The Broken Arrow Public Schools Foundation recently awarded 49 grants worth a total of $27,550.16 to teachers at 15 different schools across the district.
“Nothing beats seeing the joy on a teacher’s face when they learn they are getting some extra help,” BAPS Foundation President Sharon Whelpley said. “We’ve been proud to support our schools for 25 years and that support is needed now more than ever.”
Every fall, hundreds of teachers submit applications for grants that will impact the education of their students. The Foundation sub-committee chooses those grants for projects it considers most exemplary, creative and original. Members of the Foundation then award checks to the teachers by paying a surprise visit to their classroom.
“We had some tough choices this year when we reviewed the applications,” Foundation Grant Committee Chairman Kamara Washington said. “We tried to focus on unique opportunities that could impact the most students possible.”
If you’re interested in supporting teachers and students through the BAPS Foundation, a Back to Basics Gala & Auction is being held April 7 at Stoney Creek Hotel and Conference Center in Broken Arrow. Tickets are only $75 and are sale now at bitly.com/BABack2Basics.
During the regular Board of Education meeting on March 12, Broken Arrow Public Schools Board of Education signed a resolution that provides a call-to-action to Oklahoma legislators to restore funding for public education.
The resolution states that it supports all measures taken by Broken Arrow Public Schools’ classroom teachers to demand the necessary funding for a meaningful teacher pay raise and adequate education funding.
In addition, the resolution also supports an advocacy plan endorsed by Oklahoma teachers and stands ready to take any steps necessary to improve conditions for Broken Arrow teachers and students, which includes a districtwide suspension of classes beginning April 2 should politicians not arrive at a solution.
On Monday, March 12, Broken Arrow Public Schools Board of Education approved the 2018-19 Instructional Calendar (pdf). Students will return for their first day of school on Thursday, Aug. 16. In order to help accommodate families and their planning, five snow days have been built into the calendar, and the last day of school has been set for May 24, 2019. If unused snow days are remaining at the end of the 2018-19 school year, the last day of school will be adjusted for an earlier dismissal. Please refer to the bottom right-hand side of the calendar for more details.
New this year, the district will hold a Virtual Day for all grade levels on Jan. 22, and all students will be required to complete assignments at home. Elementary students will complete assignments given from their school site while secondary students will complete assignments through their Chromebooks.
The date of graduation commencement for the Class of 2019 will be released next winter; most likely in January 2019, so please check the website for updates. Because the BOK Center is a venue that holds many events, BAPS is not able to negotiate a date until later in the calendar year. We apologize for any inconvenience but look forward to hosting friends and family as another class of BA Tigers walks across the stage next May.
I wanted to take a moment to email you directly in an effort to answer a few questions you may have regarding the potential April 2 teacher walkout, arranged by the Oklahoma Education Association (OEA) in conjunction with the Broken Arrow Education Association and teacher leadership groups.
According to the OEA, the walkout and subsequent school closure is a call-to-action to the Oklahoma State Legislature for its refusal to provide Oklahoma public school teachers with a raise for over a decade along with its inadequate funding of public schools.
What does this mean for our district and the instructional calendar?
We are an “hours district,” which means that students and teachers must complete a minimum of 1,080 hours of instructional time over the course of the year to be in compliance with state department regulations.
Based on communication with OEA, BAEA and other teacher leadership groups, we know we will have significant absentees beginning April 2. So in support of our teachers, all schools across the district will be closed.
We will start making up the time by using the five snow days built into our instructional calendar. Using all five of those days would make the last day of school May 25. If we need to make up more time, district leadership will review what is best for our students. That may mean adding days to the end of the school year or adding minutes to each remaining school day.
What about extracurricular activities and state testing?
I’ve received a number of questions about whether extracurricular and after-school activities will continue to take place if school is suspended. “Will we still have our game? What about prom?”… just to name a few. Because details are changing rapidly, we will continue to work with the OSSAA as well as state and local leadership to make those choices, and we will keep you posted.
One event that you can count on not changing is graduation. We WILL graduate the Broken Arrow High School Class of 2018 as scheduled on May 15.
As far as state testing goes for students in grades 3-10, we are working with our state testing company and state leaders to be prepared if we need to change testing dates. For the April 10 SAT testing date for our juniors, we have options for rescheduling that exam. We will continue to keep you updated as decisions are made.
What about the kids?
