Parent/Community Message 4/12/18
WE ARE MUSTANGS
The leadership of the Oologah Classroom Teachers Association (OCTA) has announced it will conclude its teacher walkout so that classes can resume on Monday, April 16. This announcement comes because of the pressing need to serve our students and community, knowing that countless individuals and groups have supported Oologah/Talala Public Schools, for which we are grateful.
The district will continue to send a group of teachers to advocate at the State Capitol on plans to further increase operational funding for our school district. Be assured we will serve our students and community while advocating for increased educational funding.
OCTA President Brenna Magette stated, “Over the past three weeks, the legislators felt our frustration and passion for education as our teachers walked out of their classrooms and converged on the Capitol. The passing of three bills to increase funding of education is a great step to repair and replace the damages associated with the budget cuts. However, the new revenue falls short when compared to the ramifications of 10 years of neglect. OTPS staff members realize how much we were asking from our parents, students, and community members. We are grateful to every person for their belief, support and their faith in us as advocates for our children's education. We are not done. We have not left the Capitol. We have returned to the classrooms where we are needed by our students, but our voices and our presence is still at the Capitol. We will be sending delegates daily to communicate our demands for change. We will not stop until our students get what they need in order to be academically successful now and in their future. Our children are worth it.”
OCTA Vice President Jon Matthews stated, “Through the walkout, Oklahoma teachers, parents, students, and staff have made a big impact on the future of Oklahoma schools. Though we will return to our students, I have hope that this will forever change the political landscape of Oklahoma. I feel that education funding will from now on be at the forefront of voters’ minds.”
OCTA Treasurer Sherry Hutchinson said, “I am so grateful for the opportunity this situation has provided for me to meet and get to know staff from the other buildings. I know that our fight for funding is not over but realize that this will be an ongoing fight. We have all learned so much about advocating for education that I am confident we can continue this battle in the future.”
Max Tanner, Oologah/Talala’s Superintendent of Schools, said, “We are ready to be back in school. I appreciate the leadership of the OCTA and all our teachers for the incredible progress they have made possible on behalf of our students. We have had great support from parents and the Oologah/Talala community for our teachers and our schools, and we look forward to continuing the momentum on behalf of our students.
When we return Monday, we will be in the State Testing window. The testing window opened early April but has been extended by the State Superintendent by a week. We will give students and teachers a few days to prepare and acclimate to being back in school and then we will begin testing. The ACT test given to all juniors at Oologah High School has been rescheduled for Tuesday, April 24. The ten-day suspension from the walkout means that students’ are scheduled to have their final day of class on Friday, May 25. To make up missed time and make sure the last day of school is before Memorial Day, we will be adding 37 minutes to each school day. Classes will start at 8:00am and end at 3:32pm. Commencement for graduating seniors will remain on Saturday, May 19.
Oologah/Talala School District is deeply appreciative of the broad community support displayed throughout the teacher walkout.