SULPHUR, Okla. – An exciting program called Teach Oklahoma is encouraging bright junior and senior students to consider teaching in Oklahoma as a viable career choice.
Teach Oklahoma is sponsored by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.
The curriculum explores various areas of teaching, observation and professional development. Students engage in clinical teaching exercises in educational settings.
“The Teach Oklahoma curriculum is a model curriculum for exposing students to careers in teacher education,” said Dr. Goldie Thompson, director of Oklahoma Teacher Connection for Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. “The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education’s Oklahoma Teacher Connection has supported this program, as well as other teacher recruitment efforts, for close to thirty years. We are extremely proud of the professionals that have participated in our programs and remained in Oklahoma to teach.”
Paula Kedy, executive director of academics and instruction at Ada City Schools, reached out to Traci Prince, OSD’s director of student assessment, who set up a campus visit for Ada’s Teach Oklahoma participants.
"The goal was twofold,” Kedy said. “First, the Ada City School District wanted to provide Teach Oklahoma students an opportunity to observe and learn about OSD educational programs. Secondly, the goal was for the students at both schools to understand that they could work together to teach others, particularly younger students, about disabilities and the importance of learning to communicate."
Eleven Ada high school students arrived on January 24 with Kedy, Ada teacher Christie Jennings and Melissa Michie, state coordinator of Teach Oklahoma for the State Regents’ Oklahoma Teacher Connection program.
"The Ada High School students and the Student Ambassadors from OSD bonded immediately,” Kedy said.
OSD’s Student Ambassadors provided a tour and talked about their school, its history, their experiences and their future plans. The group stayed for lunch to give students more time together.
“Seeing the Ada Teach Oklahoma students observe and learn from the engaging field trip at Oklahoma School for the Deaf was an incredible and life-changing experience,” Michie said. “I was able to see the transformation of the Teach Oklahoma students as they interacted with these students and learned how they were positively impacted through the decision to attend the Oklahoma School for the Deaf.”
Kedy invited OSD’s Student Ambassadors to visit Ada City Schools on May 3 to speak to the Teach Oklahoma students again and teach American Sign Language to a 5th grade class at Willard Grade Center.
Sign Language Interpreter Roy Woodall and Social Services Specialist Caitlin Spencer-West, who are the Student Ambassador sponsors, drove four OSD ambassadors to Ada to participate with 14 Teach Oklahoma students.
After American Sign Language class, everyone ate lunch together.
"The Ada High School students and the Student Ambassadors laughed and shared ideas,” Kedy said. “They enjoyed visiting Willard Grade Center to share sign language with our fifth and sixth grade students."
"Teach Oklahoma has provided a real opportunity for our students to understand the importance of teaching and has allowed them to think seriously about entering the field of education,” Kedy added. “The Ada City School District appreciates having the opportunity to collaborate with the Oklahoma School for the Deaf in providing even more learning opportunities for our students, and we plan to continue this important partnership in coming years."
Prince and Superintendent Larry Hawkins from OSD are also looking forward to continuing the program.
“We are proud that OSD Student Ambassadors could be part of Ada City Schools’ outstanding Teach Oklahoma program,” Prince said. “We hope some of our students will consider teaching careers and that all of them will continue to be strong advocates for education.”
Ada High School has participated in Teach Oklahoma for two years. The students spend the first semester of the school year learning about the field of education and about managing a classroom. During the second semester, Teach Oklahoma students actually have the opportunity to work and teach in classrooms throughout the school district.
OSD students who want to become Student Ambassadors must apply and interview at the beginning of each year. Those who are selected are trained by Spencer-West and Woodall to speak to groups, share information, answer questions and serve as positive liaisons for the school.
For more information about Teach Oklahoma, visit http://www.okhighered.org/otc/teach-oklahoma.shtml or phone405-225-9197.
Contact Ada City Schools at http://adacougars.net/ or 580-310-7354.
Oklahoma School for the Deaf may be reached at http://www.osd.k12.ok.us/ or 580-622-4900