Bartlesville students return to classes, highly trained teachers

BARTLESVILLE, Okla. - Buses stopped and off-loaded their young passengers, crossing guards directed traffic, principals and teachers greeted parents and parents took "First day of school" photographs of their children before walking them to the doors.

Such was the scene outside Wayside Elementary School in Bartlesville on Wednesday, the first day of school for the Bartlesville Public Schools District.

According to Bartlesville Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Gary Quinn, students returning to school this year will find teachers more able to meet their educational needs.

"We now have 321 teachers that have gone through data teams training — a type of training that helps teachers do short assessments of their students so they know what they need to do to improve so that we can create strategies to help them be successful," he told 2NEWS.

Additionally, more than 300 teachers, school support staff and administrators have gone through "Great Expectations" training.

"So with that training, we expect the culture of the building to be even more positive in the way we treat kids and the way kids interact with one another."

Concerning facility changes, students will not find much different.

Quinn told 2NEWS the district has used funds set aside from the last bond issue to update the older section of the high school, replacing floor tiles and doors and painting, to help the section match the newer additions on the north and south sides of the complex. Additionally, students will find new parking available on the south side of the campus.

While facilities saw little change during the summer, much change is planned for Richard Kane Elementary School where the district hopes to add an early childhood wing — an addition that will only come to fruition if approved by voters in a bond issue election Aug. 28.

The $12.675 million issue, in the form of two proposals, focuses on suppling the district with $1.05 million to pay for transportation costs, including a number of new buses, and $11.625 million to fund operations, improvements to Custer Stadium and the construction of the early childhood center expansion for Richard Kane Elementary.

"At Kane our youngest children, our pre-K and some of our Kindergarteners, are in portables, very old portables — 12 years old are the new ones, 18 years old is the older one," said Quinn.

The eight classroom addition would be much like those built at Ranch Heights, Wood Wilson and Wayside schools on Bartlesville's east side with funding from a $29.95 million school bond issue which voters passed in 2007.

Speaking of Richard Kane Elementary, Quinn said the facility is a nice facility, except for the portables.

The upcoming bond election for $12.675 million, he said, will not raise taxes.

"We really would like to see people get out and vote during the bond election."

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