TeachLINK Revised
Making the Connections
Issue: # 8
Summer  2013
The Oklahoma Teacher Connection 
 A Division of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education
A Message From the OTC Director:



A New School Year, New Pursuits


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Goldie Thompson,
Director of Teacher Education and the Oklahoma Teacher Connection
Dear Colleagues,


Driven with a passion so deep, a care so great and a commitment so fierce, I applaud the continuous efforts you put forth on a daily basis to improve the educational landscape for future educators and students.  Your dedication and hard work is making a difference!   As we begin a new academic year, let us continuously build from previous experiences, make the necessary adjustments and move forward.  We are truly excited about the impact higher education is making in the field!


As we engage in new pursuits, let us also pause to remember the heroic teachers and Oklahomans that assisted the many victims of the May tornados. Their generous outpouring of support revealed evidence of a loving community and a strong dedication to the students of our state and those who educate them. 


We hope that you have a wonderful fall semester!


Please enjoy this edition of the TeachLink!




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Goldie Thompson 

Direct from the Editor's Desk

                                               Here we GO!


Summer is coming to a close, and the 2013-14 school year is beginning!


We are happy to share with you a few highlights that took place over the past couple of months.


The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education's policy leader, Gina Wekke, retired after 33 years of service.


The Summer Institute for Character Education was facilitated by Oklahoma's character pioneers, the nationally recognized Muskogee Public Schools.


Moore Public Schools are rebuilding again, and we have provided  an inside peak of the relief efforts made possible by teachers locally and abroad. 


As the state implements the Reading Sufficient Act (RSA), Friday, September 20 marks the date for Two of the Faces of RTI - Response to Intervention.  OSRHE in collaboration with the higher education reading committee will be hosting the 6th annual reading conference, featuring dual keynote speakers, Dr. Richard Allington from the University of Tennessee and Dr. Michael McKenna from the University of Virginia. Don't miss it!


In an effort to meet the needs of Oklahoma's colleges of education, OTC will be emailing you, our audience, an online survey, seeking to find out your views on how we can  better serve you. Please take a few minutes to respond to the short survey, which is scheduled to be distributed at the end of September.  


The Oklahoma Teacher Connection is now on Facebook so be sure to like us!


We are off to a fresh new start - another opportunity to impact the academic success of Oklahoma's teachers and students!


Learning takes place when you take part!

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Deena Thomas, Editor


Making the Connections,

 Deena signature





OSRHE's Academic Affairs


OSRHE's Policy Guardian Retires

Chancellor, Glen D. Johnson, called her the guardian of policy, serving as the gatekeeper, who kept watch over the state's higher education system.

She has been the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education's (OSRHE) treasured mainstay, working tirelessly in the midst of unprecedented change; however, after serving a little over three decades, Gina Wekke retired in June 2013.  

Her departure from the agency will leave a huge void, Dr. Blake Sonobe, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, told a group of well-wishers gathered to celebrate her long-standing contributions to the agency.

Gina alone
Gina Wekke

"I never envisioned staying 33 years. My initial goal was to gain experience, go to college part-time, learn on the job, and make a contribution to the agency," Wekke said. "The people, the work, and the importance of making a difference evolved over time."

Wekke began her professional climb in 1979, starting out as the accounts clerk in the talkback television division. Over the course of her tenure, she held 8 other positions before closing out her career as the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.

The policy guru credits her string of supervisors for her professional success, stressing that many lessons learned on the job were difficult but later proved beneficial.

"The knowledge and skills learned over time can be attributed to supervisors and colleges who challenged me in wonderful ways - not always fun ways. However, in some of the most difficult jobs, I grew from the most uncomfortable experiences. Each time I moved, I was charged with increasing responsibility, and I have worked for some wonderful individuals over the years. I have always had a lot of opportunity here and, with each new position, brought something new," Wekke said.

Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Dr. Debbie Blanke, shared that Wekke was on the interview committee that hired her in 2000, granting her the privilege to work at the agency in higher education.

