Amidst the gratitude and applause from more than 700 people in attendance at the fourth annual Star Awards Gala at the Tulsa Renaissance Hotel, Broken Arrow Public Schools (BAPS) announced Broken Arrow High School science teacher Donna Gradel as the 2017 District Teacher of the Year and transportation dispatcher Debbie Jordan as the Support Employee of the Year. In addition, a number of retirees and service award recipients were also recognized.
“At Broken Arrow Public Schools, we want every student to have a connection with at least one adult in our district, whether that is a teacher, bus driver or coach,” said BAPS Superintendent Dr. Janet Dunlop. “The Star Gala gives us a chance to say ‘thank you’ to a number of individuals who consistently go above and beyond. It is because of them that students stay engaged in their educational experience, and when students are engaged, graduation is sure to follow.”
During this sit-down dinner event, 27 Site Teachers of the Year were formally introduced, five were named as finalists and one was honored as the District Teacher of the Year.
“The connection between teachers and students is critical,” said Gradel as she described her teaching philosophy. “In education, students must always be at the core of what we do. The future of our community will depend on our willingness to invest in their education. We have the obligation and privilege to prepare them for a bright future as productive citizens. So let’s strengthen what needs to be strengthened, create new avenues of learning where necessary, duplicate our successes and never cease to reach for the stars.”
Gradel will go on to represent BAPS at the State Teacher of the Year Competition this summer.
In addition, five staff members were recognized as Support Staff of the Year finalists, and transportation dispatcher Debbie Jordan was presented with the Beyond and Above award for consistently going the extra mile in support of the district’s goals and objectives.
“Debbie embodies the characteristics of what it means to be a Tiger,” said Assistant Director of Transportation Rosalyn Vann Jackson. “She is tenacious in the pursuit to be excellent at her daily job. She exhibits a high level of integrity in ensuring the safety for the 12,000 eligible bus riders. She shows gratitude for her job and does her best to express that gratitude to others. Finally, she has very high expectations for herself, demonstrating daily respect for our district, patrons, students, support staff, teachers and administration.”
Nominations for the Beyond and Above award were made by principals, teachers, administrators, supervisors and coworkers. A five-member committee consisting of site and district administrators conducted a review of all candidate nominations before spring break.
During the Star Gala, a number of retirees and service award recipients who have contributed 20 or more years of service were also recognized for the positive impact they’ve made throughout their career.
“Each staff member recognized at the Gala plays an important role in educating, equipping and empowering a community of learners,” BAPS Director of Employee Relations Adrienne Stout said. “Because of them, this district is a shining star in public education.”
Broken Arrow High School (BAHS) seniors Jada Holliday and Jacob Taylor were recently named semifinalists in the 2017 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program.
“Inclusion in the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, now in its 53rd year, is one of the highest honors bestowed upon graduating high school seniors,” according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Education.
Established in 1964 by executive order of the President, this program recognizes and honors some of the nation's most distinguished graduating high school seniors for their accomplishments in academic success, leadership and service to their community and school.
Holliday and Taylor are two of 722 semifinalists who were selected from nearly 5,100 candidates. There were only 10 students selected from Oklahoma.
The Commission on Presidential Scholars, a group of up to 32 eminent citizens appointed by the President, will select and announce 161 finalists in May.
“This accomplishment is an incredible honor for both Jacob and Jada and represents the culmination of years of dedicated study and hard work on their parts,” BAHS Principal Liz Burns said. “It is also an amazing honor for both our school and our district and speaks highly of the contributions of the many teachers who have played a role in the academic development of these students. We couldn't be prouder.”
For more information about this honor, please visit www.ed.gov/psp
From instructional breakthroughs to community involvement and from district financials to student activities, Broken Arrow Public Schools (BAPS) experienced much progress during the 2015-16 school year. To highlight the district’s progress both inside and outside of the classroom, BAPS’ comprehensive annual report showcases a variety of programs, initiatives and accomplishments from the previous school year.
To view the annual report online, please click here.
For the fourth year, Broken Arrow High School’s (BAHS) senior class will walk across the stage at the BOK Center to receive their diplomas. The ceremony takes place on Monday, May 15, 2017, at 7 p.m. With a seating capacity of almost 16,000, the BOK Center provides ample seating for the family and friends of BAHS seniors who wish to attend the ceremony.
