Teaching

Norman Public Schools learning coach Jessica Eschbach is the 2021 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year.

Oklahoma State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister announced the award Thursday in a virtual ceremony. 

In a video, Eschbach recognized her fellow teachers for their hard work over the past year and reminded them there’s much more ahead.

Oklahoma educators responding to a survey said they’re worried about their students' academic progress and well-being, worried about their health, and worried the worst of the pandemic is yet to come.

Most of the more than 3,100 responses to the Oklahoma Education Association’s pandemic survey came from classroom teachers on the job more than five years. Just 4% believed the worst of the pandemic is behind them.

KWGS News File Photo

Despite Gov. Kevin Stitt telling schools he wants all students back in their classrooms after winter break, teachers are in the third of four phases in Oklahoma’s COVID-19 vaccination plan.

Many education officials expected they would be a higher priority, considering the push to have all kids back in school as soon as possible. State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister told district officials in a coronavirus update last week that nearly 70% of the state’s then-almost 30,000 active cases were among kids 5 to 17 years old.

(Note: This discussion originally aired back in August.) How do we learn? And how do we learn best? What are the most effective ways of educating today? Our guest is Dr. Sanjay Sarma, who's the leader of the Open Learning program at MIT. He joins us to discuss his book, "Grasp." This pioneering work looks at the science of learning -- i.e., how the acquisition of knowledge works both in the mind and in the classroom.

Our guest is longtime Tulsa resident Jane Mudgett, a well-respected local leader and businesswoman who's also a certified coach, a trainer, and a partner at the Exceptional Leaders Lab. She joins us to talk about her book, which first appeared earlier this year.

(Note: This interview first aired back in May.) What do we mean by the phrase "patient-centered care"? And why is this expression being used more frequently in medical circles? Our guest is Dr. Saul J. Weiner, a professor of medicine, pediatrics, and medical education at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He tells us about his book, "On Becoming a Healer," which is essentially a med school-based memoir/study as well as a critique/guidebook focused on how to become a more competent, more compassionate physician.

Monday the 31st will bring the first day of classes for Tulsa Public Schools, and given the current pandemic, this is certainly going to be a very different school year. All TPS students, for starters, will be participating in either of two distinct programs: Distance Learning or Virtual Academy. How do these differ? And what should TPS parents be expecting -- and/or planning for -- as the new school year begins?

How do we learn? And how do we learn best? What are the most effective ways of educating today? Our guest on ST is Dr. Sanjay Sarma, who's the leader of the Open Learning program at MIT. He joins us to discuss his new book, "Grasp." This pioneering work looks at the science of learning -- i.e., how the acquisition of knowledge works both in the mind and in the classroom. The book also explores which teaching techniques are most effective -- and why -- and how schools should (and should not) use instructional technology, including online teaching apps and programs.

Our guest is Robert Boyers, a professor of English at Skidmore College and the director of the New York State Summer Writers Institute. He joins us to talk about his new book, "The Tyranny of Virtue: Identity, the Academy, and the Hunt for Political Heresies." As was noted of this work by Kirkus: "A rousing call for speech on college campuses that is truly free, addressing uncomfortable issues while allowing room for dissent....

Later this week, on the morning of October 24th, the Opportunity Project -- a Tulsa nonprofit that (per its website) acts as a "citywide intermediary for expanded learning [and for] connecting youth to the world of opportunity" -- will celebrate the 20th anniversary of National Lights On Afterschool Day. This celebration begins at 8:30am at the Central Center in Centennial Park, near 6th and Peoria, and it will include a presentation regarding "What Tulsa's Youth Need to Thrive" by Karen J. Pittman, co-founder and CEO of The Forum for Youth Investment.

Our guest is Titus I. Jackson, the writer/director of a new documentary about the economic decline of the Sooner State and how this decline has affected public education. The film is called "Brokelahoma," and it         includes the voices and perspectives of many teachers from across our state. Note that there will be a special screening-plus-Q&A of this film on Monday the 23rd at the Circle Cinema here in Tulsa; more details are posted here.

Our guest is William Doyle, a bestselling author and TV producer for networks including HBO, The History Channel, and PBS. Doyle is the co-author of an important new education-focused study, which he tells us about. The book is called "Let the Children Play: How More Play Will Save Our Schools and Help Children Thrive." As was noted of this work by Michael Rich, an associate professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School: "Sahlberg and Doyle whack us in the head with the reality that 21st-century skills require old-fashioned learning as children.

On this edition of our show, we learn about the nonprofit known as Connected Kids, which, per its webiste, "believes that every child needs and deserves connection. It is essential to overcoming trauma and becoming courageous, purposeful, self-directed, and independent. And it is possible! With the right tools and support, we can build healing connections with children who have been through even the darkest of circumstances." This organization was founded by Rr. Barbara Sorrels, who is our guest today.

On this edition of ST, we learn about the nonprofit Harmony Project, a long-running (and highly successful) music-based mentoring program that provides academic tutoring, instruments, and music lessons to at-risk students (in grades K through 12) nationwide. The program was begun in 2001 in Los Angeles -- as a "public-health intervention" -- by Dr. Margaret Martin, who is our guest today. There are by now several different Harmony Project Affiliates -- in New Orleans, Kansas City, East St.

Our guest is Nancy Pittman, the first-ever president of Tulsa's Phillips Theological Seminary. Pittman was officially named to this post quite recently, and she joins us to talk about her own background as well as her aims and plans for this longtime religious and educational institution. As Pittman notes on the PTS website: "We are nationwide network of students, faculty, churches, alumni/ae, trustees, and friends dedicated to learning and living the way of Jesus.

