by Gus Blackwell
Last week I wrote about the interim study I organized on school funding that was heard by the subcommittee on appropriations for education. I am not on that committee, but I am on the common education committee. We have heard several interim studies in the past few weeks in that committee. They have had several presentations that might be adapted to the panhandle.
Last week there was a presentation by the Oklahoma School of Math and Science (OSSM). They have eleven regional centers scattered throughout the state. These regional centers offer advanced math and science courses for students for a semester or a year. These college preparatory classes include subjects like Physics II and Chemistry II, each with a lab. These sites can be used by a whole area and not just one city with the added use of long distance learning. Right now the only site in the western part of the state is Enid. One of the proposed sites is at Panhandle State University. This would be a tremendous service to this area by our area university. OPSU is already serving high schools by offering college classes for credit for seniors that qualify. This would increase the class selection that juniors and seniors could choose to prepare them for advanced degrees in college. This is just another avenue that OPSU can continue to grow and serve the needs of this area.
Another study presented a way to help students with their homework. It is a program that has been occurring in Lawton for the past several years and is called Homework Hotline. It is produced by a couple of local teachers and runs from 5:00 to 6:30 from Monday through Thursday. Students may call the program with a homework problem that they are having trouble solving and the teacher will work out the problem on the program. They cover every subject and the program has been very successful in that area.
Another very interesting study was presented by a linguistic group. This business has been getting certified at the national level. They have been using a method of English immersion that has taught English to Korean students in less than a year. They have gone from speaking no English to college level proficiency in a minimum amount of time. The program can be adapted to any language and different situations. This year we will be studying ways to implement this program in the present school funding array.
The final study was presented by Advanced Academics. They work through local schools to provide classes to those who can't attend for a semester or a year. This may because of illness or other obstacles. This enables the student to continue on a track for graduation and also provides funding to the local school district.
On Monday I spoke with Senator Laughlin at the professional day for teachers in Guymon Schools. We looked at the retirement program and ways that this program can be improved and stabilized. All of these programs and ideas can help improve the great job that common education is doing in our area schools.
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