EngageOK Teachers - November 2019

November 2019

Education Matters

Norman Public Schools Superintendent Nick Migliorino and teacher Karen Loewe of Collinsville Middle School join State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister for an episode of “Education Matters.”

Watch ‘Education Matters’ on OETA or Stream Online

Dear Teachers,

Join us! We are nearing the one-year anniversary of “Education Matters,” a TV talk show featuring teachers, students and issues in Oklahoma public education. I am excited about the significant talent, insight and innovation we’ve been able to showcase on this monthly program. We are proud to shine a spotlight on the amazing work happening for kids in schools throughout the state.

Tune in every third Thursday at 7 p.m. on OETA — rebroadcasting the following Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. Nominate your school or share a great story or idea to highlight by emailing us at educationmatters@sde.ok.gov. For a full list of episodes online, visit https://sde.ok.gov/education-matters.

“Education Matters” episode topics include:

  • A simple exercise to offer grace and encourage empathy among students
  • Action-based civics and new social studies standards
  • What students wish their teachers knew
  • Overcoming dyslexia and the Science of Reading
  • Connecting with businesses for hands-on experience … and more!

As I reflect on Thanksgiving, I am thankful for you and all Oklahoma teachers and leaders who meet their kids where they are, understand the transformative power of relationships and foster hope in the lives of their students. Thank you for your dedication to all our kids.

With respect and gratitude,


Joy Hofmeister, State Superintendent of Public Instruction

Education Laws Take Effect

policyA number of new education laws became effective Nov. 1, including the ones below. For more information, see this year’s Red Banner Book.

SB 496: Allows teens at least 17.5 years old to submit a voter registration application in order to vote upon their 18th birthday.

HB 1050: Increases the maximum number of days a substitute teacher who reaches certain criteria can be employed during a school year.

HB 1228: Requires a dyslexia professional development program to be provided to educators once a year beginning in 2020-21.

HB 1905: Requires that teacher preparation programs require teacher candidates to study trauma-informed responsive instruction.

HB 1926: Requires any driver who goes around a school bus when its red loading signals are on to be punished by an assessment of $100, in addition to the existing fine of $100. Allows a school to install and operate a video-monitoring system to record violations.


Batman figurines fill 2019 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year Becky Oglesby’s classroom. Below, Becky with Sarah Baum of Fairview Public Schools.

My Message to Educators: Be Their Batman

By Becky Oglesby, 2019 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year

OKTOYSince I was a kid, I have collected Batman memorabilia. Over the years, my Batman collection has grown to a respectable size by any standard. My collection contains everything from books and action figures to posters and piggy banks. I believe Batman is the superhero who best represents us as educators. Batman doesn’t have any superpowers. He can’t fly, and he wasn’t bitten by a radioactive spider. Batman is an ordinary person who took it upon himself to make a difference in the world around him. That is exactly what we as educators do every day.


This philosophy takes on a whole new meaning when paralleled with our growing knowledge of how children overcome trauma. Research in resiliency and hope points to a single common factor: one caring adult. You are that one caring adult students need to live their best life and reach their full potential. As you continue through the school year, remember, you are the one caring adult a child so desperately needs. You are a hero. Be their Batman.


Teachers made sensory pathways in Coolidge Elementary with a Cricut machine with self-adhesive vinyl.

Sensory Pathways Help Teach Reading, Writing

hallwayKatie Barton and Megan Rehanek, physical education teachers at Coolidge Elementary School in Oklahoma City, have created sensory pathways in the hallways for their students. A sensory path is a colorful, creative, and playful way for students to develop motor skills (i.e., balance, hand-eye coordination and spatial awareness) and the vestibular system. (A developed vestibular system helps students with reading and writing.) The sensory pathways at Coolidge are high-energy in nature and require kids to hop, step and jump, and can be used as “physical activity breaks” throughout the school day. Physical activity breaks are quick movement opportunities to help students refocus on academics, which increases time on task and decreases behavior issues.

Katie had seen sensory pathways on social media but didn’t have funds to buy pre-made materials. Therefore, she and a classroom teacher made the designs on a Cricut machine using self-adhesive vinyl sheets. Katie started with a pathway in the Pre-K hall, where the activities focused on balance and locomotor movements, numbers and the alphabet. Next, a pathway for the fourth-grade hall was designed to incorporate rigorous vocabulary words and multiplication. After the first two pathways were finished, Melissa Brett, Coolidge's principal, wanted a sensory pathway for every grade level hallway.

Read the research article "The Impact of Sensory-Based Movement Activities on Students in General Education" for evidence on how these types of activities can support academics and time on task.


Free Workshops Offered in Lawton, Oklahoma City

FREE PD: OSDE is offering free professional development workshops with effective instructional strategies aligned to the Oklahoma Academic Standards. Nov. 14 in Lawton will feature fine arts, gifted and talented, and secondary mathematics. Dec. 6 in Oklahoma City will feature personal financial literacy, social studies and world languages. To register, click here.

polPOETRY CONTEST: Poetry Out Loud is a free poetry recitation contest for high school students. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about literary history and contemporary life. The deadline to submit school winners is Feb. 5. For more information, click here.

NOMINATE A LIFE CHANGER: LifeChanger of the Year is an annual program recognizing K-12 educators and school employees across the country. The grand prize is a $5,000 individual award and $5,000 donation to the district. Deadline is Dec. 31. For more information, click here.

FINE ARTS STANDARDS: The public comment window is open until Nov. 30 for the Oklahoma Academic Standards for Fine Arts. For more information about the standards process, click here.

News From Across the State

icumiEDUCATION FUNDING REQUEST: The Oklahoma State Board of Education approved a Fiscal Year 2021 budget request of $3.29 billion for common education, including an increase of nearly $220 million over last year. The request goes to the Legislature in February. o read the story, click here.

SCHOOL SAFETY GRANTS: Oklahoma received three federal grants of more than $1.7 million to strengthen safety, security and mental health initiatives in public schools statewide. To read the story, click here.

COLLEGE CAREER MATH READY: A high school math class offered as a fourth-year elective is raising ACT scores and helping students strengthen their math skills before they go to college or enter the workforce. To watch the video, click here.

bronchoSHAPED MY LIFE: The lead singer from the Oklahoma rock band BRONCHO recalls the teachers who have shaped his life. To watch the series of bite-sized videos, click here.

trauma summit

Join State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister as she welcomes Dr. Bruce Perry with the Child Trauma Academy to speak on Feb. 17 at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City.

For more information and to register, click here.

Do you have ideas to share with teachers across the state? Engage with other teachers to build your skills and inspire your creativity. Do you have questions for the OSDE? Stay informed. E-mail your contributions and concerns to Annette Price, communications and constituent services specialist. Annette has experience teaching at the early childhood, secondary and adult levels.

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Last updated on December 17, 2019