EngageOK Teachers: Teachers' Passion for Kids Captures Nation's Attention

EngageOK Teachers

May 2018


State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister stands with teachers April 2, for the historic first day of the teacher walkout at the Capitol.

Teachers’ Passion for Kids Captures Nation’s Attention

walkoutDear Teachers,

During Teacher Appreciation Week, I reflected on the commitment, passion and determination of Oklahoma educators whose advocacy for their students captured the attention and hearts of communities across the nation.

I was inspired time and again during last month’s walkout by the selflessness of the teachers with whom I visited. As we move forward, know that I share your fierce devotion to Oklahoma schoolkids, and that together we will ensure this year is only the beginning of a strong commitment by lawmakers for long-term investment in public education.

Thank you to each of you who put your heart and soul into educating our kids – each and every day.

With respect and gratitude,
Joy Hofmeister, State Superintendent of Public Instruction



EngageOK on the Road to Stop in 7 Towns in July

Pick from over 100 different sessions and earn up to six hours of professional development credit at our annual professional development conference, EngageOK on the Road. We will be visiting Ada, Owasso, Bartlesville, Norman, Durant, Duncan and Woodward on select dates July 9-19 this year!

engagedatesThousands of educators are expected to attend this FREE annual training event that includes important updates on federal and state education law.

Workshops will focus on a variety of topics, including:

  • Special Education
  • School Support & Family Engagement
  • Education Technology
  • Curriculum & Instruction
  • American Indian Education
  • Grant Writing
  • Federal Programs
  • Ag in the Classroom
  • Assessment & Accountability
  • Counseling
  • College & Career Readiness
  • Teacher & Leader Effectiveness
  • FY19 Budget Overview

The Joy Lunch Club will return this year, where you’ll have the opportunity to ask Superintendent Hofmeister questions in a casual setting. You’ll also learn from students what they wish their teachers knew in the eye-opening student advisory panel sessions.

The conference program isn’t final just yet … stay tuned for details. To register, click here

State Adopts Standards for Computer Science

updateIn addition to educator and support staff pay increase bills HB 1023xx and HB 1026xx, which were signed into law this spring, there were several other notable pieces of education legislation passed:

New computer science standards: Oklahoma joins only nine other states in providing expectations for computer science education and is one of just three to do so with grade-specific standards. Written for each grade level, beginning in kindergarten, the standards are intended to guide teachers as they integrate computer science objectives across core subject areas. (SJR 72

Better support for first-year teachers: New language redefines the teacher residency program to provide greater support for first-year teachers and teachers transitioning to new roles. (HB 3309

Advanced teaching certificates: New lead and master teaching certificates, which offer salary supplements and additional days to be used to strengthen leadership, may soon be available to veteran teachers. (SB 980

Task force on trauma-informed care:  A new group will study and make recommendations to the Legislature and recommend evidence-based best practices for teacher training. (SB 1517

More classroom grant opportunities: Through a tax return checkoff box, taxpayers can donate their refunds to the Public School Classroom Support Revolving Fund, which issues grants to teachers for classroom supplies, materials or equipment. (SB 1198)

Greatest Education Resource Is Each Other

By Jon Hazell, 2017 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year

hazellI just returned from our National Teacher of the Year conference in Washington, D.C., where we learned about the almost unlimited resources to help enhance the teacher’s work in the classroom. From Google for Education and Scholastic, to Corwin and the Smithsonian, to countless other entities, you can check out their websites and programs to help you do your job more effectively.

But my greatest take-away has nothing to do with any of these professional development opportunities now at our fingertips through today’s technology. My greatest takeaway is that the oldest resource on the books is still the most effective: each other. When we come together to collaborate, encourage and support one another, we find there is no greater resource than a strong team of like-minded professionals working together toward the same noble goal – to provide our children every opportunity to receive the quality education they need to be successful in life.

Those bonds we form and support systems we develop will strengthen and sustain us long past whatever opportunities all of the latest research and technology will provide.

I encourage you to work just as hard at developing connections and relationships with your peers as you do with your students. After 35 years in this profession, that is still one of the most important facets of my love for the job. I really feel that all 56 State Teachers of the Year would echo this sentiment. The strength and support we find when we work together will always be our greatest resource.

