By Suzanne Cannon
Tuesday evening more than a hundred-people gathered at Yukon High School to participate in a Town Hall meeting conducted by State Superintendent of Education, Joy Hofmiester. This is part of the Oklahoma State Department of Education’s efforts to develop a comprehensive state plan to raise academic performance for all students and reduce barriers that hold many students back. The OSDE is conducting these meetings as part of Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) which provides greater flexibility about federal policy to states and districts.
Superintendent Hofmiester is conducting six town hall meetings throughout the state gathering feedback from stakeholders as the State Department of Education is working to create a comprehensive state plan to bolster academic performance of all students and reduce barriers that hold many kids back.
Members of her staff were present to record comments of those participating in the meeting. Stakeholders were present from Bethany, El Reno, Yukon, Midwest City, Deer Creek. There were parents, grandparents, students, administrators, school board members and teachers present to listen and provide their perspective of the direction of education in Oklahoma.
The participation was lively and many well informed and carefully thought out opinions were shared. Yukon Public Schools Superintendent W. Jason Simeroth, PhD said, “One of the things that Yukon Public Schools has endeavored to make a priority is collaboration and community involvement. Fortunately, we have a State Superintendent who feels the same. We were pleased to welcome attendees from Yukon and the surrounding districts who were interested in hearing and sharing information about the future of education in Oklahoma.”
Superintendent Hofmiester commiserated with those who shared concerns about large classroom sizes, teachers leaving the state and testing. Others were concerned about the loss of Social Studies and the Fine Arts because we have become so limited in the scope of what can be offered to students due to the State’s ongoing financial crisis and continued cuts to education. She is constantly working with the legislative branch of government, advocating for our children and their schools. In closing, Ms. Hofmiester delivered a message of support and hope for our state’s children and their public schools. Working together, our kids will continue to grow and their needs will be met effectively in public school. As they flourish, so will our state.