We will rely on local faith-based and civic groups to help. Whether they choose to provide food or educational activities for our students, we are grateful for these folks. We are also working with our child nutrition department to explore options for food service and will continue to update you as we get more information.
Should 12-month/support employees come to work during a walkout?
Yes, because unlike certified personnel in the district, support employees are on daily and/or hourly contracts. If a support employee misses work, he or she must take personal leave. Legally, 12-month employees must be at work to receive payment for that day. Our preference is to continue “business as usual” with support employees should a teacher walkout occur.
Will teachers and 9-month employees be paid?
Yes, all teachers and 9-month employees will be paid as usual, as their pay is based on dividing a 9-month pay into a 12-month period. In addition, we know that time missed will most likely be made up at the end of the walkout.
How does the Broken Arrow Public Schools Board of Education and district administration feel about the walkout?
District administration is 100 percent committed to supporting our teachers as they consider whether or not to participate in the walkout. Even if we are put into a position to close school, we will support you. Please understand that no teacher will be subjected to disciplinary consequences for walking out of school. We understand your “why” and know you are wholeheartedly doing this for the future of public education. At the same time, we will support our teachers if they decide not to walk out as well.
At Monday’s Board of Education meeting, the board will vote on two agenda items regarding the fight to get our teachers the pay they deserve. I will make some remarks to the Board before the vote, and I am confident they support your decision as well.
With that said, we encourage you to continue contacting state lawmakers. Make sure your voice is being heard. By clicking on the following links, you will be able to access a list of our House Members and Senate Members. If you prefer to call our legislators, text your ZIP code to 520-200-2223 to receive a text with their names and phone numbers.
Still have questions?
We understand this may be a time of confusion, and we want to be available to answer your questions. Please don’t hesitate to contact school leadership by calling 918-259-5700. While I know we do not have all of the answers now, we will soon. I am very hopeful we will see a resolution and a win for public education soon enough.
Janet C. Dunlop, Ph.D.
Broken Arrow Public Schools
Gatesway is partnering with Broken Arrow Public Schools and Jenks Public Schools to host the Regional Community Resource Fair for students with disabilities and their families on Thursday, March 29, from 6 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Gatesway Foundation, located at 1217 E. College St. in Broken Arrow. This longstanding event allows all age levels of students and parents to learn firsthand about support programs and services offered to individuals with disabilities by universities, technology centers and community agencies.
“Whether students are entering the work force, heading to college, or will need lifelong assistance, this event will feature representatives from across the region who will discuss the academic and vocational support services offered to students with disabilities after graduation,” said April Lodes, transition specialist at Broken Arrow Public Schools. “It is never too early to begin planning for the future.”
During this event, top professionals from high school and post-secondary education will discuss transition issues that students with disabilities may experience after graduating high school and moving into the next phase of their educational career or the workforce.
"It is imperative for students with disabilities and their parents to start early in learning about resources available to students after high school graduation," Lodes said. "The Regional Community Resource Fair provides a fantastic opportunity for students and parents to visit with representatives from community agencies and post-secondary educational institutions that offer services, employment opportunities and programs to students with disabilities."
For more information or questions regarding the Regional Community Resource Fair, please contact April Lodes at firstname.lastname@example.org or 918-259-4310, ext 4838. Please refer to the Regional Community Resource Fair flier for the agenda.
To help reduce hunger in Broken Arrow, Broken Arrow Public Schools (BAPS) is once again partnering with Move For Hunger, Broken Arrow Neighbors and Broken Arrow Accent Moving and Storage for the sixth annual districtwide food drive March 26-30, the week following spring break.
Broken Arrow Neighbors is asking that certain sites collect specific items in order to complete summer food baskets that will be distributed to families in need.
“I am always amazed at the level of understanding today’s youth has regarding food insecurity and their willingness to accept the call to action of the Move for Hunger project,” said Kim Goddard, executive director of Broken Arrow Neighbors. “This food drive is truly a reflection of a strong community joining forces to address social issues that are typically unacknowledged.”
According to a report by Feeding America, 17 percent of Oklahoma’s population is considered food insecure, leaving 242,990 children unsure where they will get their next meal. Locally, this means that one out of four Broken Arrow children are at risk of being hungry.
For five days, students and staff from across the Broken Arrow district are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items – including canned foods, juice, pasta, soup, baby food and more – to any school site. All donations benefit Broken Arrow Neighbors, a nonprofit that provides basic needs and emergency assistance to Broken Arrow families.
