EngageOK Teachers - October 2019

EngageOK Teachers

October 2019

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister stops by Wayman Tisdale Fine Arts Academy in Tulsa.

World Outside Impacts World Inside the Classroom

Dear Teachers,

Oklahoma has made tremendous strides in public education, including strengthened academic standards, national comparability and more, but these improvements cannot remedy every challenge teachers face in their classrooms. I explained this to members of Congress in September when I testified before a U.S. House subcommittee in Washington, D.C., about the difficulty of reaching children suffering from trauma. You can watch my testimony here

The world outside the classroom has an undeniable impact on the world inside the classroom, which is why we must equip teachers with trauma-sensitive instruction. Recent work on the science of hope makes it clear that a connection with a stable, caring adult is the common factor in moving children from trauma to hope.

Providing increased support to address the implications of trauma among our state’s youth is a priority of Oklahoma, and we’ve become nationally recognized as a leader in teaching resilience. On Monday, Feb. 17, we will hold the largest trauma summit in state history – with up to 10,000 in attendance – at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City. It is free and open to all educators.

To register, click here.

I hope to see you there.
With respect and gratitude,
Joy Hofmeister, State Superintendent of Public Instruction


Free Summit to Explore Link To Career Planning, Hope

Through our focus on college and career readiness, we have learned that students who intentionally plan for their futures feel more hopeful and show more resilience. For students, the results of intentional career planning can reduce the negative implications of adverse childhood experiences. Individual Career Academic Planning (ICAP) is required statewide this school year, but students in our two-year pilot ICAP study tell us their friends are coming to school more, feel more purposeful in their work and are more optimistic about life after high school.

To share what we have learned about the connection between hope and career planning, we are hosting 700 educators Monday, Oct. 7 for the free statewide “Student Success Summit: Individual Career Academic Planning & Hope for All Students.” Dr. Chan Hellman, of the University of Oklahoma’s Hope Center, will speak on the science of hope and ICAP. Afternoon breakout sessions will spotlight effective ICAP implementation, career exploration, childhood trauma, hope and resiliency for students of all ages. To register, click here. 

Even if you can’t make it to the summit, you can still take advantage of free career development lesson plans for grades K-12. Lessons include balancing personal, leisure and work roles, debunking career stereotypes and more. To access lesson plans for your grade level, click here.

Legislature’s Interim Studies Focus on School Issues

policyInterim Study season is in full swing at the Legislature. Interim studies, requested by individual legislators, are an opportunity to examine specific topics and hear from experts – time for which the hustle and bustle of the legislative session does not allow. These studies may form the basis for legislation in the upcoming session, may seek to raise awareness about a particular issue or ensure other legislators have good information about important topics.

Here at OSDE, our team has had its eye on more than 70 of these studies that might impact schools.

Legislators requested studies on a variety of topics including teacher recruitment, certification and supports, and virtual and blended education. One study, requested in both the House and the Senate, was a review of the historic House Bill 1017 and its relevance to education today. HB 1017 is known for its requirements for specific limits on class size, but it also set up the framework for accreditation of schools, adoption of curricular standards and alternative certification still in place today. You can view the presentation that OSDE made at this study here.

Another study of note was on discipline in the classroom. Experts in mental health discussed strategies for viewing discipline through a trauma-informed lens. To view the presentations from this study, click here and select study #19-009.

House interim studies are recorded and archived here. Meeting notices for upcoming interim studies in the House can be viewed here and in the Senate here. House members have until Nov. 22 to complete their studies, and senators have until Nov. 8. Complete lists of requested studies can be found here and here.

State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister presents Jena Nelson of Deer Creek Schools with the 2020 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year proclamation Sept. 17.

Jena Nelson Named State Teacher of the Year

OKTOYJena Nelson, a middle school teacher from Deer Creek Schools, was announced as Oklahoma’s 2020 Teacher of the Year on Sept. 17 at the State Fairgrounds. Jena Nelson teaches 7th and 8th grade English composition and academic enhancement at Deer Creek Middle School in Edmond.
A 14-year educator, Nelson openly speaks about past childhood trauma and how it influenced her future.
“To say that I didn’t have a great home life would be an understatement. I was very much like some of the students we see today in our classroom. I was angry. I lashed out. I was defiant. I very much wanted a place to feel safe and cared for outside of my trauma-filled home, and I found that place in school,” Nelson said. “I have done things that I never imagined, and it’s all because teachers believed in me. That is why I am in the classroom today. I’m here to give what was given to me – a chance.”

daughterAs the 2020 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year, Nelson will remain in the classroom, so she can continue to inspire her students, colleagues and community every day. Some of her other duties under the title will include speaking engagements and serving as Oklahoma’s ambassador of teaching.

Right: Jena's daughter, Linnea, congratulates her mother at the Teacher of the Year ceremony. To see more photos from the ceremony, click here.

1996 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year Stephen Smallwood embraces Jena after the ceremony. Stephen was Jena’s high school drama teacher in Broken Bow. “Without you,” she told him, “I would have been another statistic instead of the State Teacher of the Year.” To see a video about the ceremony, click here.


Which One Doesn’t Belong Increases Critical Thinking

The Which One Doesn’t Belong (WODB) strategy is great for grades Pre-K through 12. The goal of this strategy is to encourage students’ critical thinking skills and even provides students with opportunities to develop math vocabulary. In WODB, students determine which of four images doesn’t fit with the others; the catch is that there isn’t a “right” answer. Students need to be able to defend their choices to their peers, and the student justifications lead to a great discussion of the logic involved. For more WODB strategies, click here. For elementary classroom videos, click here.


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News From Across the State

icumiSCHOOL SAFETY APP: The Rave Panic Button, now available at no cost to all Oklahoma districts, allows school staff to simultaneously connect with 9-1-1 and first responders in the event of an emergency.  To watch the video, click here. To read the story, click here.

DUAL-LANGUAGE GOLD STANDARD: Eisenhower International School in Tulsa is being recognized for a second time with the prestigious Label Franc Education 2019 seal for its French dual-language program. To read the story, click here.

PRESIDENTIAL AWARD FINALISTS: Oklahoma has three new finalists for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching: Brigit Minden, Central High Public Schools (Marlow); Cheryl Fentress, Bartlesville Public Schools; and Casey Lambert, Moore Public Schools. To read the story, click here.

harjoSHAPED MY LIFE:  OSDE has shared the stories of nearly 50 prominent Oklahomans recalling the teachers who have shaped their lives. To watch the series of bite-sized videos, click here.
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Last updated on October 2, 2019