Oklahoma's superintendent of schools is on a statewide road tour
State Superintendent Sandy Garrett plans to visit most of Oklahoma's public school districts between now and mid-December. The News on Six was in Muskogee Thursday for the first leg of "The School Road Tour."
The first stop on the tour was a homecoming for Garrett, who began her career as a first-grade teacher at Hilldale. She returned to the independent school district in Muskogee for a first-hand look at how Hilldale schools are doing. She and her staff hope to do the same in every Oklahoma school district by year's end. "We're hoping to compile a report from our observations to give to the state board of education as well as to the legislature," said Garrett. "We're looking at technology. We're looking at class size. We're looking at high schools at the new curriculum, and the new standards that go into effect this year," she noted.
Garrett couldn't resist a quick look at what used to be her classroom. "The frogs hopped through this little window and around the room during my first-grade assignment," she remembered. "By the end of the day, the kids were hopping around the room, too."
State educators are particularly interested in how the voluntary four-year old program is being accepted around the state. They'll also look at alternative education programs and talk with students and parents. Hilldale's principal, Faye Garrison, thinks the road tour is on the right track. "I just want them to see all the good things that are happening in the district," Garrison said. "Once in awhile, we get a bad rap. I'd just like them to see the positive, the good curriculum and the good things that are happening in the classrooms."
Garrett will also look at how schools are meeting unfunded mandates ordered in recent school reform legislation. "Most of them have met the challenge very well, I'll have to say," Garrett said. "And they've done it by coming to work early this year and getting together in August with a lot of parents and teachers."
There will be about a dozen more stops on the tour in the next two days. The School Road Tour will visit Jenks schools, Monday, August 30th.