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  • Cathy O’Connor

Students find new Pathways

The first day of school on Monday brought some exciting changes to Oklahoma City Public Schools. Many students were navigating the halls of a different school than they attended last year. Over the summer, the Oklahoma City Public School District’s Pathways to Greatness project closed 15 buildings and reconfigured 17 to more efficiently utilize the district’s buildings and resources and to improve equity in educational opportunities across the district. Now, Oklahoma City Public Schools operates a manageable 66 schools.

This decision came after considering a tremendous amount of data and engaging with parents, teachers, students and the community in thoughtful and inclusive conversations. I believe the Pathways to Greatness outcomes will be beneficial to students and families and to the community. The plan consolidated the state’s largest school district, one where resources were never able to keep pace with maintenance and operations of so many schools housing small student populations. Before Pathways to Greatness, elementary schools ranged in size from 170 to 901 students. Now, they range from 406 to 803.

Larger, more consistent student populations balance resources and teachers across the district and allow for more course offerings, electives and after-school programs and smaller class sizes. The district will now be able to provide at least three teachers at each grade level in each school. Research shows that grade-level teams of three or more members allow for greater collaboration, increased instructional consistency across classrooms and improved teaching practices. Under the consolidation, more resources will be available for art, music and PE classes. Added staff roles will support principals and teachers in delivering a more thorough educational experience. Counselors and other social supports will assist students facing challenges both in school and at home.

Read the full article at The Journal Record

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