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A Different Kind of Literate

Most of us like to think we are financially literate, but there’s always room to learn. If you think setting up a budget should be your initial course of action, you could already be a step behind. Instead, the first questions to ask yourself are: why do I want a budget, and what do I want it to accomplish...

Jon Parker

As the executive director for the Oklahoma State Department of Education’s Office of School Safety and Security, Jon Parker says that “teaching is an integral part of my core being, and it is ultimately the guiding principle behind what I do.” Before taking the lead at the OSSS, Parker was an educator for 18 years. He’s also worked in...

Weathering the Storm

Meteorology is a pretty broad topic. You can point your barometer toward studies in severe weather, atmosphere, hurricanes, climate change, wind patterns, radar research and development or even different instrumentation. Even better, Oklahoma is one of the best places in the nation to study most of those topics. Kaitlin Frost travels the U.S., speaking to K-12 students about meteorology as...

Broadening Horizons

Most academic clubs don’t set out to solve the world’s problems, but Model United Nations does just that. International diplomacy comes to life when students take on the roles of delegates of UN member states. Participants collaborate in simulations of the General Assembly, Security Council and other working groups to negotiate and solve problems on global and regional scales. Model UN...

Plants and Partnerships

Community gardens offer more than a bounty of fruits and vegetables. They also produce a sense of belonging for neighbors, an appreciation of nature for students, and partnerships between civic organizations and groups. Oklahoma has a range of such gardens, from spaces at schools and plots in parks to neighborhood farms. They are used for educational purposes, business opportunities, community...

Building a Cohesive Community

Whether it’s moving into a new building, maintaining the school grounds or just nurturing strong student-teacher-parent relationships, the story is the same for two highly ranked Oklahoma charter schools: Success comes from mutual involvement by the entire school community. Charter schools have been part of Oklahoma public education since 1999. Amendments to the Oklahoma Charter Schools Act in 2015 brought...

Fae Folk and Chicken-Fried Steak

In one sense, Vinita embodies enchantment and make-believe, especially with get-away destinations nearby at Grand Lake. However, the Craig County seat is also a common-sense, down-home place. Vinita embraces both – illustrated by a Depression-era cafe with an international following and two Renaissance festivals that take visitors back to 1540s Scotland. Grant “Sweet Tator” Clanton opened the first Clanton’s Cafe in...

A New Way to Code

Money is often a pressing concern for those wanting a college education. With the student loan debt crisis continuing to worsen, alternatives to traditional higher education have emerged. Holberton School, a tuition-deferred institution for software engineering, may provide academic outlets for some Oklahomans. The San Francisco-based school, which opens its Tulsa campus in early January, allows students to pay tuition...

Sooner Ties to the Cosmos

The dual successes of one of America’s most renowned astrophysicists and science fiction writers are due, in part, to his undergraduate days at the University of Oklahoma. Gregory Benford, who graduated Phi Beta Kappa from OU in 1963 with a bachelor’s degree in physics, credits his time in Oklahoma for honing his writing and launching a career that has explored...

Sara Ivey

A transplant from New Mexico, Sara Ivey fosters a passion for environmental education that has led her to several jobs in our state. After stints at Oklahoma Kids in Environmental Education and the Oklahoma Water Resources Board, Ivey became the education programs and services coordinator for the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality in 2012. We caught up with Ivey...