Posted Tuesday, September 30, 2014
This morning I had the pleasure of attending the Partners In Education �Ignite� breakfast, hosted by the Tulsa Regional Chamber. It is exciting, and even a bit humbling, to see so many partners from the Tulsa community united in one cause -- to help improve education for every child in the district. Today I was joined by principals from many Tulsa Public Schools at the breakfast. Accompanying me were Deputy Superintendent Dr. Kim Dyce and Chris Payne, executive director of communications. We were treated to a series of lightning-fast presentations by many of our community partners, including representatives from Growing Together, Impact!Tulsa, Communities in Schools, Talent Development-Johns Hopkins University, City Year, Reading Partners, Tulsa City-County Library, Tulsa Regional STEM Alliance, Junior Achievement, Volunteer Tulsa and OK2Grow. Our own Paula Wood did a terrific job representing TPS in her speed-round presentation. It addition, we were joined by representatives from more than 800 partner organizations -- including businesses, churches and civic groups. These partners aim to provide over 6,400 people and 176,000 volunteer hours with an estimated value of more than $3.6 million this year. I suspect it will be much higher than this. I hope you are as thankful and grateful as I am for their involvement. Folks, there is a LOT we can do ourselves, but we will be even more effective with the help of our community members. Think of all the great things we will do together this year!
LaFortune Stadium was a happening place on Friday night. The football game between Edison and Pryor was the feature game of Big Al Jerkens from Channel 2 and Barry Lewis from the Tulsa World. They pick a game in the Tulsa area every week and Al commented that it was great to be back in mid-town Tulsa for the feature game. This is a direct result of our efforts to place emphasis on extracurricular activities and overall culture of the school. And Edison was hopping! The game was between two top 10-ranked teams. The crowd was huge on both sides of the field. The bands were great with the Edison band directed by Danny Burnes and his assistant, Doug Styers. And the pom squad had recently held a clinic with little girls so they performed at halftime. There was a huge crowd of parents and grandparents (including one grandparent who works here in my office -- Cindy Hutchings) accompanying the little girls. It was what a Friday night should look like! Congratulations to Edison principal Derrick Schmidt and his staff, to the Eagles football coach D.J. Howell and his staff, to Edison cheerleader sponsor Hailee Davis and pom sponsor Sarah Ivie, to Edison teachers and staff, to the TPS Athletic Office, and fine arts departments -- I even saw Memorial band director Heath Miller helping out down there -- and all the others who have changed the face of Edison High School. Yes indeed, Edison was a happening place Friday night!