Broken Arrow High School students recently launched a sustainable floating wetland at Tiger Creek Nature Park as part of a continuing partnership with the City of Broken Arrow.
Last fall, the City of Broken Arrow and Broken Arrow Public Schools announced an innovative partnership to turn a detention pond across from the high school into an outdoor science classroom, which will ultimately improve water quality for that watershed.
Since then, students working with City staff have created an iconic floating wetland designed in the shape of the Broken Arrow Schools “BA” logo.
“Having an outdoor amenity accessible to our students provides opportunities for hands-on engagement in critical STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) areas, particularly dealing with ecological systems, environmental sustainability and water quality,” said Donna Gradel, 2018 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year and environmental sciences teacher at BAHS. “It also creates avenues for students to collaborate in solving real-world problems in their local community with expert mentors from the City of Broken Arrow and other professionals.”
The floating wetland measures approximately 80 feet by 30 feet and is believed to be the largest in the state of Oklahoma. Several local businesses have generously donated materials. Advanced Drainage Systems, Inc. donated PVC pipe and fittings, the Metropolitan Environmental Trust’s recycling center in Broken Arrow provided 800 2-liter bottles to help provide buoyancy and GNC Concrete provided the concrete pipe used for anchorage. Additionally, plants were provided by Grogg’s Green Barn and split from other City of Broken Arrow watersheds.
“We want to create something that is useful for the students at Broken Arrow High School and beneficial to the public in general, while at the same time fulfills our obligation as a City to control stormwater runoff and protect property within the watershed,” said Broken Arrow Assistant City Manager Kenny Schwab.
The mission of this project is to improve water quality by using wetland plants that will absorb the phosphates and nitrates from fertilizer runoff that cause algae blooms. Those plants will also add oxygen to the water and will eventually provide habitats for fish to spawn under.
“This is likely one of the largest collaborative projects between a community and a high school in the country,” said Broken Arrow Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Janet Dunlop. “We are so proud of our students for their dedication and incredibly grateful to our city leaders for their constant support.”
Not even warm and muggy Oklahoma temperatures could keep thousands of athletes, coaches and volunteers from traveling to Stillwater, Okla., for the 49th annual Special Olympics Summer Games May 16-18.
After three days of exciting Olympic-style competitions and ceremonies, 88 Broken Arrow Special Olympians in grades 3-12 took the games by storm and brought home 18 gold medals, 28 silver and 16 bronze.
“We are so very proud of all the hard work our athletes and partners put into the team this year, which is clearly evident in the amount of medals and awards that we brought back with us to Broken Arrow,” said Katie Fly, Special Olympics coach and Broken Arrow Freshman Academy teacher.
Seventeen coaches, more than 150 family members and 38 peer partners attended the games to cheer on Broken Arrow’s Special Olympians.
“Our Special Olympics athletes, peer partners and coaches engage tirelessly to keep Broken Arrow at the top of the heap in each competition,” Special Education Director of Secondary Education Eric O’Brien said. “Everyone in the BA family continues to be inspired by their comradery, their enthusiasm and their excellence.”
Not only did students compete in athletic events, but they also partook in many social activities.
“The summer games allow our students to not only make gains in athleticism but also in social skills by competing with students from all across the state,” Fly said. “Our students are well known around Oklahoma for showing fantastic sportsmanship, which was evident throughout the summer games.”
Amidst a number of achievements both inside and outside the classroom, Broken Arrow Public Schools’ Class of 2018 accepted more than $8.8 million in scholarships, a record-setting amount for Broken Arrow High School.
“The Class of 2018 is one-of-a-kind,” said Broken Arrow Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Janet Dunlop. “This talented, innovative and hardworking group of students had many noteworthy accomplishments throughout their last year of high school, and the number of scholarships garnered more than demonstrates their hard work and tenacity.”
Broken Arrow seniors received scholarships from universities located across the nation, including the U.S. Air Force Academy, Baylor University, Oberlin Conservatory, Spring Hill College and the University of Arkansas.
Many also received scholarships from universities across the state, including Oklahoma State University, the University of Oklahoma, Northeastern State University, Oklahoma City University, the University of Tulsa and many others.
“Our mantra is ‘Literacy, Engagement, Graduation,’ however, it doesn’t stop there,” Dunlop said. “We must continue to provide our students with the support they need to follow their dreams after graduation. I like to think of it as ‘Graduation Plus.’”
Whether students seek post-secondary education or aspire to begin a career, the district ensures continued success beyond high school with BeyondBA, a college and career readiness center located on the high school campus. This planning facility is equipped with trained counselors who provide students with personal and academic guidance regarding college and career preparations.
Also housed within BeyondBA’s walls is information about off-campus learning opportunities available to students, including programs at Tulsa Technology Center, concurrent enrollment, online classes and internships through the Career Exploration Program (CEP) at BAPS.
Throughout the year, BeyondBA hosted college fairs, career fairs, and informative sessions on student loans and scholarship opportunities.
“Our mission is to increase awareness of all the possibilities that exist after graduation by placing information at the students’ fingertips,” Lead College and Career Counselor Kristin Carr said. “We strive to hone the talents, goals and interests of our students as they move forward in their academic and professional careers.”
In addition, BeyondBA utilizes a readiness platform called Naviance, which connects academic achievements to post-secondary goals, allowing students to explore college and career options based on their individual learning styles.
This web-based resource includes support for a broad range of topics, including developing success skills, exploring career options and planning for college—academically, socially, emotionally and financially. This blended learning solution for students in grades 6-12 helps develop critical non-cognitive skills and college knowledge.
Counselors and teachers are able to measure students’ readiness grade level with a pre- and post-assessment of college knowledge. Naviance also provides students with an electronic college tool, allowing student applications, recommendations, transcripts and school profiles to be easily sent electronically to more than 3,000 colleges and universities.
"We've created an incredible learning environment at the high school, and the Class of 2018 is more than ready to step into a college classroom, the military, or straight into a career and start changing the future,” Dunlop said. “I couldn't be more proud of our students."
Broken Arrow Public Schools (BAPS) would like to remind parents/legal guardians that students entering the seventh grade for the 2018-19 school year are required to receive one Tdap booster for immunizations against tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis. This is a booster to the DTP students received before kindergarten. Students will not be allowed to pick up their schedules without proof of this immunization.
If your student has received the Tdap immunization, please provide documentation to your student's middle school health office.
To assist BAPS middle school students in obtaining this immunization, BAPS is teaming up with the Oklahoma Caring Van program. The vaccine will be administered by a registered nurse and are offered free of charge to students who are:
The Oklahoma Caring Van will be at all five middle schools and at Central on Main to provide the Tdap booster to incoming seventh graders for the 2018-19 school year on the following dates:
May 18, 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. at Central on Main
May 24, 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. at Oneta Ridge Middle School
Since the program began in 1999, thousands of children have received immunizations from registered nurses aboard the Caring Vans. Immunization information is entered in the Oklahoma State Immunization Information System (OSIIS), making vaccine history readily available.
For more information about the Caring Van, please contact your child’s school nurse.