Broken Arrow Public Schools students recently welcomed Oklahoma state lawmakers and students from surrounding school districts for a discussion regarding education laws.
“It was impressive to hear our students asking questions and voicing their opinions in regard to legislation that truly impacts each of them,” Associate Superintendent of Instruction Karla Dyess said. “I know both our students and legislators value this time together. It was great hearing discussions surrounding education and other key community issues.”
During this event, legislators and students had the opportunity to exchange ideas and collaborate on educational issues. For the latter half of the event, legislators evaluated the perspective and insights shared by the students and worked together to determine a collective direction.
“The goal of this forum is to allow our Oklahoma legislators to hear student feedback without anyone else influencing the discussions or topics,” Dyess said. “Our end goal is to empower our students to be engaged and active within the community in which they live. After all, they are our future leaders of tomorrow.”
In addition to Broken Arrow students, high school students from Union, Jenks, Owasso, Bixby, Sand Springs, Claremore and Collinsville school districts were also in attendance.
State legislators who attended were Sen. Nathan Dahm, Sen. John Haste, Rep. Jeff Boatman, Rep. Ross Ford, Rep. Stan May and Rep. Melissa Provenzano.
This was the seventh annual Student and Legislative Forum hosted by Broken Arrow Public Schools in partnership with the Northeast Oklahoma Curriculum Consortium.
Pre-kindergarten is an exciting time for children, and the district’s early childhood department is making the transition easier for parents by providing an informational meeting focusing on what to expect as the new school year approaches. The annual “All Things Pre-K” meeting is at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 20, at Kirkland Theater (808 E College Street).
The event will focus on enrollment details, curriculum and daily schedules. The Pre-K principals will also be available to answer questions.
The district is proud to have four Early Childhood Centers (Creekwood, Aspen Creek, Park Lane and Arrow Springs) and multiple Pre-K classrooms at various elementary schools that give students a place to embark upon new adventures in a classroom environment. All children who turn four years old by Sept. 1 are eligible for enrollment as a 2020-21 Pre-K student. Enrollment will not take place at this meeting.
For more information, please contact 918-259-5724.
With the recent change in the weather, Broken Arrow Public Schools is providing information that may answer frequently asked questions regarding winter weather scenarios.
How do you decide to close school?
Our goal is to hold school according to the calendar approved by the Board of Education. We understand the logistical challenges caused by closing school with limited notice and will only do so if needed to ensure the safety of our students and staff.
A number of factors are taken into consideration when making the decision to close, including the amount of snow or freezing rain, road conditions, temperature, windchill and the ability to clear parking lots and sidewalks. District administrators closely monitor local forecasts and constantly consult with trained meteorologists from local media partners when the potential for severe weather is first announced.
District administrators also personally drive roads in different areas of the school district to determine conditions beginning as early as 3 a.m.
When and how will I be notified school is closed?
Our goal is to make the final decision to cancel school no later than 5:30 a.m. on the day under consideration. There are some circumstances where severe winter conditions already exist, and we are able to determine the need to close school on the night before. However, we know the weather in Oklahoma can change rapidly and even the best forecast may change before a storm hits.
If school is closed or any adjustments to the schedule need to be made, an announcement will be made via local television stations, the district website, Facebook, Twitter and the district’s alert notification system, SchoolMessenger.
Parents may contact their child’s school site(s) to update or confirm their contact information.
Additionally, parents and community members can receive push notifications by downloading the Broken Arrow Public Schools mobile app.
If school is closed, all afterschool activities including athletic practices and home competitions and district evening events.
Is there a set temperature when school will be closed?
While a firm temperature or windchill threshold may seem like an easy way to make a decision, that is not the case. Temperature and windchill are just part of the equation we use when deciding to close. For example, a warmer temperature with cloudy skies and some precipitation on the roads could lead to bus delays and students being exposed to worse conditions than a colder temperature with clear roads and sunny skies.
