EngageOK Teachers -- March 2020

EngageOK Teachers

March 2020

bryant elementary

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister visited the Leading Ladies mentorship program at Bryant Elementary in Moore. The group meets every week during lunch, and mentors are service members from the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy. The program allows girls in third through sixth grade to experience a diversity of strength and leadership skills as well as build self-esteem, self-awareness and encourage a desire to be the best versions of themselves. To read the story, click here.

Census Participation Vital As Every Student Counts

Dear Teachers, 

The 2020 Census begins this spring, and participation from every family is critical in this once-in-a-decade event that provides us with critical data about ourselves as Americans.

It will determine our representation in government, and it will establish how $675 billion in federal funds are distributed to communities over the next 10 years. A portion of these funds directly finances important school programs, such as special education, free and reduced-price meals, class-size reduction, classroom technology, teacher training, afterschool programs and Head Start.

By mid-March, families will begin to receive invitations by mail to respond online, by mail or by phone. Federal law protects the confidentiality of all individual responses the Census Bureau collects. It is important for families to know personal information is never shared with law enforcement, immigration or other agencies and is used only to produce statistics.

Take advantage of this historic event to introduce your elementary students to concepts such as maps, graphs, numbers, geography and diversity. Challenge your secondary students to make real-world connections with the economy, government, sociology, research and statistics. Students can even use available Census data to help shape Individual Career Academic Planning (ICAP) by researching average salaries and postsecondary education requirements of potential careers.

To get started, explore the nearly 100 videos and lesson plans for PK-12 in the Census’ Statistics in Schools program – because every child counts.

With respect and gratitude,



Joy Hofmeister, State Superintendent of Public Instruction


Best Practices: Sharing Your Thoughts With Legislators


The new Legislature convened Feb. 3. Even though thousands of bills are filed each session, following those that interest you doesn’t have to be daunting. Here’s how to keep up with education legislation in the early months of session:

1. Know the committees. Bills must first be assigned to, heard by and passed out of a House or Senate committee before they can be heard before the full House or Senate. Generally, education bills related to policy go before the House or Senate education committees, and education bills with a fiscal impact go before the House or Senate education appropriations subcommittee.

2. Watch a committee meeting. The Senate Education Committee meets at 9 a.m. Tuesdays in Room 535. The House Common Education Committee meets at 10:30 a.m. in Room 412C. The House Education Appropriations Subcommittee typically meets at 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays in Room 512A; however, the House and Senate Appropriation Education Subcommittees develop their own schedules and can meet at the call of the committee Chair. Meetings are live-streamed here: Senate and House. Agendas are posted 24 hours in advance.

3. Track the bills. To track bills online, use the search function on the Legislature’s website.

4. Know the deadlines. Bills must pass their originating chamber by March 12 (i.e., House bills heard in the House) or will be ineligible to be heard. April 23 is the last day for bills to pass the opposite chamber (i.e., House bills heard in the Senate), and the Oklahoma Constitution requires the Legislature to adjourn by the last Friday in May, which is May 29.

education matters

Sean McDaniel, Teresa Rose Crook, Elizabeth Suddath, Debby Hampton and Brian Bobek talk with State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister in the February episode of “Education Matters.”

OETA Show Spotlights Mental Health Supports

Join State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister for the latest episode of the half-hour TV show “Education Matters.” Learn about a school and community partnership that focuses on students’ mental health. Plus, meet an athlete from the Oklahoma panhandle who is representing the state in an international competition. 

Tune in every third Thursday of the month at 7 p.m. on OETA or catch the rebroadcast the following Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. To watch previous episodes, go to sde.ok.gov/education-matters.

trauma summit

Thousands of Educators Attend Trauma Summit

Thousands of educators gathered in Oklahoma City on Feb. 17 for the third – and largest – OSDE summit on trauma-informed instruction. Approximately 10,000 registered for “Bridges to Hope: Teaching in the Shadow of Trauma,” while hundreds more watched the summit via livestream from the OSDE website. Held inside the Cox Convention Center Arena and free to attendees, “Bridges to Hope” marked the largest professional development event ever undertaken by the OSDE. To read more about the summit, click here.

student advisory council

Students Meet to Voice Opinions on Education


More than 100 high school students were named to the 2020 State Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council, the fifth consecutive year the group has assisted OSDE in matters of policy. Students met Feb. 21 at the Capitol in Oklahoma City and voiced their opinions on education topics, including decreasing class sizes, offering healthier school lunches, forming personal connections with teachers and increasing funding for fine arts. The next meeting is Mar. 30. To view the photo gallery, click here. To watch a video of the council, click here.

News From Across the State

power ranger

SHAPED MY LIFE: Lexington High School graduate Justin Nimmo talks about how his teacher and coach helped him entertain millions as the Silver Power Ranger. To see the complete playlist of teachers inspiring notable Oklahomans, click here.


CAREER DAY: In one classroom at Stillwater Middle School, an attorney taught kids what laws are and why is it important to have lawyers to interpret them during the school Career Day. To read the story, click here.

FIELD TRIP OF A LIFETIME: Students at Bluejacket Public School in Craig County are going down in history as the first middle-school and upper-elementary Oklahomans to participate in Expedition Yellowstone, a three-day immersive-learning program at the national park. To read the story, click here.

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Last updated on March 9, 2020