The Edmond Sun


June 17, 2013

Vision 2020 conference loaded with speakers

OKLA. CITY — I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer — playing in the water, grilling, enjoying time with family; maybe preparing for vacation. But for Oklahoma educators, I hope your plans include a trip to Oklahoma City, July 9-11 to attend the State Department of Education’s Vision 2020 professional development conference.

The conference is free to all Oklahoma educators.

Parents also should plan to come to the first night of the conference, Tuesday, July 9, for our Parent Power Night. My Office of Parent and Community Engagement staff have been working hard to include sessions on graduation requirements, third-grade reading support, career technology, funding for college, internet safety, suicide prevention and other topics of vital importance to parents of Oklahoma students. I will be there for the meet and greet from 5:15-6 p.m. Sessions will be from 6-7:45 p.m.

For educators, we have an amazing lineup of speakers for the morning general sessions and for individual breakout tracks.

Tuesday’s keynote speaker, Dr. Ryan Quinn, will teach us how to use the principles of positive leadership to create higher sustainable levels of performance in our schools that will ripple across our state. Quinn is co-author with his father, Robert E. Quinn, of “Lift: Becoming a Positive Force in Any Situation.”

Those who attend the conference on Wednesday are in for an entertaining blend of southern charm and academic acumen as educator Ron Clark shares stories of his early days of teaching and of starting his own school. Clark has a fantastic way of weaving humor into his experiences. He will help all educators remember the joy and fun of their chosen vocation. Clark’s book titles include “The End of Molasses Classes: Getting Our Kids Unstuck — 101 Extraordinary Solutions for Parents and Teachers.”

Dr. Tony Wagner, speaking on Thursday, will challenge us to transform our thinking as we work to teach skills pertinent to students in this century. His goal is for us not to just help students secure a good job in the future but to help them become active and informed citizens. His latest book is “Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change The World.”

Each keynote speaker has a book-signing session following his address. In addition to our keynotes, each academic discipline has a list of state and national presenters to lead professional development workshops in each subject. These include STEM, literacy, history, art, world languages, advanced coursework, ag in the classroom, child nutrition, legislative updates and more.

While Tuesday and Wednesday’s sessions are focused on educators and Thursday’s sessions on administrators, each day the content is designed so all educators can benefit. I strongly urge superintendents and all administrators to attend sessions on the implementation of the Oklahoma Academic Standards and on literacy strategies offered July 9-10.

As in years past, the conference will include a trade show with exhibitors offering everything from literacy teaching aids to digital learning software to special education resources to school financial systems, architectural firms, student transportation and more.

We also will have some exciting awards and announcements at this year’s Vision 2020 conference. On Tuesday morning, we will recognize the nominees for the Presidential Award for Math and Science. On Wednesday morning, we will reveal our Teacher of the Year finalists, and the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence will announce the Alternative Education Program Award winner.

In addition, lead State Department of Education staff from the areas of federal programs, student support, educational support, instruction, accreditation, and accountability and assessments will be stationed in “The Hub,” booths 415-419 in the exhibit hall. They will be available at various times throughout each of the three days to answer questions and pass along the latest information from the department.

There will be something for everyone at this year’s Vision 2020 conference. We hope to see you there.

JANET BARRESI is state superintendent of public instruction for Oklahoma.

Text Only
  • Sheltons travel for better life for family

    Some time around 1865 a mixed-race African American couple, William and Mary Shelton, made their way from Mississippi to east Texas. Nothing is known for certain of their origins in he Magnolia state, or the circumstances under which they began their new lives in Texas.

    July 29, 2014

  • Film critic Turan produces book

    Kenneth Turan, who is the film critic for National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition,” has written a book “Not to be Missed, Fifty-Four Favorites from a Life Time of Film.” His list of movies span the gamut from the beginnings of filmmaking through the present day.
    There are some surprising omissions on his list. While he includes two films, “A Touch of Evil” and Chimes at Midnight” made by Orson Welles, and one, “The Third Man,” that Welles starred in but did not direct. He did not however, include “Citizen Kane,” that was the first movie Welles made, that is  often cited by both film critics and historians as a favorite film.