Last year, the effort resulted in more than 12,000 pounds of food. The goal for this year is to surpass 12,000 items.
Nationwide, the BAPS event is the largest school-related drive for Move For Hunger, and the district’s assistance throughout the school year makes it the top contributor of food donations to Broken Arrow Neighbors.
The districtwide drive began with an idea generated by Candy Lievsay, teacher at Sequoyah Middle School. In January 2012, her classroom read an article about Move For Hunger, a nonprofit organization that teams up with relocation companies across the nation to pick up non-perishable food items from people who are moving and deliver the items to local food banks. In the fall of 2012, Sequoyah held a food drive that collected more than 3,500 pounds of food, and Move For Hunger along with Accent Moving and Storage supplied the muscle to get the food delivered to Broken Arrow Neighbors.
"As a local Broken Arrow business since 1987, it is our way to give back to our city and to the citizens who are in need," said Accent Moving and Storage's Jody Davis. "This food drive has such a significant impact on our community, and it is an honor to serve the district, BA Neighbors and our city through this heartwarming effort."
In March of 2013, the district held its first districtwide food drive and has since collected more than 70,000 pounds of food.
To learn more about Broken Arrow Neighbors, please visit www.baneighbors.org.
Broken Arrow Public Schools is teaming up with the district’s PTA Council to host a Parent Awareness Night, which will provide parents with helpful resources regarding their teenagers from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on April 5 at Broken Arrow High School. Topics will include growth and development, bullying and social media, suicide prevention, drug awareness and more.
“Several of our community partners have agreed to join us and offer their expertise with our Broken Arrow parents,” BAPS Executive Director of Student Services Derek Blackburn said. “We truly hope parents will take the opportunity to learn more about issues that may be affecting their teens in one way or another.”
Due to the sensitive nature of the topics, it is recommended that only parents with students in grades 4-12 attend.
This come-and-go event is participant driven and allows parents to choose from the following sessions:
Each session will be presented three times throughout the evening, so parents will have multiple opportunities to attend.
Should you have certain concerns or questions that you’d like addressed by our community partners, you can submit them prior to April 5 by emailing ParentAwarenessNight@baschools.org.
The SAT is the nation's most widely used admissions test among colleges and universities, so Broken Arrow Public Schools (BAPS) recently partnered with the College Board to administer the exam to all juniors during the school day at no cost on Tuesday, April 10. The SAT is accepted at all Oklahoma colleges and universities.
Students will need to bring an approved SAT calculator on test day. In case of emergency, there will be a few on hand that can be passed out. Only battery-operated, handheld equipment can be used for testing. No power cords are allowed. Calculators permitted during testing include most graphing calculators, all scientific calculators and all four-function calculators, which are not recommended.
For a full list of acceptable calculators, download the SAT Subject Tests Student Guide.
“Research shows that the SAT assesses the critical thinking skills that our students need for academic success in college and beyond,” BAPS Superintendent Dr. Janet Dunlop said. “Our instructional team decided to transition from offering the free ACT to the SAT because the SAT was recently redesigned to reflect state and district standards. This will allow our students to showcase their best work by mastering the skills they are learning in the classroom.”
In 2016, the College Board made significant changes to the SAT, including content, format and scoring.
“There is no penalty for guessing, no more SAT vocabulary words, more time per question, and more relevant math and reading questions,” BAPS Executive Director of Assessment Jean Brassfield said. “The redesigned test prioritizes content that students will encounter in college and in their future work lives. It will reinforce what students are learning in the classroom and will focus on the content tested, not just test-taking strategies.”
In addition, the College Board provides students with SAT practice tools through the Khan Academy, which includes personalized study plans, full-length practice tests, thousands of interactive practice questions, video lessons, test taking tips and more.
“New data links Khan Academy practice tools to substantial student score gains from the PSAT to the SAT,” Brassfield said. “Nationally, students who used Khan Academy to prepare for the SAT for 20 hours experienced an average score gain of 115 points on a 1,600 point scale. That’s nearly double the average score gain achieved by students who didn’t use Khan Academy.”
Juniors are required to take the SAT on April 10 and will not need to register. April 24 is a scheduled make-up day for students that missed taking the test on April 10.
“Administering the SAT during the school day helps foster a college-going culture and increases access to college,” said Brassfield. “’SAT School Day’ is beneficial for students who may otherwise face barriers to standard Saturday administrations.”
For more detailed information on the SAT, please visit www.baschools.org/SAT.