Stay encouraged as we head down the final stretch of this year!

TOYTOY APPLICATION: The 2019 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year application is now available. Download the 2019 application packet here.

Applications are due to the Oklahoma State Department of Education by Wednesday, May 23. For more information, visit the Oklahoma Teacher of the Year web page.

Build a Sense of Belonging

By Robbyn Glinsmann, OSDE Director of GT, AP and Avid

The old adage, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” never rings truer than in a classroom. People are born with an innate need to establish close relationships with others, and students thrive on this day in and day out in.

Research has linked students’ sense of belonging to increased social and academic engagement (Stipek et al. 1998; Furrer and Skinner 2003). In other words, teachers can create a sense of belonging by modeling and encouraging positive attitudes and actions, such as a willingness to try new things, openness to new ideas from others, honesty and generosity. 

When students see that their teacher cares for them, they begin to develop a positive outlook on school and academics because the positive words teachers say take shape in their lives. When students have a positive outlook, they are more confident in themselves, willing to plan for the future and willing to take risks to achieve what they believe. 

So what do teachers really make in our world? They make a difference!

Get More Classroom Ideas From Summer Conferences

AITCposterYou won't want to miss “mAGnificient Oklahoma,” the Ag in the Classroom State Summer Conference on July 13 at Metro Tech in Oklahoma City.

This year, participants will learn about grant opportunities and free programs from Oklahoma agriculture commodity groups. Free lunch will be served.

Leave energized and ready to engage young minds after learning how easy and fun it is to implement agriculture into your classroom!

To register, click here.

Congratulations to Wellston High School's Sidney Wilson and her teacher Alisha Wallace for her winning poster in the AITC annual contest, pictured above. To see more statewide winners, click here.

ED CAMP FOR ALTERNATIVE EDUCATION: Oklahoma educators are invited to the first statewide Ed Camp for Alternative Education hosted by the Oklahoma Alternative School Education Association. Ed Camp is a participant-driven professional development opportunity where teachers set the agenda on the day. Come armed with topics of discussion related to local needs and interests. The free Ed Camp will be June 21 in El Reno. For more information and to register, click here.

AP SUMMER INSTITUTE: Registration is now open for the 2018 Advanced Placement Summer Institute held at the University of Oklahoma, June 25-28. The institute is designed to give new and experienced AP and Pre-AP teachers new ideas and resource materials to use in their classrooms. Registration deadline is June 1. For more information, click here.

findyourfutureFUTURE EDUCATORS: Encourage your high school students interested in teaching to apply for the Find Your Future Summer Education Camp! This free, five-day residential program hosted by the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education at the University of Oklahoma is designed to recruit and prepare high school students of color who are interested in becoming educators in order to address the critical shortage of educators from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds in the state and across the country. For more information about the camp, held July 15-20, click here.

First-Year Educator Voices Needed for Quick Survey


OSDE’s Teacher Residency Program pairs beginning teachers with mentors to provide professional support, mentorship and coaching. To improve the program, we’re asking first-year teachers, counselors and librarians to participate in a short survey.

The survey should take approximately 15 minutes to complete. Data will be reported only in aggregate form and will not be connected to any district or school. To take the survey, click here.


News From Across the State

icumiLIVING HISTORY LESSON: Jenks teacher Kristi Forman asked her ninth-graders to write a “living history” based on their interviews with seniors at nearby Grace Living Center. To watch the video, click here.

DECISION DAY: McAlester High School, inspired by the NCAA’s National Signing Day, held a special event to honor its graduates’ decisions to attend college, go to vocational school or enlist in our nation’s military. To read the story, click here.

INNOVATION HUB: Members of the public are encouraged to walk through the doors of OU’s experiential learning lab, even without an idea. The staff can provide a design challenge and training on the equipment, like the 3-D printer or laser cutter, to get the job done. To read the story, click here.


edtalkED TALKS: Hope Shepard of Stillwater Public Schools speaks on how she channels influential teachers in her quest to become a “superteacher.” To watch our latest Ed Talks video, click here. To view our entire Ed Talks series, click here.


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Last updated on May 16, 2018