"We are excited to celebrate this milestone for the Broken Arrow High School Class of 2017," BAHS Principal Liz Burns said.
The following is important information about the 2017 BAHS graduation for Broken Arrow students, parents and patrons.
Because there is not dedicated parking for the BOK Center and there may be several events taking place on the evening of Monday, May 15, we encourage attendees to allow ample time to park and arrive for graduation.
For more information about this year’s graduation ceremony, please call Broken Arrow High School at 918-259-4310.
Broken Arrow Public Schools (BAPS) is pleased to help Kindergarten transition become easier for parents by providing two informational meetings that will focus on what to expect as the new school year approaches. The fourth annual “Kindergarten 101” parent meetings will take place on Monday, May 1 at Leisure Park Elementary located at 4300 South Juniper and Thursday, May 4 at Creekwood Elementary located at 1301 E. Albany St. in Broken Arrow. Both meetings begin at 6 p.m. and will last roughly an hour.
“We will discuss information about curriculum, daily schedules, transportation processes, and all of the nuts and bolts of kindergarten,” Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education Karla Dyess said. “We encourage all parents with an incoming kindergarten student to attend.”
BAPS is proud to have 14 elementary schools that give students a place to embark upon new adventures in a classroom environment. All children who turn five years old by or on Sept. 1, 2017 are eligible for enrollment as a 2017-18 kindergarten student. Kindergarten enrollment opens May 2. Please note that enrollment will not take place at these meetings.
Current Pre-K students attending BAPS Early Childhood Center (ECC) will not need to re-enroll. Parents will need to update their student's immunization records with their ECC in order for the student to be promoted.
For new students, parents will need to complete the required paperwork and finish the enrollment process at the Enrollment Center, located at 210 N. Main St. For more information on new student enrollment and what to bring to the Enrollment Center, please click here.
Parents do not need to attend both sessions and may choose to attend on the date most convenient for them. For more information, please contact the elementary education division at 918-259-5756.
For more than 20 years, Broken Arrow High School’s (BAHS) Project Graduation has given graduating seniors a way to celebrate their achievement with classmates in a supervised, fun and safe environment. This all-night “lock-in” party in the BAHS main lobby will bring the Class of 2017 together for one last hoorah following this year’s commencement ceremony on May 15.
“We continuously strive for 100% literacy, engagement and graduation, and after our students walk across the stage and achieve the final goal, we want to provide them with a safe venue in which to celebrate with each other,” Superintendent Dr. Janet Dunlop said. “At Project Graduation, our seniors will enjoy food, activities and an opportunity to fellowship with their classmates one last time before embarking on a new journey.”
Nationwide, prom and graduation nights are statistically the most fatal for high school students. Project Graduation offers each and every graduating senior a safe place to experience their achievement, and Broken Arrow families may take comfort knowing that their children remain safe while celebrating.
“They are now in the process of raising funds, securing contracts with vendors, scheduling facilities, solidifying food options, developing programming, and securing and organizing volunteers,” Jedamski said. “These are skills that will serve them well past their high school years. They have really taken pride in making this event their own for themselves and their classmates.”
Senior Catie Wilson is excited about helping plan this year’s event.
"It is incredibly rewarding to attend a school that is able to put on such an exciting celebration for the graduated seniors by creating a safe and super memorable environment," Wilson said. "The students, including me, enjoy being able to participate in an event that keeps our classmates safe during our final hours together as a group!”
How You Can Help!
While graduation marks the end of students’ high school career, it also marks the beginning of their journey beyond BA. It is cause for great celebration, and since 1990, Broken Arrow Public Schools has partnered with organizations and businesses throughout the community to honor the Class of 2017 with one last celebration together – Project Graduation.
Become a project Graduation sponsor and receive visibility at the graduation ceremony on Monday, May 15, 2017, and at Project Graduation later that evening. You can also become involved as a volunteer or donate items for the event such as food, drinks or prizes.
SIGN UP TO VOLUNTEER AND/OR DONATE ITEMS/PRIZES
Once you have submitted the online form, a member of the BAHS Project Graduation Steering Committee will contact you to schedule your volunteer shift.
For more information, please contact BAHS Director of Student Life and Activities Jason Jedamski at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the Student Activities Office at to 918-259-4310.