"I credit everything good that has happened to me to Gina Wekke, as far as work related things at the agency. She was just a really great colleague, who was considerate. She paid attention, and she kept up with the details. She always practiced a high level of integrity. Gina didn't have much of a poker face," she joked, "but you really knew where you stood with her," Blanke said.

Blanke said Wekke "trained" a number of Vice Chancellors, and through the process, she offered a wealth of background information to help each of those individuals facilitate the assigned tasks."Gina would always pose things as 'I want to tell you where the land mines are, so that there are few surprises and you can decide what to do from there.' She wanted to give them all of the information, so that they could make an informed decision," Blanke said.

Wekke explained that throughout her career, depending upon her responsibilities at the time, she would work directly or indirectly with the Chancellor. She said each Chancellor brought his own leadership style to the agency.

Reflecting Upon OSRHE Chancellors

Starting with the leadership, the decision makers were the most unique, exceptional aspect of Wekke's career, having worked for 7 of the 8 OSRHE Chancellors.

Wekke said as the administration evolved, so did the agency's infrastructure.  

Glen D. Johnson - 2007 to the Present

Glen D. Johnson was described as the leader of the system - an astute individual, who is seamlessly connected to the community at large and to the political community as well.

"I see Chancellor Johnson as a leader with a number of strengths that began during the long-serving E.T. Dunlap era when the presidents, institutions, and academic officers looked at the agency as a system. Chancellor Johnson served as an intern under E.T. Dunlap and his service at the state legislature elevated his understanding of Oklahoma's educational infrastructure," Wekke said.

Chanellor and Gina
Chancellor Johnson congratulates Wekke at her retirement reception.


Phil Moss - 2006-2007

With a stern face, Wekke spouted, Phil Moss - Stabilization!

"He served at a time when there was a need for calm and order between Chancellors. He did a great job holding the agency together," Wekke said.

Paul G. Risser - 2003-2006

Wekke remembers Risser as the Chancellor with big ideas. "He would bring white papers containing fully flushed out ideas, which was extremely energizing. He was brilliant, and without sounding clichéish, Risser was an individual who thought outside of the box," she said.

Hans Brisch - 1987-2003

"Working for Chancellor, Hans Brisch, was a great learning experience, whose leadership style was very different from any other administrator I have ever worked with. His attitude was 'we must always be positive', and having that consistent message transformed circumstances. Even when we had to say no to someone, we had to find a way to say it in a positive, professional way. His positive demeanor and intent stuck with me," Wekke said.

Brisch was the students' Chancellor, Wekke recalls.

"He convened students. He worked with them, and he would also have them to his house. His banner was student success," Wekke said.

Wekke continued, stating that Brisch was extremely student focused, as well as politically savvy.

Dan S. Hobbs - 1987-1988

Wekke said Hobb's key contribution to the agency was his knowledge of the history of the system. His contribution was his intellect, his way of writing, and a profound contribution to the evolution of academic system policy.  

He mentored many individuals along the way. "He would appear at my desk every day to ask me what my new word was for the day. I was 20 years old, and I didn't know much; however, none the less, he encouraged me to increase my vocabulary," she laughed. "He had a way of speaking to you that encouraged you to learn and grow."

Joe Leone - 1982-1987

According to Wekke, Joe Leone's contribution was the establishment of professionalism for the agency, with regard to the administrative staff.

Wekke noted Leone was an administrator, who put in place a number of committees, which continue to impact the agency today.

"Chancellor, Joe Leone, who did not serve long, established a personnel committee, which ultimately created the Human Resources department. At the time, we did not have an HR department, health insurance or specified leave. He also added a hospitality committee, so that we could get to know each other, allowing us to break bread together. He put in place departments that we didn't have before, and what he started helped the agency," Wekke said.

E.T. Dunlap - 1961-1982

Wekke stated former Chancellor E.T. Dunlap will be remembered as creating a unified system.

"The institutions knew there was a unified system in place, and he was the leader of that system. He served for over 25 years," she said.