Additionally, temperatures can fluctuate from even the best forecast, and the multitude of ways to check current weather conditions could lead to varying results and cause confusion.
What about the students who don’t have warm clothes?
Our teachers, staff and administrators care for their students like their own children. If they see a student who may not have appropriate winter clothing, programs are in place with various community partners to meet their needs. Parents who need assistance providing warm clothing for their children can contact their child’s principal or counselor.
If you would like to help provide winter clothing for students, contact Amanda Grace, coordinator of community development, at 918-259-7400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additionally, nearly half of our students qualify for free or reduced breakfast and lunch, so holding school guarantees them access to two warm and healthy meals that may not be available at home. Unscheduled school closures may also cause significant hardships on working families who may have to miss work to care for their young children.
Will the cold weather affect the school buses?
We take many steps to make sure our fleet of school buses runs safely and efficiently every day, and especially in cases of inclement weather. If cold temperatures are in the forecast, buses are plugged into engine heaters overnight and a team of transportation employees arrives earlier than normal to start the buses and check for problems.
Our team has batteries and other replacement parts on site and can quickly perform a number of repairs caused by cold weather. As an added precaution, we also have a mechanic specifically assigned to potential breakdowns during route times. This allows a quick response to any potential issues on the road by delivering a spare bus.
It is also important to keep in mind that school buses are actually safer in many winter conditions than most personal vehicles due to their weight and design.
Couldn’t we just do a virtual day?
We tested a districtwide virtual day during the 2018-19 school year with months of advanced planning and communication. While that may be a solution in the future, plans are not currently in place to hold a virtual day on short notice in the event of weather.
Will the days have to be made up?
The district has three weather days built into the 2019-20 instructional calendar to allow for school to be closed for emergencies or inclement weather without the need to be made up. If the three weather days are not used, the end of the school year will be moved up accordingly.
This month is School Board Recognition Month – a time designated to salute the work of more than 2,700 elected school board members for their untiring dedication to public education.
“At Broken Arrow Public Schools, we are privileged to have five committed individuals who play a vital role in serving our students, staff and community,” Superintendent Dr. Janet Dunlop said.
The five members are Steve Allen, President; Steve Majors, Vice President; Jerry Denton, Clerk; John Cockrell, Deputy Clerk; and Brandy Roulet, Member.
“Each of these individuals develop policies and make tough decisions on complex education and social issues impacting the entire community,” Dunlop said. “They bear the responsibility of a $112 million budget, which serves more than 19,000 students and 2,000 district employees. They carry out the truest form of representative government in our democracy – volunteer public service.”
The Board is responsible for establishing policies under which the school system operates while acting within the framework of Oklahoma and federal laws. As citizen leaders, individual school board members contribute hundreds of hours each year to leading the district, whether it be crafting policies, listening to staff and student concerns, or recognizing outstanding programs.
“I hope each of you will help me take a moment to express appreciation for each of them and the effort they invest in improving our district,” Dunlop said.
Learn more about each member by visiting www.baschools.org/BoardofEducation.
The Long Range Planning Committee, which consists of parents from each elementary and middle school in the district, has announced an additional version of its recommended attendance boundaries for the 2020-21 school year.
Committee members will present the additional recommendation to the Board of Education at its Jan. 13 meeting.
This recommendation modifies areas east and north of the Muskogee Turnpike to continue attending Highland Park Elementary and Oneta Ridge Middle School. Students living between the Muskogee Turnpike and State Highway 51 would still attend Elementary 16 but would go to Oneta Ridge Middle School.
Those changes were made due to public comments received concerning travel distance and road conditions, primarily to Childers Middle School.
As a result, two sections along 71st Street would change from Highland Park to Timber Ridge, the district’s second-newest elementary school which opened in 2017. Other adjustments were also made to the recommendation based on public feedback.
The proposed changes to the boundaries were necessary due to the district’s continued enrollment growth and the construction of Broken Arrow’s 16th elementary school, which will open in August.
Parents and community members are encouraged to submit feedback and questions through a survey.