Associate Dean Terry DeBacker found this interesting article about the serious psychological harm bullying can cause.
Associate Dean DeBacker stated educators and child advocates need to assertively address bullying behavior.

FRIDAY, March 2 (HealthDay News) — Children involved in bullying are more likely than their peers to consider suicide by the time they are 11, a new study indicates.

These thoughts of self-harm are not limited to victims of bullying, however. The study also revealed that bullies themselves are much more prone to suicidal thoughts or some other form of self-harm.

For the study, investigators analyzed bullying among more than 6,000 children ranging in age from 4 to 10, and the prevalence of suicidal thoughts when the same children were 11 and 12.

The study, conducted by researchers from the University of Warwick in England and published in the March issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, found that children who were bullied over a long period of time were six times more likely to have suicidal thoughts than children who weren’t bullied.

Bullies also were at increased risk for self-harm and suicidal thoughts — even those who were never victimized themselves, the researchers found. The findings were not as consistent among this group, however, the study authors noted in a university news release.

Even after taking into account other factors, such as family circumstances or preexisting emotional problems, the researchers were unable to find other reasons for the increased instance of suicidal thoughts among children involved in bullying. Although the study found an association between bullying and suicidal thoughts or self-harming behavior, however, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

“Our study findings suggest that suicide-related behavior is a serious problem for pre-adolescent youth: 4.8 percent of this community population reported suicidal thoughts and 4.6 percent reported suicidal or self-injurious behavior,” study co-author Dieter Wolke, a professor of psychology at Warwick Medical School at the University of Warwick, said in the news release.

“Health practitioners should be aware of the relationship between bullying and suicide, and should recognize the very real risks that may be evident earlier in development than commonly thought,” Wolke said.

More information

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has more about bullying.

— Mary Elizabeth Dallas

SOURCE: University of Warwick, news release, Feb. 29, 2012

Last Updated: March 02, 2012

Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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

March 26, 2012

By Caitlin Schudalla The NormanTranscript

NORMAN — A graduate student organization of the University of Oklahoma
Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education is hosting a public panel discussion
titled “The Future of the Professoriate” from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Friday in
the Oklahoma Memorial Union, 900 Asp Ave.

The discussion, hosted by the Norman chapter of the Oklahoma Educational
Studies Association (OESA-Norman), will be in the Union’s Regents Room.

The panel will include OU Senior Vice President and Provost Dr. Nancy Mergler,
Director of Teacher Education and Oklahoma State Regent Dr. Lisa Holder,
Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Dr. Penny
Pasque and Professor of Advanced Professional and Special Services at the
University of Central Oklahoma Dr. Terry Spigner.

Panelists will be invited to contribute their expertise and insight into the
professoriate from such perspectives as administration, policy, research and
practice. They also will field questions from attending education students and
teachers and answer any questions the public may have.

“It is our sincere hope that this panel discussion will enable those who are
considering future careers as professors and provide a chance to learn more
about the potential opportunities and challenges that might affect their role
in higher education,” OESA-Norman president Goldie Thompson said.

Thompson said the organization’s primary goals in coordinating the panel
include providing graduate students with a concrete idea of the administrative
and policy issues that will affect their careers and shedding light on
evaluation assessments and responsibilities that may have been previously
unknown to them.

“This forum will be a great opportunity for graduate scholars to inquire
about current legislative concerns that could potentially affect them as
professors,” Thompson said.

For more information,visit

Kathleen Evans , Assistant Campus Editor, OU Daily

The percentage of A’s given in OU colleges has increased
over the past 10 years, and A’s were the most common grade given in all but one college during the fall 2011 semester.
July 2011, a team of researchers looked at the percentages of A’s on a national level and found the top grade accounted
for 43 percent of all letter grades in 2008, an increase of 28 percent since 1960, according to research published in the Teachers College Record.

The rise in A’s corresponds with a decrease in C’s, D’s and F’s, according to the research.

The Daily received records of the percentages of A’s in each college over the past 10 years, which takes into account the grades of any students receiving grades in classes offered in those colleges, not necessarily just majors. It also excludes people who did not receive a letter grade in classes.

OU colleges match this national trend, showing a 2 percent average increase in the percentages of A’s in the past 10 years, according to the records. In fall 2002, colleges gave 51.22 percent A’s, opposed to 53.87 percent in fall 2011.

Academic provost Nancy Mergler said the percentage of grades in each college is not an accurate representation of the average abilities of students because it does not take into consideration the weight of each grade.

However, the average GPA has increased from 3.06 in fall 2004 to 3.10 in fall 2010, Mergler said. She does not see this as grade inflation but rather an increase in the academic preparedness of students entering OU.

OU does not have an institutional policy on grades or grade inflation in place, Mergler said. Faculty and staff have varying viewpoints about how to gauge students, so OU does not put restrictions in place.

The Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education had the highest offered A’s in courses 82.9 percent of the time, according to records. The next highest were the OU Honors College with 73.76 percent and the Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts with 67.41 percent.

The College of Education does not have any policies regarding grade inflation, Communications Director Christine Frank said. The administration credits the high grades to high admission standards within the college.

“We are very concerned about only sending the best and the brightest into Oklahoma classrooms, because of this, our students have to reach high standards to pursue a career in teaching,” said Dr. Teresa DeBacker.

At the lowest end of the scale is the Price College of Business, which gave 31.03 percent A’s in fall 2011 and was the only college to give more B’s that semester, which totaled 43.10 percent.

Even with the lowest percentage of A’s, the college has seen an increase in higher-level grades, according to reports; in fall 2002, As made up 23.74 percent and B’s were 41.90 percent.

The college does not have a policy about grades, but administrators do take grade distributions into consideration when evaluating professors.

“When the faculty are evaluated in the college, vigor, including grading vigor, is among the things looked at when deciding if a faculty member is doing his or her job,” Associate Dean Nim Razook said.

The college also has a culture in which it emphasizes vigor in its courses and training students, Razook said.

However, Razook said he emphasized that this mindset and culture is not only within the business college, but also in
others across campus.

“It’s just a matter of culture, I guess,” Razook said. “In some way I am glad that we’re relatively less lenient in passing out A’s, but I don’t think it’s because of any reason other than culture.”

Minneapolis, MN (PRWEB) February 15, 2012

Free Spirit Publishing brings service learning to the primary curriculum with
Service Learning in the PreK–3 Classroom: The What, Why, and How-To Guide for Every
(Free Spirit Publishing, $39.99), written by early childhood
education experts Vickie E. Lake, Ph.D., and Ithel Jones, Ed.D.

What is service learning? Service learning is an instructional approach that combines thoughtfully organized community service with experiential student learning in a way that changes and improves both the student and the community. It can be a powerful tool in reaching, teaching, and inspiring young children, and this book presents the background knowledge and skills needed to effectively use service learning in preK and primary

Service Learning in the PreK–3 Classroom is based on field trials the authors conducted with over 2,000 students and 215 educators, during a three year grant funding Drs. Lake and Jones to infuse service learning into their early childhood teacher education program at Florida State University. During this time, Lake and Jones realized the need for a resource written to help teachers of preK–grade 3, administrators, and early childhood professionals increase
their understanding of service learning and its role in the early childhood classroom.

“The idea that a kindergartner can be actively involved in service learning
projects—and understand the impact of their actions on others—is one that often surprises people,” says Jones. “But the fact is, young children can make a big difference in their communities.”

Rich in both theory and practice, the book reflects the tenets of the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s (NAEYC) developmentally appropriate practices (DAP), combining community service with differentiated curriculum-based learning to meet the academic and social needs of young children in meaningful ways. The sample lesson plans in the book are based on tried and tested classroom projects and correlated to national service
learning, Head Start, and core content standards. An accompanying CD-ROM offers
customizable versions of the book’s dozens of forms and templates for lesson planning, assessment, and more. It also includes a PowerPoint presentation for use in preservice and professional development.

Service Learning in the PreK–3 Classroom provides service learning opportunities that support high academic standards and, at the same time, foster children’s social development by teaching them to be good citizens.

About the authors

Vickie E. Lake, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of early childhood education the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education at The University of Oklahoma. She holds a master’s degree in education from Vanderbilt University and a Ph.D. in philosophy from The University of Texas at Austin. She has written for the Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education and Childhood Education, among other publications, and presents at professional conferences. A former teacher, staff developer, and early childhood district coordinator, Vickie has a passion
for character education and high-quality education for young children. She lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Ithel Jones, Ed.D., is an associate professor of early childhood education at Florida State University. He earned his M.S. from the University of Wisconsin at Stout and his doctor of education at the University of Georgia. Ithel was a teacher and primary school principal in his native Wales, and he has been a teacher educator at three universities in the United States. He currently teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in early childhood education and has
published more than 30 articles and book chapters. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida.

About Free Spirit

Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Free Spirit is the leading publisher of learning tools that support young people’s social-emotional health and their educational needs. Free Spirit’s mission is to help children and teens think for themselves, succeed in life, and make a difference in the world. For more information, visit

$39.99 / Softcover / 224 pp. / 8½” x 11″ / For teachers of PreK–grade 3, administrators, and early childhood professionals

Service Learning in the PreK–3 Classroom (Book with CD-ROM): The What, Why, and How-To Guide for Every Teacher ISBN 978-1-57542-367-8

Advance praise for Service Learning in the PreK-3 Classroom:

“A wonderfully useful guide [that] belongs on the shelf of every preK–3
teacher interested in bringing learning to life through service.”—Joe Follman,
founding director, Florida Learn & Serve

“Wonderfully comprehensive . . . incredibly practical . . . rich and
innovative . . . includes everything teachers will need to implement projects.”

