Teachers are back in Rogers County classrooms this week.
Late last week, Claremore Public School Superintendent Bryan Frazier released this statement:
“First I want to thank the parents, business leaders, churches and our entire community for the overwhelming support you demonstrated for the Claremore teachers and all of public education over the past two weeks....Details are currently being worked out regarding makeup days. Tomorrow there will be another school message and information posted on our website as to how the days missed will be made up for our students. Our hope is that by modifying the remaining school days and extending our instruction time during these days the last day of school for all students will be Friday May, 25.”
With students back in class Monday, the school rolled out their extended school day plan.
Frazier said all school sites will begin the week with modified start and released times, which will continue through the end of the school year in order to make up for lost time.
In Claremore, both the high school and junior high will start classes at 8:15 a.m. and will dismiss at 4 p.m. Elementary schools will begin their day at 7:45 a.m. and will dismiss at 3:15 p.m.
“These modification of the instructional day will allow us to have extended instruction time with students before state testing and will also ensure that the last day of school will be May 25,” Frazier said.
Students in the Oologah-Talala school system returned to classes this week as well.
“The leadership of the Oologah Classroom Teachers Association (OCTA) has announced it will conclude its teacher walkout so that classes can resume on Monday, April 16. This announcement comes because of the pressing need to serve our students and community, knowing that countless individuals and groups have supported Oologah/Talala Public Schools, for which we are grateful,” they announced. “The district will continue to send a group of teachers to advocate at the State Capitol on plans to further increase operational funding for our school district. Be assured we will serve our students and community while advocating for increased educational funding.”
In a statement shared on the school website, OCTA President Brenna Magette said, “Over the past three weeks, the legislators felt our frustration and passion for education as our teachers walked out of their classrooms and converged on the Capitol. The passing of three bills to increase funding of education is a great step to repair and replace the damages associated with the budget cuts. However, the new revenue falls short when compared to the ramifications of 10 years of neglect. OTPS staff members realize how much we were asking from our parents, students, and community members. We are grateful to every person for their belief, support and their faith in us as advocates for our children's education. We are not done. We have not left the Capitol. We have returned to the classrooms where we are needed by our students, but our voices and our presence is still at the Capitol. We will be sending delegates daily to communicate our demands for change. We will not stop until our students get what they need in order to be academically successful now and in their future. Our children are worth it.”
In an additional statement, Oologah-Talala Superintendent Max Tanner addressed the impending state testing and changes in the district’s schedule.
“When we return Monday, we will be in the State Testing window. The testing window opened early April but has been extended by the State Superintendent by a week. We will give students and teachers a few days to prepare and acclimate to being back in school and then we will begin testing. The ACT test given to all juniors at Oologah High School has been rescheduled for Tuesday, April 24. The ten-day suspension from the walkout means that students’ are scheduled to have their final day of class on Friday, May 25,” he said. “ To make up missed time and make sure the last day of school is before Memorial Day, we will be adding 37 minutes to each school day. Classes will start at 8 a.m. and end at 3:32 p.m.. Commencement for graduating seniors will remain on Saturday, May 19.”