EngageOK Teachers - August 2018

August 2018


State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister talks with educators at the EngageOK education conference in Owasso.

New Year Brings Fresh Start, But Our Work Continues

Dear Teachers,

August brings with it a new school year and a fresh start for students—and our state. While this month is marked by a significant step forward with long-overdue teacher pay raises, it does not reverse the effects of eroded public school funding for Oklahoma school kids over the past decade.

As educators, we must continue telling the stories of the children in our classrooms. We must ensure that public education remains a top priority—every year.

This new school year brings an opportunity in the Legislature to stop governing in crisis. We know our kids deserve smaller class sizes, and for many of our children, trauma informed-instruction. All of our kids deserve a well-rounded education that prepares them for career certification, college and success in life.

We will continue our statewide shift away from outdated test-prep thinking. Learning for the long run and building momentum and academic growth will replace the harmful past practice of teaching to the test.

Thank you for your advocacy for every student. Thank you for raising your voice for them.

With respect and gratitude,


Joy Hofmeister, State Superintendent of Public Instruction

salaryUpdated FAQs Available to Answer Pay Raise Questions

 We have received questions from many of you regarding your well-deserved pay raise passed last legislative session. As you start the new school year, we want to provide some additional resources to help you determine the impact of the raise in your specific situation. While it would not be possible for us to provide an example for every situation, we hope that you’ll be able to better understand your pay increase through these resources. Click here to check out our updated FAQs for the new salary schedules and sample calculations, specifically Question 3. We’re here to help if you have additional questions.


collaboratingSummer Conference Breaks Records

Thank you to everyone who attended this year’s EngageOK on the Road summer education conference! From Ada to Bartlesville, Norman to Woodward, we enjoyed bringing you a wide range of free professional development this summer. More than 7,000 educators registered this year, setting a new record.

STANDING ROOM ONLY: The return of What Students Wish Their Teachers Knew, along with Working With Students Who Have Experienced Trauma, were among the most popular sessions. The sessions exceeded capacity at most sites, leaving overflow crowds standing, sitting on the floor or watching the livestream from another room.




share PHOTO ALBUMS: We’ve gathered a variety of photos from all stops along our EngageOK statewide tour and uploaded them to our public Flickr account. Browse through the albums below to see if you can spot your friends or coworkers!

Ada Photo Album
Owasso Photo Album
Bartlesville Photo Album
Norman Photo Album
Durant Photo Album
Duncan Photo Album
Woodward Photo Album





elevatingFEEDBACK, PLEASE: We’d love to hear from you. What did you find especially helpful? What are ways we can improve? What sessions were your favorites? What sessions would you like to see next year? We've already heard from hundreds of you and loved your suggestions. Send us an email and make your voice heard.






engagepresentationsIf you missed a session during last month’s EngageOK on the Road conference, want to revisit a topic or simply share a session’s content with a colleague, visit the EngageOK website, where you can view and download your choice of 112 EngageOK PowerPoint presentations!





redbannerLegislation Overview Now Available Online

 Our fourth annual Red Banner Book, detailing education legislation passed in 2018, is now available to download or browse online.

The Red Banner Book is not intended to be all-inclusive or serve as legal advice, but it will give you a general overview of this year’s new laws and legislative actions affecting public education.

To see the Red Banner Book, click here.


Assessment Webinar on Test Results

With the flexibility under ESSA, Oklahoma has seized an important opportunity to usher in a new era -- one with a balanced system of assessments that prioritizes the learning of each individual child.

Every step of the way, from standards revision to test item development, has been driven by Oklahoma teachers. This new system of assessments empowers educators to move beyond the old “one test on one day” philosophy to instead focus on the body of work from each student, using the assessments as one snapshot.

Recently, schools received access to district and state-level results of last spring’s Oklahoma School Testing Program assessments. Listen to our webinar here to learn more as you dive into your scores.

Learn Tips on Writing IEPs

OSDE will be providing an IEP webinar series, “How to Write an Effective and Compliant IEP,” this fall. This webinar series will cover topics such as free and appropriate public education, teaming, present levels, goals, services/least restrictive environment, Oklahoma Alternate Assessment Program, accommodations and secondary transition. The first webinar will take place from 11 to 11:30 am, Wednesday, Aug. 29, and will be repeated at 11:45 am. The webinars will take place every other Wednesday. For more information and to register, click here.

chartKick off the Year With Tips for New Teachers

By Shawna Wilson and Lorraine Eldrenkamp, OSDE School Support Specialists

 Back to School is an exciting time of year for all teachers. According to Harry Wong’s How to Be An Effective Teacher: The First Few Days of School, what you do on the first few days of school is critical and can determine your success or failure the rest of the school year.