A New Professional Chapter

Wekke leaves OSRHE to assume her new position as the Director of State Accreditation, a federally funded state agency that approves education training for veterans as they use their GI benefits.

"I plan to take the wisdom I learned at OSRHE to listen and learn, and I also take with me a set of general skills and understanding of how the agency works," she said.

Wekke stated she came to the agency with general skills; however, she leaves the agency with multilevel skills and abilities, enabling her to think and address issues.

"I see my skills as deep and wide, and I am grateful for those who helped me along the way," she said.

Instead of standing at the agency's front gate, Wekke, the trustee, can be found not far behind.

"Now, remember, I am just 3.9 miles down the road, if you ever need my help," Wekke said.


Synthesizing the Practice


          Teachers Helping Teachers Signifying a Rainbow of Restoration


There is a colorful, beaming rainbow brightly overarching Moore, Oklahoma, signifying a promise that restoration is underway for the Briarwood, Highland East, and Plaza Towers elementary schools' teachers and students.


With outstretched arms and opened hands, teachers from as far away as Pennsylvania and teachers from  neighboring schools, are helping Moore teachers rebuild their strength, their classrooms, and their schools. Moore teachers are rising up from under the destruction caused by Oklahoma's most devastating, costly natural disaster.


Teachers are helping teachers.


Principal, Dr. Shelley Jaques-McMillan, said Briarwood's teaching and support staffs are ready to begin the 2013-14 school year. However, she admits their preparedness is attributed to the enormous support and generosity of not only Oklahoma teachers, but also other teachers that crisscross the United States.


"We have had a lot of help from fellow teachers. Teachers from Winding Creek Elementary, a Moore school, recopied curriculum and placed the material in binders and handed it to our teachers. Teachers from Pennsylvania came down and setup a teacher store, so that the Briarwood, Plaza Towers, Highland East teachers could come and get whatever they needed - all for free. The Pennsylvania teachers brought everything that they thought our teachers could use," McMillan said.


McMillan stated there were so many donations from teachers across the United States, the district set up another donation center at Winding Creek as well.


A Texas teacher who went to college with a Plaza Towers teacher decided she wanted to replenish her classmate's classroom library, McMillan explained.


"We got the word out about the teacher classmates, and the book donation effort became huge. Texas teachers brought 10,000 books. Our teachers came and shopped. It was all free. We were given gift cards, door prizes, and the Moore teachers were encouraged to take as many books as they could carry," McMillan said.


Briarwood principal, Shelley Jaques-McMillan and A + Teacher, Theresa Mosier are congratulated by Dr. Steven Wilson.


Not only were supplies, books, furniture, and curriculum replaced, the DaVinci Institute Board reissued the 2013 Oklahoma A+ Teacher award to Briarwood teacher, Theresa Mosier.   The award was originally issued at their annual banquet on March 29, and it was reissued at the board's at August meeting.



"I'd like to say thank you to the board for awarding me this honor a second time. Briarwood has been a part of the A+ Schools since its inception, and we are honored to be one of the 10 schools taken into the A+ schools network," Mosier said.


Briarwood 4
Briarwood teachers showered with gifts from teachers statewide, nationally and from local sponsors.  


Briarwood Elementary will conduct classes in the Emmaus Baptist Church, located at 16001 South Western in Oklahoma City, which is about a half a mile from the school's original site. McMillan stated the church opened up their doors to the Briarwood teachers and students and told them that they could stay for as long they wanted.


"This year's enrollment is at 553. Our enrollment last year was 675, and the children are still enrolling. The district thought we would be at about 400 or 450. I think the church people are going to be in for a big surprise, because we are in all three of their buildings, when initially we thought we would be in only one building," McMillan said.


As Briarwood teachers gathered for in-service at the church, four colleagues sat around a table stockpiled with gift bags. They were surrounded by TV cameras, and corporate sponsors, which included the Oklahoma City Thunder, Geico, Adopt a Classroom, Office Max, among others.

Briarwood 3
Several local TV stations were present to celebration the start of school with Briarwood Elementary.