—Judy Jablon, educational consultant and author of Powerful Interactions:
How to Connect with Children to Extend Their Learning (NAEYC)

“A great resource for educators to embrace their critical role in shaping the
mindset of young students.”—Clifton L. Taulbert, K–12 education consultant and
author of Eight Habits of the Heart for Educators

“Comprehensive . . . remarkably clear . . . a required resource for anyone
who wants to link experiential learning with the development of social
responsibility.”—Elizabeth A. Ethridge, Ed.D., associate professor of early
childhood education, University of Oklahoma

“A helpful guide for educators who want to ensure that our youngest
participants have opportunities to contribute to society.”—Cathryn Berger Kaye,
M.A., author of The Complete Guide to Service Learning


By Jerri CulpepperThe Moore AmericanWed Jan 25, 2012, 07:08 AM CST

MOORE — Imagine living in a family, a neighborhood, where no one you know has ever gone to college, or even aspired to it. Imagine knowing from an early age that, more than likely, after graduating from high school, if you made it that far, you are destined to work in the same factory, fast food restaurant or other blue-collar job as your parents, siblings, friends and neighbors.

Then, imagine this. In middle school, you are approached and told that, while it will require you to work hard now and in the coming years, you have a choice. College is a possibility, if you desire it. So is a career. You can aspire to become a journalist, teacher, architect, engineer, lawyer, doctor — the possibilities are endless.

That scenario will become reality for more than 4,500 sixth- and seventh-graders in 10 low-income urban schools within the Oklahoma City Public School district, thanks to a recent seven-year, $26 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to the University of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma City Public Schools.

The GEAR UP for PROMISE (Promotion of Readiness through Opportunities that Motivate and Increase Student Expectations) project seeks to better prepare urban students for college by increasing the ability of students to meet established performance levels in math, science, literacy and technology. The program also aims to provide students and their families with a better understanding of how to prepare and pay for college.

Gregg Garn, interim dean of the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education and director of the K20 Center for Educational and Community Renewal — a statewide education research and development center based in the college that promotes innovative learning through school-university-community collaboration — and Scott Wilson, associate director of the K20 Center, say that the implications go far beyond helping the students directly served through this grant. If successful, the model can be used to launch similar efforts in other impoverished areas across the state.

Any practice that has a significant chance of breaking the cycle of poverty is worth close investigation, not only, of course, for the alleviation of human suffering, but because of the tremendous costs associated with welfare programs.

In Oklahoma, as in many parts of the nation, poverty rates are, tragically, rising. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, which recently released new state-level data from the American Community Survey on poverty in 2010, some 616,610 Oklahomans — one out of every six — lived in poverty in 2010. The state’s poverty rate rose from 16.2 percent in 2009 to 16.9 percent in 2010. Oklahoma’s poverty rate remains 1.6 percentage points above the nation’s and was 14th highest among the states. The statistics are worse for children. The poverty rate for children, at 24.5 percent, is higher than that of working-age adults (15.5 percent) or seniors (9.3 percent). And the poverty rate for children rose 2.2 percentage points in 2010.

Poverty is closely correlated with education. An individual with only a high school degree is four times as likely to be poor as a college graduate. And persons without a GED or high school diploma are almost seven times likelier to be poor than college graduates. About a quarter of poor Oklahomans over age 25 did not graduate from high school.

Wilson, who also serves the K20 Center as director of Innovative Technology Partnerships, said the grant will fund the recruitment and employment of 21 professionals, ranging from master teachers, who will mentor cohort teachers on the use of research-based instructional strategies, to a veteran school teacher with knowledge of the schools’ specific needs. In all, he explains, the grant will allow the hiring of 10 professionals with work experience within schools and/or with students from areas with high poverty; five technical staff who will author Digital Game-Based Learning environments that target specific project goals and objectives; and six research, evaluation and support professionals who will help implement project services.

The project will utilize a four-phase model developed by the K20 Center.

In the first phase, Wilson said, each of the schools will send leaders — including teachers, counselors and parents — to a leadership seminar, where they will form teams. These teams will develop an action plan that ties technology integration and school goals and build a community that supports authentic learning that aligns with core standards established by the state. Phase one also includes a “Counselor Academy,” where counselors gain insight from urban-based research and learn best practices to increase students’ and families’ knowledge of and access to college financial aid.

In phase two, school administrators and teachers learn how to involve students in critical thinking through real-world learning scenarios that lead to self-directed student learning. Wilson explains that experience has shown that, as students develop critical-thinking skills, they also gain the confidence to take and succeed in rigorous courses, which increase the likelihood of their graduating from high school.

