Schools earn Rewards honors

Transcript Staff

Posted:  04/10/2012 1:54 AM

Eight Norman schools have been named “Reward Schools” by the state Board of
Education and no schools were noted as low performers, school officials
announced Monday.

The “Rewards” designation created by the state is conferred on only about 7
percent of the state’s schools. Local schools honored are Alcott Middle School,
Cleveland Elementary, McKinley Elementary, Norman High School, Norman North
High School, Roosevelt Elementary, Washington Elementary and Whittier Middle

Norman Superintendent Joe Siano congratulated the eight schools. One hundred
and twenty-seven schools were selected from nearly 1,800 sites statewide.

“The eight Reward Schools in Norman have been recognized as achieving the
highest above state and federal benchmarks for student performance, and we
commend them,” Siano said. “We are also pleased that all NPS schools are
meeting and/or exceeding state and federal guidelines for student performance.
Norman Public Schools are committed to continued reform as we strive to assure
success of all of our students.

Photo by Nikki Self

Amy Galoob, special education sophomore, sits in her teaching
class that talks about maintaining the classroom. Galoob was born deaf, but she
has cochlear implants that allow her to easily interact with teachers and
peers. She receives assistance from sign language interpreters and classmates,
but has otherwise flourished in the OU community.

There are stories all around the campus —in classrooms, across the dorm hallway, throughout the Oklahoma Memorial Union during the lunch rush.

A walk down the South Oval is a stroll past a library’s worth of living narratives still being written. Most are average, many are plain boring, but there are a few stories that have a humbling and uplifting thread running through their pages.

Meet Amy Galoob, a special education sophomore, Colorado-native and member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority. A passerby’s glance would illuminate a pretty, friendly, brightly observant undergraduate, but underneath the cover is a student who lives every day with a challenge many on campus don’t experience.

“I was born profoundly deaf,” said Galoob, sitting down for lunch. She was wearing a broad smile that one cannot help but reciprocate.

A daughter of two hearing-impaired parents, Galoob was born with little to no hair cells, which are responsible for making the follicles found in the inner ear that pickup and transmit sound information to the brain. Galoob’s older sister and younger brother are hearing impaired as well.

However, with the help of cochlear implants, Galoob is able to listen and communicate in normal, everyday conversation — as well as dish out her delightful sense of humor.

“It’s really a good gift, actually,” Galoob said. “I’m able to unplug and sleep like a baby every night.”

Bright and articulate, Galoob attends and participates in all regular classes for special education majors — in fact, she was recently asked by one of her professors to stand in front of one of her lecture hall classes and speak about her experience with hearing impairment.

However, Galoob also receives a bit of assistance from interpreters who translate lessons into sign language, as well as classmates who send her notes from each class.

“I’m usually able to hear my teachers just fine, but sometimes there are some important details I might miss, like test dates,” she said. “So I definitely appreciate having interpreters and classmates who help me out in that.”

As a resident of the Alpha Chi house, Galoob’s sense of community is only solidified by the friendships she has with her sisters.

“My roommate is responsible for my complete rescue and safety in case of a fire or tornado emergency,” Galoob said. “But joining Alpha Chi was such a great move for me, and I love all my friends there.”

However, being hearing-impaired does come with its handy hidden talents. Most notably, Galoob has the ability to read lips.

“It was quite useful in middle and high school when gossip was very popular,” Galoob said. “But I’ve toned back a bit.”

The transition from high school to college was a bit rocky, Galoob said. But she said she has finally found some stability at OU.

Galoob’s experience has influenced her future goals. She plans on specializing in teaching disabled children and students.

Hidden talents and greek groups aside, Galoob also is the new president of the Association for Disabled Students on campus. Although it’s a role she’s only inherited this semester, Galoob has big plans and deep passion for the group.

Although it seems life for Galoob is enjoyable and well defined, she admits her path has not always been this straight. Growing up with her challenges with hearing, as well as the trials of speech therapy, Galoob described her childhood by progressing through a handful of schools, searching for the one that would best meet her needs.

“There were definitely times it was difficult and hard to do. Always meeting new people, not really having that group of friends you go through elementary, middle and high school with,” said Galoob. “But overall, I just love talking with people. And I really feel like I’ve finally found a solid home here at OU with a great school and great friends.”

March 29, 2012

AnonymousThe Norman TranscriptThu Mar 29, 2012, 11:12 AM CDT

NORMAN — Dr. Leslie J. Rainbolt-Forbes of Oklahoma City has been elected as chairman of the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents and Richard R. Dunning, also of Oklahoma City, has been elected as vice chairman of the board.

