measures of achievement, aptitude, or athletic ability.”John Rex Non-discrimination Policy 2018-02-15 13.59.45
“We wanted to not take too long to get this in place, but we didn’t want to rush, either,” said Coppernoll-Jacobs.
She pointed out to Free Press that the last statement about “measures of achievement, aptitude, or athletic ability” is not in the OKCPS nondiscrimination policy.
The policy applies to the entire board, which is also not the case with OKCPS, the district that reviews the John Rex charter yearly.
The Policy Committee decided to introduce a practice used by Oklahoma City Public Schools Board of Education, which is to introduce new policy proposals at one board meeting and then take up the item at the next meeting.
The practice is used widely in public schools as a way of giving board members, staff and stakeholders time to discuss a matter and avoid contentious showdowns at board meetings.
Other takeaways from the meeting:
- University of Oklahoma’s new sponsor representative on the board is Dr. Kelly Feille, an education professor.
- Bob Ross, President and CEO, Inasmuch Foundation and one of the six board members appointed by Oklahoma City Quality Schools, reported that some time “this week” the organization would publish names of their board on their website.
- The yearly audit was presented for 2016-17 by Larry Bledsoe of Sanders, Bledsoe & Hewett, CPAs. Bledsoe said it “is rare for a charter school to have no audit exceptions.”
- Assistant Head of School Molly Goldsworthy gave a report on how John Rex students compared with the rest of the state on state tests given spring, 2017. John Rex Students achieved higher scores than their counterparts throughout the state.
- Dr. Joe Pierce reported that staff and student body are well-rehearsed on intruder procedures that the Oklahoma City Police Department helped them to develop.
John Rex Charter Elementary is in downtown OKC at 500 W. Sheridan.
Test score comparisons presented by Asst Head of School Molly Goldsworthy:Item 3d_JRCES Comparative State Test Data 2017