Sunday August 8, 2021

A New School Year Like No Other

The beginning of a new school year brings with it great anticipation on the part of students, families and educators. Coming out of last year, when school was anything but typical, this year has a different kind of anticipation. In addition to everything that goes along with a new school year, school districts are navigating the best ways to offer the critically important in-person learning environment while keeping students and staff safe.

Oklahoma City Public Schools superintendent Sean McDaniel sends a regular message to OKCPS families and staff that is always filled with important and relevant information. His back to school message outlines strong recommendations for safety, including COVID-19 vaccinations for all who are eligible, universal masking and quarantining after exposure. These are science based recommendations and can ensure that our students remain in school buildings where they need to be. In addition to these recommendations, the district has added other safeguards like regular cleaning and ionization systems.

McDaniel’s message also shared excitement about having students back in the classroom and highlights exciting updates about one to one technology, which will provide a mobile device to every student. This is one positive change coming from the pandemic that offers so many benefits for our kids. He shared information about Family Connect, which connects families with resources for unmet needs, as well as additional counselors made possible by a State Department of Education program. There will also be family advocates at every school to help connect families to district resources and additional tutors to help students with learning loss. There are twelve new activity buses to support transportation needs for athletics, Fine Arts and other events and, of course, the Foundation’s new ReadOKC On the Go book bus that has already been out providing books to students.

OKCPS leadership and staff has been extraordinarily busy with these plans and so much more. For anyone who thinks summers are slow, the few highlights above should offer clarification that it is anything but.

A lot is asked of our schools and they gladly do a great deal. But, it’s important to remember that they cannot do it alone. There are countless ways to engage and support our schools and the Foundation is here to help with these connections. We can all agree on one simple fact…each and every one of our kids deserve every opportunity to learn, grow and succeed. It’s up to all of us to make that happen.

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