Briarwood teachers, Amy Shorter, a University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma graduate; Annette Brown, a University of Central Oklahoma graduate; Dianne Gibson, an East Central University graduate; and Kelly McAllister, a University of Oklahoma graduate, have over 50 years combined teaching experience between them.


Each teacher shared stories of how other educators assisted each one of them personally in various ways, but they concurred that no amount of experience could have prepared them for May 20.


"I was amazed about how much the teachers donated from around the United States - books, paper, pencils, curriculum, and things that you don't think about when you're in the classroom until you don't have it," Brown said.


Gibson, a special education teacher, told a story of a retired special education teacher, who donated over 35 years of her own personal materials to help replace what was lost.


"I received notice from a former special education teacher from back east, who had sent some boxes specifically for a special education teacher. This woman sent her whole career in tubs. We got the most fabulous workbooks and manipulatives. She sent everything," Gibson said with tear filled eyes.


"Teachers are a continuous cycle of giving, and it never stops," Mosier said.


Look south of I-35 above the clouds for the rainbow symbolizing teachers coming to the aid of other teachers. The rainbow is a promise of a restoration celebration.



OTC News

Charting a Path to Character Navigates Students Toward

Leadership Skills


Who better to head up this year's Summer Institute for Character Education other than the Oklahoma State Schools of Character Program Co-coordinators, Sheril Morgan and Madison Tomlinson?


Thirty-eight pre-service teachers from across the state enjoyed safe travel through the 2013 theme, Charting a Path to Character.   The future educators recorded their learners' expected outcomes on road sign posters throughout the three day conference, which provided training over the topics of speaking character, classroom management skills, integrating character with academics, relationship building, and the Character Education Partnership's (CEP) 11 Principles.


Summer Institute
Pre-service teachers engage in fun-filled relationship exercises.


Muskogee Public Schools are Oklahoma's pioneer character educators, winning two State and National Schools of Character awards. In May 2013, Muskogee's Rougher Alternative School captured the honor, and in 2011, Muskogee High School also earned the title.


The Muskogee practitioners brought CEP's 11 principles to life with interactive activities, illustrating how relationship building is one of the key components needed to reform a school culture.


Dr. Floyd Coppedge, Vice President for the Oklahoma Center for Character Education, told the future character educators that Morgan and Tomlinson have been there. He said the character education advocates saw a school culture that was not going down the right path, and they worked hard to change it. Plus, they bring a state and national inside look.


"Morgan and Tomlinson were integral parts in changing their school culture. They are in a district, and they are still within the district, working with others, including the school administration to help maintain a school and district of character. They know what can happen from the ground up. When you can take a school and a district that was not going in the way that it should be going, and begin incorporating character qualities and character education, the culture will change for the better," Coppedge said.


"Students make destructive decisions based on what their character is. If we want to correct or bend those destructive decisions, then we have to get to the core of what's causing it. That is what character is. It is what drives our decisions. It is what drives our choices," Morgan said.

Gayle Fisher
St. Gregory's Dean, Gayle Fischer and a pre-service teacher dine at the Summer Institute's  banquet held at Oklahoma City's Petroleum Club.  


Morgan, a high school counselor, said she had the opportunity to work with Tomlinson, who she calls the character Yoda. Together, they followed her elementary students through middle and high school, and during those years, they created and cultivated very strong life-long relationships, which she said helped change the culture of the school.


"Building a creative, functioning culture is not only about relationships, but it is also about taking the time to find out about what happens to my friend, Melanie, matters to me, and what affects me matters to Melanie. So when we work strategically to make that happen, then amazing things happen. Other impactful activities such as service learning projects also transformed our school and community," Morgan said.


Tomlinson, also a Muskogee district administrator, shared research from the book, entitled How Children Succeed by Paul Tough. He said the findings spell out factors that foster intrinsic and extrinsic outcomes, as it relates to self-motivation, CEP's principle 7.


According to the CEP's 11 Principles, principle 7 is defined as the school fosters students' self-motivation.