The Early Childhood Education Institute (or ECEI) at OU-Tulsa last month received a $2.7 million grant from NIH's National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to extend its work with researchers from Georgetown University.

Recently, a University of Central Oklahoma professor drew much attention when he pointed out that our state could save $27 million in education spending if we consolidated our school districts. In a report called "Right-Sizing Oklahoma Districts: Examining District Size, Enrollment, and Superintendent Compensation in Oklahoma School Districts," Dr. James Machell points that the Sooner State has approximately 600 school districts -- yet in states with student populations similar to our own -- Louisiana, Alabama, and Kentucky, for example -- the average is about 200 districts.

Our guest is Sarah Mondale, director of the newly released and engrossing documentary, "Backpack Full of Cash." As is noted of this film at its website: "Narrated by Matt Damon, this feature-length documentary explores the growing privatization of public schools and the resulting impact on America's most vulnerable children.

Our guest on ST is Dr. Deborah Gist, the Superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools, who's worked in public education for nearly three decades at the school, district, and state levels (in Florida, Texas, Rhode Island, and elsewhere). Dr. Gist grew up in Tulsa -- and attended Tulsa Public Schools -- before earning degrees at the University of Oklahoma, the University of South Florida, Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, and the University of Pennsylvania. In 2015, she returned to Tulsa to begin her current post as TPS Superintendent.

Our guest is Allen Gannett, the founder and CEO of TrackMaven, a software analytics firm whose clients have included Microsoft, Marriott, Home Depot, Aetna, and Honda.

On this edition of ST, a conversation with Jaime Casap, the so-called "Education Evangelist" at Google. Casap will be the keynote speaker at the Tulsa Regional Chamber's annual State of Education gathering, happening tomorrow (Wednesday the 6th) at the Renaissance Tulsa Hotel and Convention Center on South 107th East Avenue.

Our guest today is Lee Gordon, the 2018 Laureate of the Brock Prize in Education. Gordon is the founder of Hand in Hand: The Center for Jewish-Arab Education in Israel. This Israeli non-profit organization has created a network of integrated, bi-lingual public schools serving Arab and Jewish children alike. Starting with just 50 students in 1998, as we learn on today's StudioTulsa, Hand in Hand by now has six campuses. It also has, more to the point, some 1,600 or so students who belive in Jewish-Arab partnership and coexistence.

How will this state's very serious budget problems get solved? And when? What, in the end, is it going to take? On this edition of StudioTulsa, we learn about Step Up Oklahoma, which is, per its website, a "nonpartisan group of business, civic, and community leaders [who have come] together to work with lawmakers to...stabilize state revenue, reform government to increase efficiency and cut abuse, and raise teacher pay by $5,000 a year." Our guest is OKC businessman and attorney, Glenn Coffee, who is a vocal member of the Step Up Oklahoma outfit.

Our guest on this edition of ST is Sophia Pappas, who formerly led the pioneering initiative to bring "universal pre-K" to the New York City Public Schools. Pappas now resides in Tulsa, as she was recently hired by the Tulsa-based George Kaiser Family Foundation, the nonprofit social-justice and civic-enhancement organization funded by local billionaire and philanthropist George Kaiser. Pappas will now be in charge of introducing and implementing the GKFF's Birth through Eight Strategy, which was ten years in the making (and planning).

Since 2012, the national non-profit organization Girls Who Code has taught computing and computer-programming skills to thousands of girls all across America. Our guest is the CEO and founder of that organization, Reshma Saujani, who has a new book out.

On this edition of ST, we're talking about the nonprofit collective known as ImpactTulsa, which began in 2014, and which (per its website) aims to "improve education for every child. Our partnership includes [several dozens of] leaders from education, business, philanthropic, nonprofit, civic, and faith communities who all believe education is the key to the prosperity of our community." Our guest is Kathy Seibold, the executive director of ImpactTulsa, who tells us about her organzation's recently released Community Impact Report for 2016.

(Note: This interview first aired in early June.) "Eighty percent of success is showing up." Or so goes the old saying. But what do we really mean by this? And how does "showing up" in life -- or, if you prefer, routinely exhibiting "perseverance" -- relate to things like intellect, talent, drive, discipline, and so on? On this installment of ST, our guest is Dr. Angela Duckworth, a 2013 MacArthur Fellow and professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania who has advised the White House, the World Bank, and both NBA and NFL teams.

"Eighty percent of success is showing up." Or so goes the old saying. But what do we really mean by this? And how does "showing up" in life -- or, if you prefer, exhibiting "perseverance" -- relate to things like intellect, talent, tenacity, drive, discipline, and so on? On this installment of ST, our guest is Dr. Angela Duckworth, a 2013 MacArthur Fellow and professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania who has advised the White House, the World Bank, and both NBA and NFL teams.

We speak with Susan Cain, who ignited a national conversation a few years ago with her widely celebrated nonfiction book, "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking." This book challenged how we see introverts -- and how introverts see themselves -- and was mainly focused on the workplace. But now, as we learn on today's ST, Cain is back with a new book, which is aimed at kids and their experiences in the classroom.

On this edition of ST on Health, an interesting discussion with Dr. Dana Suskind, a Professor of Surgery at the University of Chicago who's also the Director of that school's Pediatric Cochlear Implant Program. She's probably best known as the founder and director of the Thirty Million Words Initiative.

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