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US Assistant Education Secretary Wraps up Oklahoma Trip in Tulsa

Matt Trotter

An official from the U.S. Department of Education finished a tour of Oklahoma schools Thursday with a few stops in Tulsa.

Booker T. Washington High School was the first Tulsa school to welcome U.S. Assistant Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education Frank Brogan.

Brogan said the Department of Education is looking for schools making changes that lead to increased academic achievement, something Booker T. has a knack for with offerings from high-level courses to career-technical options.

"Tremendous number of hands-on opportunities, and, of course, that is one of the big changes in education today — more applied coursework as opposed to just our teachers lecturing during the day," Brogan said.

Brogan took a 90-minute tour of Booker T. Washington, getting a musical number from the select choir before stopping in science, history and foreign language classes. The visit wrapped up with a discussion with Brogan that included students and teachers.

"I think it’s a great opportunity for our faculty and staff and, primarily, our students to have the opportunity to speak with someone about education and their thoughts on education who’s at a higher level," said Booker T. Washington Principal Melissa Woolridge.

Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Deborah Gist spoke with Brogan about how diversity is an asset for schools and how all kids have the capacity for achievement if given the chance.

"And I hope he takes away the need for additional support to ensure equity for our children so that those who need that extra help, that we have the resources to be able to offer it to them," Gist said.

Brogan also made stops Thursday at Bishop Kelley and Union’s Darnaby Elementary.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.