During the breakout session entitled, "Building a Relationship", Tomlinson aired a video that depicted a child exhibiting an unfavorable behavior within an urban underserved school. The video showed how a teacher of character redirected the child's behavior by modeling a favorable alternative response to the student's distraught disposition and circumstances. Participants were asked to select the best responses during a digital Q & A section, addressing the issues depicted in the scenario.


The session's overtones brought to life how a character educator's practice reconstructs daily classroom challenges, and according to Tomlinson, a curriculum alone cannot transform a mindset nor teach, motivate, or encourage a misled child to make less destructive choices.


"Tough's book says that despite how low things are in the lives of some kids, a few kids just have grit. These kids are able to pull themselves out and make it despite the odds," Tomlinson said.

Summer Speakers
Josh Silver a NSU senior and a Muskogee High School alumni, enjoy the company of co-keynote speakers, Madison Tomlinson and Sheril Morgan of Muskogee Public Schools.


Tomlinson admits that for the handful of students who are able to persevere, the larger majority of kids have a difficult time managing their lives and their decisions. However, despite these adverse factors, Muskogee's data proves that all students can enjoy some degree of success, especially when character educators model and allow students, who lack character, to take on leadership roles.


"Character education is about how to lend our focus to teaching and modeling leadership. We can teach students how to share leadership by giving them opportunities to lead. A number of these kids don't know that they have leadership potential within them, but we can help them to understand that they all possess leadership skills," Tomlinson said.




 High Standards Earn Oklahoma's First Alternative School National  School of Character Recognition


Muskogee Public Schools is Oklahoma's forerunner in character education.


The Rougher Alternative Academy (RAA), the state's first alternative school, has been awarded the 2013 National School of Character by the Character Education Partnership (CEP) of Washington D.C. 

OTC Director, Goldie Thompson and Outreach Coordinator, Deena Thomas, were present to congratulate RAA for being named a National School of Character. RAA students,  BreAnn Smith and Tekila Syrus, served hostesses for the day of celebration.  


According to CEP, the program has chosen schools of national character to serve as a model to exhibit exemplary practices in academics, behavior, and culture. This year, RAA, along with 29 other schools from across the United States, received the honor.


Muskogee High School was recognized as Oklahoma's first national school of character in 2011, making the RAA the second Muskogee school to garner the award, a nationwide accolade x 2.


This past June, Muskogee's legislators, superintendent, administrators, teachers, parents, and community leaders assembled at RAA to congratulate and celebrate the students' accomplishment.


The jubilant state representative, Jerry McPeak, D-Warner, shouted, "You guys have overcome! You are national champions!"


RAA principal, Larry Sholes said when he learned that the Rougher Alternative Academy had won National School of Character, he was happiest for the team to get the recognition.


"They had worked so hard. We have had change upon change being implemented this year with the new TLE, (the teacher and leader effectiveness evaluation instrument), as well as Common Core State Standards, and roster verification. And when you have change stacked on top of change, it really takes a team to manage and implement that change effectively," the instructional leader said.


Sholes stated the teachers and the support staff are a motivated team. They were asked to do a lot of work, including holding their students to high standards, he added.


"I heard at a conference once, and I try to instill it in our staff, that low standards are the worst form of bigotry," Sholes said.

Muskogee principal
RAA Principal, Larry Sholes


Sholes contends that many RAA students face numerous challenges; however, the RAA team refuses to allow their adversities to hold them back from succeeding.


"Despite the fact that we take training in Bridges out of Poverty, and we know that we are dealing with students with a lot of challenges, and some people would say a lot of excuses of why they cannot succeed. Although we do take those things into consideration, we do not accept excuses for our students not succeeding," Sholes said.


RAA students, Tekila Syrus, a freshman, and BreAnn Smith, a junior, both agree that living a life, practicing good character has transformed their lives.


"I stayed in trouble most of the time, but since we have been at RAA, I have learned how to treat people the way I want to be treated. Our teachers care that we learn, and now, I care for other people too," Syrus said.


"I love coming to school to learn, and I enjoy helping the older people in my community," Smith said.  


