Tuesday September 1, 2015

Mary Mélon: These are Our Schools

Welcome to The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public School’s e-newsletter, Our Schools. Our intent with this monthly communication piece is to keep you informed about the work of the Foundation, as well as share news from the district. I encourage you to stay subscribed and to share this with others who have interest.

Much attention is being given to the state of public education across the country. As the largest district in the state, OKCPS is the focus of much of that attention here in Oklahoma. As citizens of Oklahoma City, we have much to be proud of as we celebrate and benefit from the major improvements that have taken place in the years since we passed the first MAPS initiative.

However, our lack of progress in our public education system, and in public health, will continue to hold us back if they are not addressed and improved. To do so will require herculean effort and the collaboration of all of us. No matter the effort required – failure is not an option.

I believe 100 percent in our ability to provide each of our students in OKCPS with the hope and belief that they need to be successful in life. And, I believe in providing the hard working educators with the support and respect they deserve as they navigate the day-to-day issues they face in their classrooms. Our mission at The Foundation is to advance excellence, create champions and build strong community support for lasting change in Oklahoma City Public Schools. A huge mission, but when addressed strategically and with intention, one that can be fulfilled. Much of the work that has been done in recent months has been focused on alignment and strategic planning. I’m happy to report that with the outstanding guidance from a committed Foundation Board of Directors and by paying careful attention to and participating in the district’s strategic planning process, The Great Conversation; we have focused areas aligned with the greatest needs.

Our focus areas include continuation of our traditional programs, which has evolved into a very successful partnership with DonorsChoose.org; support of English Language Learning programs and community engagement and communication. In this issue and in upcoming issues, we will highlight details of our work in these areas and encourage our readers to get involved. We look forward to sharing details and progress as we move forward with some exciting initiatives. We also look forward to telling the stories of OKCPS, both the success stories (of which there are many) and the challenges. Understanding all the issues at play is critical in developing a sense of ownership in the schools.

These are not “those kids”. They are “our kids”. Which means, these are “Our Schools”. It’s up to us to support them and the talented and dedicated principals, teachers and support staff that spend school days with our kids –they deserve it and cannot do it alone.

On Aug. 4, 2015, The Foundation launched a new monthly e-newsletter called “Our Schools.” The above letter from Foundation CEO and president Mary Mélon was included in the first edition.

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