EngageOK Teachers - August 2019

August 2019

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister meets with students at the EngageOK on the Road summer education conference at Southmoore High School in Moore.

What Students Want Most: Strong Bonds With Teachers

Dear Teachers,

One of my favorite events of the year is the EngageOK on the Road summer conference, where last month I had the privilege of connecting with about 7,000 of you. I enjoy hearing what is important to you, the challenges you face and what you need from us at the state level to ensure our kids are successful.

At EngageOK, we also get insight from students. In one of this year’s most popular panels, “What Students Wish Their Teachers Knew,” juniors and seniors overwhelmingly told us that teachers are most effective when they are approachable and offer guidance as sympathetic mentors.

In Bixby, one student said, “The best thing a teacher can give a student is understanding,” and that he wanted his teachers to share personal experiences of overcoming trials as adults. Another said, “Get to know us. We want to have a relationship with you.”

A student in Lawton said, “We want our teachers to inspire us.” In Woodward: “First impressions mean a lot. Get to know me when school starts. Let’s develop a relationship – that'll help get things going in the right direction.”

Dozens of students from five sites across the state repeated the same sentiment: They want to thrive in your classroom, but they need your help to make them feel welcome and understood. 

From teachers I also hear a desire to meet those needs with trauma-informed instruction. I hope you’ll join me as I welcome Dr. Bruce Perry with the internationally renowned ChildTrauma Academy to speak on Feb. 17, at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City. This will be our largest trauma summit to date, with room for up to 10,000 people to attend. It is free and open to all educators. To register, click here.

Thank you for all you do for support your students and families. Your commitment and dedication to help children grow socially and academically is awe inspiring.

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


Summer Conference Welcomes 7,000 Educators

About 7,000 educators attended our fourth annual EngageOK on the Road summer conference at five sites across the state in July.

crowdConferences were held at five sites across the state: Woodward, Durant, Bixby, Lawton and Moore.

The most popular sessions included “What Students Wish Their Teachers Knew” and breakouts addressing trauma-informed instruction, special education, early childhood and reading sufficiency. Missed a session? We now have more than 100 presentations from the conference available to view online. To choose one, click here

cellThe conference went paperless this year, leveraging technology to engage participants through networking on the conference app.

bandTo see photos from the conference at Southmoore High School in Moore, click here. Help us make next year’s conference even better! To give us feedback via a short survey, click here.

Oklahoma Standards Among Best in Country

As you construct your lessons for the year, remember the backbone of your lesson plans should always be the Oklahoma Academic Standards. While curriculum may vary by district, our academic standards are consistent across the state.

The standards serve as expectations for what students should know and be able to do by the end of the school year. In fact, the end-of-year state assessments (OSTP) questions are aligned directly with the Oklahoma Academic Standards.

Not only do the standards reflect the most current and relevant objectives for our students – the development, review and revision process involves stakeholders throughout the state – but they are vertically aligned, meaning objectives are continued and expanded upon from one grade level to the next.


The Oklahoma Academic Standards (OAS) are among the best in the country in ensuring that students are college and career ready. In a National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) study released this month, the 2016 standards propelled Oklahoma from the bottom quarter into the top third of states in expectations for academic proficiency in reading and math. Read the story here.

Part of the reason our standards are regarded so highly is because learning goals move beyond expectations of simple recall, or Depth of Knowledge 1 level work. By emphasizing Depth of Knowledge 2 and 3, students engage in reasoning and application of content and skills, creating a richer learning experience.

To view a presentation about teaching Depth of Knowledge, click here.

To view all the standards, click here. For a deeper dive and further instructional support, view the curriculum frameworks here.

Don’t forget to review the standards outside your subject area too – you can tap into multiple sets of standards to create your own cross-curricular lessons.

2019 Red Banner Book Details New Education Laws

RedBannerNew education laws that emerge from legislative session each year can be overwhelming. That’s why the Oklahoma State Department of Education provides its annual Red Banner Book as a resource to help you stay informed. This book provides a general overview of this year’s new laws and legislative actions affecting public education.

This year the Legislature approved the largest budget for common education in state history – more than $3 billion – including an increase in funding to the state aid funding formula. The amount also provided the second consecutive pay raise for certified educators that, on average, will increase their annual salary by $1,220, for a two-year average increase of $7,300. In addition, for the first time the Reading Sufficiency Act will be fully funded at $12 million.

To download the 2019 Red Banner Book, click here.


What Does Evidence-Based Mean for my Classroom?

By Michelle Seybolt, OSDE OK Striving Readers Literacy Grant Specialist

“Evidence-based” (using strategies, practices or programs having an established evidence base with proven favorable student outcomes) is probably a term you have come across in your own research or in a recent professional learning setting.

But how can teachers find evidence-based practices for their classrooms? This can be a time consuming and overwhelming task. The Institute of Education Science created the What Works Clearinghouse and published practice guides for educators addressing everyday challenges in the classroom, based on evidence and reviewed by national experts in education.

The practice guides cover all grade levels and subject areas, and even address specific types of learners. The recommendations are detailed and include the evidence indication at the top and includes a panel’s discussion of how to correctly implement the recommendation in your classroom.

To view all of the practice guides by the Institute of Education Services, click here. If you are looking for literacy practice guides, visit the Striving Readers Hub here.

The 2020 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year will be named Sept. 17 in a ceremony at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City. Above are the finalists.