Rainbolt-Forbes was appointed by Gov. Brad Henry to the OU Board of Regents in 2006. She earned a bachelor of arts degree from Newcomb College at Tulane University; master of business administration degree from Thunderbird, the Garvin School of International Management; and a medical degree with special distinction from the OU College of Medicine. She served on the OU College of Medicine faculty as an assistant clinical professor of dermatology and adjunct assistant clinical professor of pediatrics until her retirement from practice.

Rainbolt-Forbes currently serves on the Harold Hamm Diabetes Center’s Board of Visitors and the board’s nominating committee. Also active in the community, she serves the Communities Foundation of Oklahoma as secretary and scholarship committee chair, as well as on the board of CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Oklahoma County, the Children’s Hospital Foundation and Oklahoma City’s Casady School Board of Directors. She and her husband, Scott, have four daughters.

Dunning was appointed by Gov. Henry to the OU Board of Regents in 2007.  He earned a bachelor’s degree in geological studies from OU in 1977.  He founded Indian Oil Co. in April 1981 and currently serves as president and CEO of Indian Exploration Co. LLC in Oklahoma City. He served as a member of the Oklahoma Judicial Nominating Committee from 2003 to 2007 and is a member of the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association and the Wildcatters Club; additionally, he previously served on the board of Friends of the Mansion and on the Governor’s Energy Board.

At OU, Dunning serves on the advisory committee of the ConocoPhillips School of Geology and Geophysics in the Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy. He and his wife, Jennifer – an OU graduate – also serve on the Peggy and Charles Stephenson Cancer Center Leadership Council. The Dunnings, who have six children, are the primary benefactors of the Keystone Adventure School and Farm, an art-based, multi-age and project-oriented elementary school and working farm that addresses the needs of each child in the unique way that he or she learns.

Chris A. Purcell of Norman was elected to serve as the board’s executive secretary and vice president for university governance. Purcell, who has been re-elected each year since 1992, also serves as secretary of OU, Cameron University and Rogers State University.  She was selected in 2005 by OU’s Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education as one of “75 Who Made A Difference” as well as being honored with the Walter Neustadt and with the UOSA Outstanding Administrator awards.  In addition to her other duties, she teaches courses in adult education, higher education and human relations.  She earned her bachelor of arts, master’s in education and doctoral degrees, all from OU.

Officials at the University of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma City School District say they expect a U.S. Department of Education grant will dramatically increase college preparedness among the city’s low-income students.

The school district and OU’s Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education were awarded a seven-year, $26 million grant designed to improve college readiness and boost high school graduation rates.

Staff from OU’s K20 Center for Educational and Community Renewal will work with about 4,500 sixth- and seventh-grade students at 10 low-income middle schools: Centennial, Douglas, Jackson, Jefferson, John Marshall, Northeast, Rogers, Roosevelt, Taft and Webster.

Scott Wilson, OU’s director for innovative technologies, said OU staff will work with school leaders, faculty members, parents and students during the project. The staffers begin working with sixth- and seventh-grade students and follow that cohort until graduation, he said.

Although the program focuses on a single cohort of students, he said, it will still have an impact on classes that follow in later years because it will leave behind teachers who are better equipped and have more resources to draw on. In that sense, he said, the grant’s impact will be sustained for years after the funding period is over.

One of the goals of the program, he said, is to help teachers tailor their instruction to allow students to take a larger role in what they do in class. That style of instruction helps students understand how the lessons they’re learning apply to the real world.


Part of the aim of the program is to make students more comfortable with the idea of going to college, Wilson said. To do that, coordinators will try to get students onto a college or university campus at least once a year.

In the early years, those college visits may not have anything to do with the institution itself, he said. For example, students may go to a college campus to learn to use handheld GPS devices to log longitude and latitude.

While such activities could easily be done nearly anywhere in the city, holding them on campus helps students get a better idea of what college looks like.

“They can see themselves there,” he said. “They can see other students walking around that, maybe, look like them.”

As the students get older and closer to graduation, the campus experience would get more heavily geared toward college preparedness, he said. Coordinators will speak with students about why college is important. Students may go to a campus and complete a miniature college schedule to help them get a better idea of how college life differs from high school, he said.

The program also includes summer experiences, including one that brings students with their parents to a campus to share a dorm room. Not only does that experience give students a better idea of what going to college would be like, it also helps ease the minds of parents who, in many cases, have no experience with college themselves, he said.

That component of the program has the potential to have a major impact in students’ thoughts about college, said Sheli McAdoo, the school district’s executive director of secondary schools and reform.

If the program can get students engaged with campus activities, rather than simply putting them on campus, it will help them get a better idea of how they might fit into a college setting. That could get students, as well as parents who didn’t go to college, more used to the idea of higher education.

“I certainly see it having a big impact on our current sixth- and seventh-graders,” she said.


This article first appeared in the March 8 issue of The Oklahoman.
By Silas Allen, Oklahoman Staff Writer

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