    July 28, 2014

  • Logan County’s disputed zone

    Watchers of “Star Trek” may recall the episode from the original series entitled, “Day of the Dove.” In this episode, Captain Kirk and his crew are forced by a series of circumstances into a confrontation with the Klingons. The conflict eventually resolves after Kirk realizes that the circumstances have been intentionally designed by an alien force which feeds off negative emotions, especially fear and anger. Kirk and his crew communicate this fact to the Klingons and the conflict subsides. No longer feeding upon confrontation, the alien force is weakened and successfully driven away.

    July 28, 2014

  • Russell leads in Sun poll

    Polling results of an unscientific poll at show that Steve Russell, GOP candidate for the 5th District congressional seat, is in the lead with 57 percent of the vote ahead of the Aug. 26 runoff election. Thirty readers participated in the online poll.

    July 28, 2014

  • Healthier and Wealthier? Not in Oklahoma

    Increased copays, decreased coverage, diminished health care access, reduced provider budgets and increased frustration are all the outcomes of the Legislature’s 2014 health care funding decisions. Unlike some years in the past when a languishing state economy forced legislators into making cuts, the undesirable outcomes this year could easily have been avoided.

    July 26, 2014

  • Medicaid reform a necessity

    Historically, education spending by the state of Oklahoma has been the largest budget item. This is no longer the case. In recent years, the state of Oklahoma spends more on Medicaid (operated by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority) than common education and higher education combined, according to the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

    July 25, 2014

  • Remembering lessons from 1974

    This week marks the 40th anniversary of an important milestone in America’s constitutional history. On July 24, 1974, the Supreme Court voted 8-0 to order the Nixon White House to turn over audiotapes that would prove the president and his close aides were guilty of criminal violations. This ruling established with crystal clarity that the executive branch could not hide behind the shield of executive privilege to protect itself from the consequences of illegal behavior. It was a triumph for the continued vitality of our constitutional form of government.

    July 25, 2014

  • RedBlueAmerica: Is parenting being criminalized in America?

    Debra Harrell was arrested recently after the McDonald’s employee let her daughter spend the day playing in a nearby park while she worked her shift. The South Carolina woman says her daughter had a cell phone in case of danger, and critics say that children once were given the independence to spend a few unsupervised hours in a park.
    Is it a crime to parent “free-range” kids? Does Harrell deserve her problems? Joel Mathis and Ben Boychuk, the RedBlueAmerica columnists, debate the issue.

    July 24, 2014

  • Technology that will stimulate journalism’s future is now here

    To say technology has changed the newspaper media industry is understating the obvious. While much discussion focuses on how we read the news, technology is changing the way we report the news. The image of a reporter showing up to a scene with a pen and a pad is iconic but lost to the vestiges of time.
    I am asked frequently about the future of newspapers and, in particular, what does a successful future look like. For journalists, to be successful is to command multiple technologies and share news with readers in new and exciting ways.

    July 23, 2014

  • New Orleans features its own “Running of the Bulls”

    On July12, the streets of the Warehouse District of New Orleans were filled with thousands of young men who were seeking to avoid being hit with plastic bats wielded by women on roller skates as part of the annual “Running of the Bulls” that takes place in New Orleans.
    The event is based on the “Running of the Bulls” that occurs in Pamplona, Spain, that is  part of an annual occurrence in which a group of bulls rampage through the streets of Pamplona while men run from them to avoid being gored by their sharp horns. That event was introduced to the English-speaking world by Ernest Hemingway, who included scenes from it in his critically acclaimed 1926 novel “The Sun also Rises.”

    July 22, 2014


The runoff race for the 5th District congressional seat is set for Aug. 26. If the voting were today, which candidate would you support?

Al McAffrey
Tom Guild
     View Results