I come to the end of the year with such mixed emotions.
The school shooting in Connecticut is still fresh on everyone’s minds. As we watch the news and see the funerals for these precious students and their teachers and principal, we grieve anew for the enormous loss for these families.
I spent the weekend thinking about how incomprehensible it is that anyone could take the lives of 20 elementary school children, the six adults who tried to protect them and his own mother. I cannot fathom the grief engulfing the Newtown, Connecticut community right now. The stories of heroism by teachers and school personnel are inspiring. Every day teachers do courageous things for our children. I have no doubt that they and the fallen adults did not have a moment's hesitation in response to this horrifying situation.
At the recent Excellence in Action National Summit on Education Reform, Superintendent Barresi heard a very sobering report from the Council on Foreign Relations task force. This independent, nonpartisan group reports that our failure to educate students in the United States leaves them unprepared to compete with global peers and threatens our country’s ability to thrive in the global marketplace and maintain our role as a world leader -- a threat to our national security.
The State Board of Education met in Frederick last week. Holding meetings in schools reminds board members of how their decisions affect the people they are serving. It gives them a chance to hear firsthand the successes that should be celebrated and the obstacles they should help remove. These visits make their work relevant.
Tammera Mittelstet, a Gifted Resource Coordinator at Stillwater’s Highland Park Elementary and Will Rogers Elementary, was surprised Monday with a $25,000 Milken Educator Award to be spent at her discretion. On hand to present the award was State Superintendent Janet Barresi and Milken Family Foundation Board Member Dr. Thomas Boysen.
The Oklahoma State Board of Education met in Frederick, OK, on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012, at Frederick High School. Board members heard an update on the Teacher and Leader Effectiveness evaluation system.