The Edmond Sun

January 4, 2013

School growth tops 2012 education news

Patty Miller
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — Development kicked into high gear in Edmond in 2012, as school enrollment throughout the area grew to record numbers and districts made plans for new schools and additions to current facilities. In order to keep up with the ever-growing student population, the Edmond school district is planning its largest bond issue ever — $80 million. It will go to a vote Feb. 12.

Although Edmond students have scored well overall on testing, this year the State Department of Education gave like grades to the school districts, a move that brought a lot of conversation to the table on how those scores were figured.

A record number of positions were filled in the schools and both of the local universities filled their respective president’s post.

Once again Edmond area schools, public and private, raised a record total amount during their fundraising weeks of giving.

Following is a synopsis of the top education stories for 2012:

Edmond, Deer Creek plan new schools

Edmond area schools are adding students each year and the two public school districts are either building schools or planning new schools at all levels in the coming years due to student population growth.

On Oct. 1 the Edmond Public School District had a student population of 22,501, which is an addition of 505 students above the 2011 October student count.

With heavy growth in the northwest part of Edmond, the Edmond School District has one elementary school under construction, one elementary and one middle school in the planning stages and school officials are looking ahead to breaking ground for an additional high school in the next five to six years, said Bret Towne, associate superintendent of district operations.

As of Oct. 1, the Deer Creek Public School District counted 1,990 elementary students through the fourth grade, 746 students in the Intermediate School (fifth and sixth grades), 720 in the DC Middle School (seventh and eighth grades), and 1,162 in DC High School for a total of 5,618 students.

In Deer Creek the addition of Spring Creek Elementary next fall follows the opening of the new Intermediate School for fifth- through sixth-graders this year.

Spring Creek Elementary (elementary No. 5) will open in the fall of 2013 and currently board members are looking for land to purchase for elementary No. 6 and possibly No. 7.

“With the additions of the new Freshmen Academy (opening in the fall of 2013) and the new high school classroom addition (also opening in 2013) we will have space for years to come,” said then-Superintendent Sean McDaniel in the fall. “DCIS has 740 students currently in the fifth and sixth grades combined, and the building will hold around 1,000 so we are good there as well.”

Deer Creek breaks ground on new elementary

Deer Creek School District broke ground on a fifth elementary in June.

“The new $12.5 million school will be built on land off North Rockwell and 150th Street,” said Lance Crawley, Deer Creek’s chief financial officer.

“The land was donated to the school district by Kay-Bee Developers with the idea that in a seven-year period of time from the donation of land we would begin the building process,” McDaniel said. “We are very grateful to Kay-Bee Developers.”

Renaissance Architects and Engineers drew the plans for the new school.

Flintco Constructive Solutions officials will be in charge of building the school.

The new elementary is one of 39 projects passed by voters on the 2010 bond issue totaling about $130 million that are to be completed over a five-year span.

Similar to other schools that have been built previously, the new elementary school will house 450-500 students with room to expand.

Edmond Board votes to seek $80M bond

Edmond Public Schools Board of Education members voted in December to submit an $80 million bond issue to the vote of the people on Feb. 12.

The February bond issue will include funds for elementary school No. 17 and middle school No. 6 as well as an addition to elementary school No. 16, Frontier Elementary, two years after the school opens.

A-F grading system under scrutiny

In October Oklahoma State School Board members unanimously approved the first-time A-F School Report Cards for close to 1,750 schools throughout the state.

After spending two weeks reviewing what 313 superintendents saw as flawed methodology used in the calculation of school report cards, the board had little discussion about the actual grading formula before voting unanimously to keep the original grading system.

The report cards gave 1 percent of schools F, 8 percent D, 34 percent C, 48 percent B and 9 percent A.

In Edmond Public Schools, three elementary schools, two middle schools and all three high schools earned A’s. The rest with the exception of one elementary school earned a grade of B. Ida Freeman Elementary received the district’s only grade of C.

Edmond’s David Goin spoke to the state board as part of a panel of five school superintendents addressing what school heads across the state see as the flaws in the A-F Grading System.

Edmond, Deer Creek districts recognized for top scores

The Oklahoma State Board of Education and state legislators recognized 127 Reward Schools from throughout Oklahoma in a special board meeting and in a ceremony at the state Capitol.

Oklahoma’s 127 High-Performing Reward Schools include 21 schools in Deer Creek and Edmond school districts.

Reward Schools are those in the top 10 percent of performance in all assessments from three years’ worth of data ending in 2010-11, or those in the top 10 percent of schools that have made high progress in reading and math.

The designation was granted as a result of Oklahoma’s flexibility request from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act under No Child Left Behind from the U.S. Department of Education.

Supt. Sean McDaniel leaves Deer Creek

Deer Creek Superintendent Sean McDaniel tendered his resignation in order to accept a like position in the Mustang School District. McDaniel came to the district, with now more than 5,600 students, in the fall of 2010. Under his guidance more than $100 million in construction was completed or is in varying stages of completion.

OC welcomes 7th president

Oklahoma Christian University’s President John deSteiguer began his tenure May 1. He was inaugurated on the OC campus in late August. He leads the school which this year has reported its largest enrollment to date. OC’s fall enrollment of 2,271 students is the highest in the school’s 63-year history.

UCO welcomes 20th president

Don Betz was formally inaugurated in April as the University of Central Oklahoma’s 20th president. A familiar face to the Edmond and Central community, Betz served as vice president of Academic Affairs, as well as a professor of political science, from 1999-2005 at UCO.

“We are here to help students learn. We are learner centered and learning focused,” Betz said at the ceremony at Hamilton Field House. “We are here to create the conditions that create the future.”

The university’s population of 17,239 students marks the third consecutive year of record-setting enrollment in the fall.

Free Mobile App for Edmond, Deer Creek schools

Deer Creek has launched a free mobile app for the district with School Connect, an Oklahoma-based, mobile application developer for K12 school systems and institutions. The district joined Edmond Public Schools and St. Mary’s Episcopal School, which already had School Connect in place.

North has Odyssey of the Mind success

A team of six students from North High School took on teams from across the world to place fifth at the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals at the University of Iowa. Three Edmond schools were invited to the competition.

High schools raise record numbers for charities

Edmond students in both public and private schools showed their community spirit in February and March by raising $1.18 million total for charity.

Memorial High School’s Swine Week brought in a whopping $475,000 for Oklahoma Project Woman. Edmond Santa Fe students rolled out $283,421 in dough from Double Wolf Dare Week for the Peggy and Charles Stephenson Cancer Center while Edmond North High School’s BALTO events rang up $282,145 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Deer Creek High School students earned $80,285 for Wings: A Special Needs Community and Oklahoma Christian School raised $57,443 for Somotillo Baptist School in Nicaragua.