State Teacher of the Year Finalists Announced

OKTOYCongratulations to the 2020 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year finalists, who were announced at the EngageOK on the Road conference in Moore.

  • Cara Bowerman teaches visual arts at Edmond North High School in Edmond Public Schools. 
  • Debbie Carlisle teaches English at Clinton High School in Clinton Public Schools. 
  • Kirbey Dietzel teaches fifth-grade math and science at Jenks East Intermediate School in Jenks Public Schools. 
  • Terri Guthridge is an English teacher at Grove High School in Grove Public Schools. 
  • Lesa Hefner teaches career readiness at Duncan High School in Duncan Public Schools. 
  • Elizabeth Hoggatt teaches English at Norman High School in Norman Public Schools. 
  • Patricia Lightfoot teaches sixth-grade reading at Weatherford Middle School in Weatherford Public Schools. 
  • Jena Nelson teaches English at Deer Creek Middle School in Deer Creek Schools. 
  • Michelle Rahn teaches sixth-grade science at Will Rogers Middle School in Claremore Public Schools. 
  • Kari Rhoden teaches Pre-K at Oologah Lower Elementary in Oologah-Talala Public Schools. 
  • Cassandra Stauder teaches science at Dewey High School in Dewey Public Schools. 
  • Katie Thompson teaches kindergarten at the Shawnee Early Childhood Center in Shawnee Public Schools. 

donnabeckyTHANK YOU FROM DONNA: In her final Teacher of the Year blog, 2018 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year Donna Gradel says, “I am prouder today than at any other time in my career to be a teacher.” To read the blog, click here. In July, she handed over state Teacher of the Year duties to Becky Oglesby, who will be traveling the state as Oklahoma’s teacher ambassador. Stay tuned for the first installment of Becky’s new Teacher of the Year blog!

Programs Offer Discounted Tuition & Free Resources

sisSTATISTICS IN SCHOOLS: The U.S. Census Bureau is seeking teachers to serve as ambassadors for the Statistics in Schools (SIS) program, which uses Census Bureau Statistics to educate Pre-K through 12th-grade students about the importance of a complete and accurate census count. Please consider taking on this important role to help your students, school and community benefit from the 2020 Census. To apply, email CLMSO.SISambassador@census.gov by Aug. 31. For free classroom resources, click here.

SENATE YOUTH PROGRAM: Two Oklahoma high school students will win a one-week, all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., and a $10,000 college scholarship through the U.S. Senate Youth Scholarship Program. Delegates will hear major policy addresses by senators, cabinet members, officials for the Departments of State and Defense and others. Nominations are due Sept. 20. To learn more, click here.
DISCOUNTED MASTER’S PROGRAM: Earn a Master of Education degree for only $5,000. The Oklahoma Public School Resource Center Fellows program qualifies York College students for a $15,000 discount in its fully accredited, online graduate degree program. The program begins in January and is limited to the first 20 individuals who meet the requirements. Fellows will be able to choose from Educational Leadership, Curriculum and Instruction and School Counseling. For more details, apply here.

icapICAP ROLLOUT: Individual Career Academic Planning is coming to every high school in Oklahoma this year. Not familiar with ICAP? These kids can explain it in under two minutes. To watch the video, click here. For more ICAP resources, click here.

STUDENT SUCCESS SUMMIT: On Oct. 7 in Norman, hear keynote speaker Dr. Chan Hellman of the University of Oklahoma Hope Center discuss the science of hope and its connection to ICAP. Afternoon breakout sessions will include effective ICAP implementation, career awareness, exploration and planning, childhood trauma, hope and resiliency for students of all ages. It’s free. To register, click here.

FREE POSTERS: The FBI is offering free posters for its #ThinkBeforeYouPost campaign. The mission is to educate the public on the consequences of posting hoax threats to institutions, such as schools, houses of worship and other public places, and remind communities that hoax threats are not a joke. To request posters, email Terri Cleghorn at tlcleghorn@fbi.gov. To watch a PSA, click here.


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Second Season of ‘Education Matters’ Debuts

The new season of “Education Matters” debuted this summer on OETA. In the newest episode, students continue the conversation of “What Students Wish Their Teachers Knew,” and National PTA President-Elect Anna King, of Oklahoma City, stresses the importance of family engagement. To watch Education Matters, click here.

News From Across the State

icumiTEACHERS RECEIVE $70,000 IN GRANTS: OSDE awarded 50 Oklahoma teachers with grants of up to $5,000 to support their classrooms. State law allows an individual or corporate taxpayer to designate a portion of a state tax refund to contribute to a fund for the grants. To read the story, click here.
DRONE TEACHER: Engineer, drone pilot and now educator Ryan Busler kicked off the school year with Shawnee’s new course: Aerospace Engineer Design. To read the story, click here.

CAREER PLANNING: After two years in a pilot phase, the ICAP process is opening to students statewide this school year. To read the story, click here.

officerzSCHOOL SAFETY: OETA visited Bethany, Broken Arrow, Tulsa and Oklahoma City to discover what steps districts are taking to ensure school safety. To watch the video, click here.

HALF-CENTURY OF TEACHING: Jan Sands tried retirement, but it didn’t stick. She is celebrating her 50th year of teaching. Her daughter teaches math with her at Hefner Middle School in Putnam City. To watch the video, click here.


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Last updated on August 27, 2019