Shirley Morgan-Glenn, RAA counselor, character club sponsor, and the facilitator of the CEP recognition process had planned to retire once she learned that RAA had been recognized as a National School of Character; however, Sholes said he had other plans for her.


"We love what we do, and we do a number of things with our community as well. We like showing ourselves off, so I guess I will be here one more semester," Glenn said.


KESAM Hosts Math Workshop and Donates $1000 to

Moore Schools


K-8 Scholars Appreciation Mathematics Statewide Partnership (KESAM: A Hands on, Brains on Journey of Excellence, an Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education federal grant, facilitated a free one day K-8 mathematics professional development workshop in early August for the Briarwood and Plaza Towers elementary schools.


A one-time $1000 donation was given to each school.     




State and National STEM Snapshots


First Governor's STEM Summit Launched


The first (STEM Summit) under the leadership of Governor, Mary Fallin took place in August at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City.


The STEM Summit was a forum made up of business leaders, legislators, and educators, collaborating to advance the initiatives of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in Oklahoma.


Governor Fallin and Norm Augustine, former CEO of Lockheed Martin, served as the plenary speakers.


For more information, please visit: http://govstemsummit.org/



Oklahoma Aerospace Industry Connect Educators With Industry


Oklahoma Aerospace Education and Industry Partnership (AEIP) hosted a professional day at Rose State College this past July, and hundreds of elementary and secondary teachers from across the state participated.


AEIP's focus was to link education and training efforts with industries, an effort spearheaded by the Coalition for the Advancement of Science and Mathematics Education in Oklahoma (CASMEO).


For information, please visit: http://www.casmeo.org



The Oklahoma State Department of Education Releases STEM Report



The Oklahoma State Department of Education released the Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM) Strategic Report, entitled For a STEM State of Mind in Oklahoma this past July.


The report highlighted three main goals, which include: Accessing to STEM Education, Attracting Highly Effective STEM Educators, and Leveraging Stakeholder Support.


For more information, please visit: http://www.ok.gov/sde/stem


If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact Saeed Sarani at 405.9192 or ssarani@osrhe.edu.  



Oklahoma Commission for Teacher Preparation

Oklahoma Examination Results Are Now Online


Oklahoma teacher certification scores are now available online.


The Oklahoma Commission for Teacher Preparation (OCTP) recently released an OCTP Educator Assessment application process that allows Oklahoma educators and educator candidates the ability to access an ALL-NEW electronic database, containing examination scores and test history.


The Certification Examination for Oklahoma Education (CEOE) cyberspace database provides teacher candidates the opportunity to view and print their certification examination results and history on multiple platforms in record time.


In addition, the CEOE digital application process collects and monitors data seamlessly, providing OCTP and the educator easy, convenient report results with the click of a button.  


OCTP Interim Executive Director, Renee Launey-Rodolf, said, "OCTP routinely fielded calls from schools or teachers needing a copy of their test results. Utilizing the new online tool will help reduce the call volume by allowing the users to login and print off their scores themselves."


To create a CEOE account, or if you would like additional information visit,





Northeastern State University 

2012-2013 NSU Teaching and Urban Reform

Network (TURN) Program In Review


Now in its third year, the TURN Program enjoyed enormous success in 2012-13.  In the fall of 2012, Jocelyn Lee Payne joined the TURN team as a faculty member to share teaching and support activities with TURN Director, Allyson Leggett Watson.   After two years at Hawthorne Elementary in Tulsa, the program moved to Anderson Elementary also located in Tulsa.    A record 36 teacher education students joined the program during 2012-13. Twenty four pre-service teachers joined in the fall 2012, and 12 were added in the spring 2013. A total of 82 candidates have completed the TURN program since its inception.


For several years, Anderson Elementary has been among the lowest performing schools in Oklahoma. As a result, the school was reconstituted in fall 201. New school leader was selected and was charged with the responsibility of selecting new leadership, and teaching teams to improve students' academic performance and morale.  The NSU TURN Program welcomed TURN Fellows, a participating partner who offered authentic opportunities to assist in improving students' academic success.  End-of-year testing data reported performance gains in both reading and math. 