In the third phase of the project, the teachers will participate in the K20 Center’s Authentic Teaching Experiences summer intervention program, where they will learn how to implement interactive lessons that will engage their students. K20 staff will provide ongoing support through mentoring, debriefing, regional meetings and institutes after they return to their classrooms.

In the fourth phase of the project, the middle school students in the program will be taken to visit several colleges and universities in the state, where they will be exposed to campus life and learn about the different degree paths and/or careers that are available to them. During this visit, the students will have a chance to visit with college representatives and to receive specific information on such issues of concern as entrance requirements, cost, scholarships and other financial aid options.

Students and their parents also will be invited to participate in a two-day college forum, where they will be invited to explore different majors and visit the learning spaces, labs and facilities used by students currently following the major or career path in which they are interested.

Noting that all of the schools selected for the GEAR UP project regularly score very low on the College Readiness Benchmarks — a measurement that predicts success in freshman-level college courses — Wilson said their overall goal will be to move this cohort of students’ performance in mathematics, science reasoning, literacy and technology to the state average. Also in the process, they aspire to a number of other incremental improvements, including an increase in daily attendance and a greater percentage of students who are promoted on time to successive grade levels.

One of the ways they hope to accomplish this is by exposing the teachers to new ways of teaching that have proven to be more effective than relying solely on traditional methods, including lectures and memorization.

“While teachers are not entertainers,” Wilson said, “they should be able to provide the connections from what students are asked to learn to an application in the real world. This type of learning, known as authentic learning, has been shown to improve student achievement for all students and is particularly effective with students of low socioeconomic status.

“When instructional tasks are interesting and require creativity by students, student engagement and achievement are positively impacted,” he added.

The K20 staff also hopes that by providing more guidance on the courses college-bound students need to take and by exposing them to campus life at several colleges, these students will be better armed with the prerequisite skills and strategies to succeed in their studies, both now and when they head off to college.

“This seven-year partnership helps students and their families explore opportunities and develop plans which can unlock doors to future career options we cannot imagine today,” Garn said.  “It’s good for individual students and their families, their schools and our state.”

OU Board of Regents approve new tobacco policy

By Caitlin SchudallaTheNorman TranscriptWed Jan 25, 2012, 01:29 AM CST

NORMAN — The University of Oklahoma Board of Regents approved a policy banning smoking on campus — except in two designated areas — during its meeting Tuesday afternoon.

“We feel morally obligated as an educational example to help save lives in our community and our country,” OU President David Boren said. “Over 500 colleges and universities nationwide have already adopted similar policies to make their campuses tobacco-free.”

The policy will go into effect July 1 and will be enforced by fines of up to $50 for repeat offendors. As a campus policy, the smoking ban will apply to visitors and OU students, faculty and staff.

When the policy goes into effect, it will prohibit all smoking at sports venues, such as the Gaylord Family Okahoma Memorial Stadium and Lloyd Noble Center.

The features of the policy were based largely on the conclusions of Boren’s tobacco policy advisory committee, led by OU College of Public Heath Dean Gary Raskob, Ph.D.

“We truly did seek very broad input from the campus and surrounding community,” Raskob said. “We’ve received enormous support from local and national groups. The timing is right for this step.”

In spite of a committee majority of around 80 percent favoring a completely tobacco-free campus, Boren and the board of regents agreed to designate two smoking areas. The proposed isolated locations in the parking lots of Dale Hall and Lloyd Noble Center are intended to minimize exposure to secondhand smoke.

Boren called these smoking areas a “compromise,” saying he and the committee recognize the difficulty in quitting smoking and wish to make the intended transition to a healthier lifestyle as smooth as possible.

The university will offer free tobacco-use cessation classes beginning February and free quit kits, personal coaching, online tools and up to $500 coverage of prescription drug coverage for those who qualify. Norman Regional Hospital also offers a free, four-session program for tobacco-use cessation called QuitSmart.

In addition to adopting the new tobacco policy, the regents approved the purchase of a warehouse space at 705 E. Lindsey St. They also sanctioned the university to actively attempt to acquire the residential properties at 209, 211, 213 and 215 E. Brooks St.

The warehouse space will continue to serve as shop space for the university’s Facilities Management. The residential spaces will be operated and maintained by University Real Estate Operations, pending their purchase.

Other actions of note include:

· Gregg Garn was approved as the new dean of the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education.

· The regents approved the purchase a $2.1 million cluster supercomputer for the OU Supercomputing Center for Education and Research.

· The Jimmie Austin OU Golf Course was approved to receive new maintenence equipment, including new service vehicles and golf carts.

· A 24,000 square foot practice facility for the women’s intercollegiate rowing team  was added to the Campus Master Plan of Capital Improvement Projects for the Norman campus.

Caitlin Schudalla  366-3541 cschudalla@

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