3 minute read

The Oklahoma City Public Schools Board of Education approved new policies concerning student searches, weapons in schools, and other policies at the end of lengthy committee work.

In addition, the school calendar was modified to catch up time from the pandemic disruption. It is designed to produce as little overall adjustment as possible and still meet the minimum instruction time set by the State of Oklahoma each year.

An update of the district’s strategic plan was approved.

District 1 Board member Charles Henry and District 5 Board member Ruth Veales did not attend.

Calendar catch-up

In order to catch up for lost time due to the pandemic and the ice storm, two days will be added to the OKCPS calendar.

February 15 and May 26 now will become instructional days. February 15 was scheduled as a non-instructional day and May 26 becomes the new last day of school when May 25 originally had that designation.

In addition, ten minutes will be added to the school day for all students starting January 4, 2021.

School hours beginning January 4, 2021 are as follows:

  • Elementary | 8:15 am – 3:15 pm
  • Middle School | 9:05 am – 4:05 pm
  • High School | 7:30 am – 2:30 pm
  • (Classen SAS HS at NE follows Elementary schedule)
  • Pre-K Sites | 7:55 am – 2:55 pm
  • Willow Brook Elementary | 8:15 am – 3:15 pm
  • Spencer Elementary | 8:30 am – 3:30 pm
  • Rogers Elementary | 8:45 am – 3:45 pm
  • Star Spencer Mid-High | 7:30 am – 3:30 pm
  • Alternative Education Sites (Emerson North, Emerson South and Putnam Heights) | Students should check with their teacher or administrator regarding any changes to school hours.

New policies

Several new policies were adopted Monday after a policy committee headed by Board Member Carrie Jacobs worked on details and reported back to the board frequently in the process.

Weapons-Free schools

A revision of an earlier weapons policy was voted in 6-0 to keep the district in full compliance with the Gun-Free Schools Act.

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Student searches

The most significant change to the search policy was to specify that the search of a student will be by a person of the same sex as the student and witnessed by an authorized person of the same sex.

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Parent participation

Parents are allowed to withdraw their child from any activity if the parent believes the activity is harmful. New language was added that specifies how parents may object to sex education for their child. The policy also has a specific list of parents’ rights in the district.

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Social media

Revisions in the policy on how district employees are to conduct themselves in social media in relation to students was updated to make expectations clearer and bring the policy up to the current circumstances of social media.

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Other policy changes had to do with updating language that was once required under the “No Child Left Behind” federal policies about teacher qualifications, and various language changes.

Strategic Plan

Dr. Rebecca Kaye, Chief of Information and Accountability presented the final version to the Board after having engaged with focus groups and other meetings to get ideas on updating The Great Commitment. Kaye reported that what consistently came out of that process was that district leadership needed to emphasize the “why” of The Great Commitment more than the “what.”

From that process, the next Great Commitment for 2020-25, is to focus around the theme Together, We Rise, including new elements, such as:

  • a vision, core values and mission that articulate where we are going as an organization, what makes OKCPS special, and the work we do each day to make progress toward our vision.
  • a “Profile of a Graduate” designed in collaboration with our community that describes the promises we are making to the young people in our care
  • a Theory of Action that describes the way we think change will happen in OKCPS
  • our vision of educational equity and the culture we wish to build in OKCPS

This is the slide deck Kaye used in the presentation to the Board who voted unanimously to approve the 2020-2025 OKCPS Strategic Plan:

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Bonds

Bonds are how government entities like school districts borrow money that the taxpayers pay back by percentages of their property taxes.

The Board voted to accept a bid from an investment company and to issue $19.5 million in bonds for projects.

This round of bonds was issued under the 2016 bond authorization by voters.


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