Special Presentations


In addition to hosting visits from NSU faculty members Dr. James Ferrell and Dr. Cindy Fries, TURN Fellows and leaders hosted EFL Department Chairperson Dr. Renee Cambiano.  TURN Fellows also enjoyed special guest presentations from Regina Portman and Mr. Dusty Bailey, NSU-BA Career Services Counselors; Ms. Tracy Thompson, Ms. Erica Moore, and Ms. Tyseeke Edwards, principal, assistant principal, and parent liaison at Anderson Elementary; and Melissa Michie from the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.


Each TURN Fellow completed more than 56 hours of active observation and teacher support under the supervision of an experienced teacher.  TURN Fellows assisted with SRA reading instruction and classroom activities, monitored state testing, participated in field lessons, and assisted with school activities such as Field Day, Literacy Night, Parent Teacher Association, and parent-teacher conferences.


Each semester ends with an Urban Day of Engagement field lesson for current and former TURN Fellows.  The spring 2013 Day of Engagement included visits to Tulsa EduCare 2 (adjacent to Hawthorne Elementary) and KIPP Tulsa College Preparatory Academy; plus, the pre-service teachers participated in a docent-guided tour of the John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park and an artist-guided tour of the Site Unseen exhibit at the Tulsa AH-HA Museum.  The Day of Engagement program concluded with a forum with community and education thought and action leaders, including Dr. Ebony Johnson and Dr Pauline Harris from Tulsa Public Schools; Mr. Julius Pegues, Ms. Jean Neal and Ms. Vanessa Adams-Harris from John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation; Mr Reuben Gant from Greenwood Chamber of Commerce; and Mr. Eyakem Gulilat, AH-HA Museum Artist-in-Residence. 


The TURN candidates were transformed by their experiences with the community and the school culture.

To learn more about the TURN Teaching & Urban Reform Network Program, please click the following link:





Oklahoma State University


Wang Selected for the 2013 Summer Research Training Institute


The National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER) in the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) of the U.S. Department of Education awarded funding to Oklahoma State University professor, Lydia Wang, to attend 2013 the Summer Research Training Institute on Single-Case Intervention Research Design and Analysis at University of Wisconsin.


                                      Students Selected for Summer Institute


Pre-service teachers, Ashley Harper, Secondary Math; Alex Adams, Elementary; Madison Anders, Elementary; Kristin Mapel, Elementary; and Victoria Tow, Elementary attended the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education's Summer Institute for Character conference, entitled Charting a Path to Character this past July at Oklahoma City's Bricktown Hampton Inn and Suites.



Oklahoma University

OU and UCO Partnership Expands the Urban Teacher

Preparation Academy

The University of Oklahoma's (OU) Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education is excited to announce its new partnership with the University of Central Oklahoma to expand the Urban Teacher Preparation Academy (UTPA), a unique program created to address the teacher shortage in urban schools.

UTPA is the only program of its kind in the state and works in close partnership with Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS) to place upper-level education majors in high-need schools throughout the district for a year-long clinical teaching experience followed by two additional years of mentoring upon accepting positions in the OKCPS.

OU's first cohort received monthly professional development on this spring a variety of topics in preparation for fall student teaching. They were also required to work at a community service agency for a total of 20 hours in the neighborhood where they will be teaching in the fall. By volunteering in the neighborhood, it is hoped that the student will gain an understanding of the community where they will be teaching which will translate into being a more effective teacher.

"We are so happy to be partnering with UCO to broaden our reach and expand the consortium," said Teresa DeBacker, Associate Dean of Professional Development. "Our first cohort of students participated in informative training sessions in the spring and just received their school assignments for the fall, they are all so excited to begin student teaching in August!"

Oklahoma University's Pre-Service Teachers iPad Use Drives

Technology Initiative

The University of Oklahoma's (OU) Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education students wrapped up an exciting first semester engaging in the iPad Initiative.