Establishing procedures and routines should be intentional. Give yourself permission to spend time to develop classroom procedures and routines. When children enter your classroom, they need a safe, positive and consistent environment where instruction and learning can occur.

Effective teachers emphasize establishing a positive classroom culture and building relationships. Creating a sense of belonging with an emphasis on building a foundation of trust and respect starts on the first day. Effective teachers do this by developing a culture of kindness, caring and community. This sense of community empowers students to be accountable to each other for exhibiting respectful behavior and being kind and helpful to each other.

Effective teachers are prepared and organized. They place an emphasis on instructional planning. Teachers understand and implement academic standards into classroom practice. Their lessons include strategies and methods for student engagement.

For more beginning-of-the-year Tips and Tricks for New Teachers, see the PowerPoint from our EngageOK presentation here.



donnaTeachers Hold the Answers

By Donna Gradel, 2018 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year

 Another school year has begun across Oklahoma! What accomplishments will we be talking about next May? How many students will have their dreams realized between now and then? How many traumatized children will receive the proper help they so desperately need and deserve?

Which children will receive the necessary nutrition to develop physically and cognitively? Which children will feel the safety of a caring environment? Who will hold the championship trophies?

How many will read their first book? Work their first calculus problem? Enter college?

You, as a teacher, hold the key to the answers to these questions. Late nights and early mornings become routine once again as another year of adventure and challenge begins. Every moment is worth it when children are nurtured under the tutelage of a caring teacher who helps them find success in their academic career.

I applaud each of you for choosing this noble profession of profound influence and impact. As you sit through meetings and prepare lessons and seating charts, keep in mind the end results we will be celebrating in May because you gave your best to your students.

Read more on the Oklahoma TOY blog. Click here.


Congratulations, Finalists!

finalistsThe Oklahoma Teacher of the Year finalists were announced last month at the EngageOK conference in Norman. The 2019 state Teacher of the Year will be revealed Sept. 18 in a ceremony at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City.

  • Catherine Adams, Piedmont Elementary School, Piedmont Public Schools
  • Natalie Fielden, Freedom Elementary School, Sapulpa Public Schools
  • Shari Gateley, Putnam City West High School, Putnam City Schools
  • Amy Greenhaw, Jenks High School, Jenks Public Schools
  • Carol Hunsperger, Grove Lower Elementary School, Grove Public Schools
  • Teresa Lansford, Lincoln Elementary School, Norman Public Schools
  • Jenny Morphis, Hilldale Lower Elementary School, Hilldale Public Schools
  • Warren Neff, Bartlesville High School, Bartlesville Public Schools
  • Rebecca Oglesby, Ranchwood Elementary School, Yukon Public Schools
  • Jessica Robinson, Altus High School, Altus Public Schools
  • Michelle Shelton, Pioneer Intermediate School, Noble Public Schools
  • V. Jannean Thompson, Berryhill North Elementary School, Berryhill Public Schools

The 2018 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year will remain in the classroom for the 2018-19 school year. Beginning July 1, 2019, the honoree will assume full-time Teacher of the Year duties, which include speaking engagements and serving as Oklahoma’s teacher ambassador, encouraging others to enter or remain in the profession. The 2018 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year, Donna Gradel of Broken Arrow, will continue to tour the state until July 2019.

News From Across the State

icumi SUMMERTIME LEARNING: Students in Macomb spent their summer diving into NASA topics and Native American culture through a summer learning program offered in their district. To see the video, click here.

MEDITATION ROOM : Edgemere Elementary in Oklahoma City is opening a meditation room this year to help remedy behavioral problems. To read the story, click here.

BUS TRACKING:Shawnee Public Schools rolling out new app allowing parents to track their children’s school bus via GPS. Howe Public Schools have been using this type of technology for the last couple of years. To see the video, click here.

mural MURAL MORALE: Former Keys School teacher Dena Coleman painted murals in her school’s hallways, hoping to encourage and motivate middle school students. To read the story, click here.

JUST DRIVE: Ninety-seven percent of teens say texting while driving is dangerous, but 43 percent admit to doing it. Want to host a #JustDriveOK event at your school? To find out more, click here.

HATE IN SCHOOLS: Read the profile of a Pennsylvania school that has tried to overcome a culture where racist views are sometimes boldly expressed but often simmer under the surface. To read the story in Education Week, click here.



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Last updated on August 24, 2018