The iPad initiative issued each undergraduate College of Education student an iPad to use in class, and upon graduation, the iPad was theirs to keep and use as a teaching tool in an Oklahoma classroom.

ipad head shot
The University of Oklahoma pre-service teachers plan to light up their classroom with their tech tools.

The initiative is part of the One University digital initiative (bit.ly/OneUniversity). OU launched the digital initiative as a way to embrace digital technology, allowing each pre-service teacher an individualized opportunity to immerse in and benefit from a technology education experience.

OU is implementing various technology tools and programs across campus, integrating technology with the use of videos and interactive online course materials, as well as online programs such as iTunes U, which are specifically formatted for the iPad.  The university is also developing and will offer a new iPad app, which will serve as a service program for students.

iPad and other technology tools and accessories are playing an active role in K-12 education as well.

"Since many K-12 schools have adopted iPad initiatives, it is imperative that future teachers learn and teach with the same tools. OU will supply iPads at no cost to the students and upon successful completion of the degree program they will get to keep the device and the digital content they create to use in their teaching careers," Dean Gregg Garn said.

ipad 1
OU teacher graduates are given their iPads to keep for future classroom use.

The JRCoE faculty plan to conduct a number research projects over the next few semesters, according to Teresa DeBacker, Associate Dean for Professional Education and Professor of Educational Psychology.

"Recently there have been quite a few iPad initiatives in higher education, as well as K-12 schools, but there often is not a lot of research. We are going to do research to gauge the impact of having this device on our students, both as learners and as future educators.   Planned projects will study the technology adoption process in faculty and students, as well as the impact of apps on learning and achievement. We want to look at to what extent they integrate the iPad into their lives as students as well as into their lives in general. Ultimately, we want to get better use of the iPads in really instructionally solid ways in our classrooms,"DeBacker said. 



University of Central Oklahoma



       Urban Teaching Student Leads Douglass to All State Championships


University of Central Oklahoma graduate Billy Elles created a competitive speech program this spring at Douglass High School in Oklahoma City, leading two students to state championships and an all state recognition at the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association (OSSAA) State Speech Tournament.  Elles, a then-senior and current teacher education candidate in the Urban Teacher Preparation Academy (UTPA), student teaches at Douglass and started the program on his own initiative.  With help from Elles' leadership and encouragement, the Douglass students qualified to compete in six different events and advanced five students to the final round.  Two emerged as state champions, along with many other top finishes in various categories.  Elles has now graduated from UCO, but continues to teach in Oklahoma City Public Schools.


     Prospective Teachers Academy for High School Juniors and Seniors


All Oklahoma high school juniors and seniors looking to go into the field of teaching are invited to attend the Prospective Teachers Academy at UCO!  It's a wonderful cost-free opportunity for students to gain knowledge of teacher education programs in the state of Oklahoma and provides attendees with products that pertain to college and teaching that will give them a jump start in their careers. Individuals receive a free (complimentary) lunch, t-shirts and books that aid in college success and inspire teaching.  For information, please contact Dr. Susan Scott at sscott@uco.edu.


2013 - 6th Annual Reading Conference - To register, visit:   www.okhighered.org/otc/reading-conference.shtml
The Oklahoma Teacher Connection TeachLINK


The Oklahoma Teacher Connection, a division of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, will electronically publish the TeachLINK E-newsletter three times a year.


The purpose of the E-Newsletter is to promote, market, and showcase news stories, creative features, curricular highlights, research data, and technological updates, which impact Oklahoma's Colleges of Teacher Education, common education, higher education faculty, students, and communities.


We welcome all comments, opinions, and/or concerns. Please forward your remarks to Deena Thomas at dthomas@osrhe.edu.

In This Issue
A Message From the OTC Director
Direct from the Editor's Desk
OSRHE's Academic Affairs
Synthesizing the Practice
OTC News
State and National STEM Snapshots
Oklahoma Commission for Teacher Preparation
Campus News: Northeastern State University
Campus News: Oklahoma State University
Campus News: Oklahoma University
Campus News: University of Central Oklahoma