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Episode 028: Legislative Update 2

In this second episode of the Legislative Update, I wrap up some of the senate and house bills of interest that were filed by January 17th (the last day to file bills).

All I can say at this point is this is going to be a fascinating legislative session. 1st Regular Session convenes on February 4, 2019. In the past post, I listed the Senate Committee on Education, below you will see the House Committees that focus on education but pay attention to the committee that the bill of interest is assigned to. Let me know your thoughts after listening to the episode and fill out your information in the “Be a Guest” tab to join me for a chat.

Resource: If you haven’t done so already, download the app “Oklahoma’s Legislative Guide” by OAEC.

House Subcommittee for Appropriations and Budget on Education

  • Rep Mark McBride (District 53): Chair
  • Rep Toni Hasenbeck (District 65): Vice Chair
  • Rep Rhonda Baker (District 60)
  • Rep Mickey Dollens (District 93)
  • Rep Jadine Nollan (District 66)
  • Rep Ty Burns (District 35)
  • Rep Derrel Fincher (District 11)
  • Rep Jacob Rosecrants (District 46)
  • Rep Sherrie Conley (District 20)
  • Rep Andy Fugate (District 94)
  • Rep Tammy West (District 84)

House Committee on Common Education

  • Rep Rhonda Baker (District 60): Chair
  • Rep Mark Vancuren (District 74): Vice Chair
  • Rep Kelly Albright (District 95)
  • Rep Sherrie Conley (District 20)
  • Rep Melissa Provenzano (District 79)
  • Rep Jacob Rosecrants (District 46)
  • Rep John Talley (District 33)
  • Rep Carol Bush (District 70)
  • Rep Sheila Dills (District 69)
  • Rep Randly Randleman (District 15)
  • Rep Todd Russ (District 55)
  • Rep John Waldron (District 77)
  • Rep Chad Caldwell (District 40)
  • Rep Ronny Johns (District 25)
  • Rep Dustin Roberts (District 21)
  • Rep Danny Sterling (District 27)
  • Rep Tammy West (District 84)

House Committee on Children, Youth, and Family Services

  • Rep Carol Bush (District 70): Chair
  • Rep John Talley (District 33): Vice Chair
  • Rep Forrest Bennett (District 92)
  • Rep Ronny Johns (District 25)
  • Rep Nicole Miller (District 82)
  • Rep Melissa Provenzano (District 79)
  • Rep Cynthia Roe (District 42)
  • Rep Jeff Boatman (District 67)
  • Rep Dell Kerbs (District 26)
  • Rep Cyndi Munson (District 85)
  • Rep Randy Randleman (District 15)
  • Rep Derrel Fincher (District 11)
  • Rep Mark Lawson (District 30)
  • Rep Jadine Nollan (District 66)
  • Rep Trish Ranson (District 34)

House Committee on Higher Education and Career Tech

  • Rep Jadine Nollan (District 66): Chair
  • Rep Derrel Fincher (District 11): Vice Chair
  • Rep Brad Boles (District 51)
  • Rep Jon Echols (District 90)
  • Rep Dell Kerbs (District 26)
  • Rep Trish Ranson (District 34)
  • Rep Tammy West (District 84)
  • Rep Sherrie Conley (District 20)
  • Rep Regina Goodwin (District 73)
  • Rep Lundy Kiger (District 3)
  • Rep Mark Vancuren (District 74)
  • Rep Jason Dunnington (District 88)
  • Rep Kyle Hilbert (District 29)
  • Rep Ken Luttrell (District 37)
  • Rep Emily Virgin (District 44)

Episode 027: Trauma-Informed Teaching

Trauma-Informed Teaching has become more and more of an important topic in our professional development in recent years. In this episode, I visit with Kristin Atchley about how trauma is impacting our students and ways teachers and schools can support families.

Kristin Atchley is the Executive Director of Counseling for the Oklahoma State Department of Education. She has been a school counselor and a student advocate for Moore and Norman Public Schools. Kristin has brought in a wave of trauma-informed practices throughout our state. She trains school personnel at all levels and planned/organized the first Trauma Summit in 2018. If you don’t already follow her on Twitter, I would strongly recommend it – @KristinAtchley.

Below are resources mentioned in the episode:

Below are the questions I prepared to ask Kristin:

  1. Tell us who you are and what you do.
  2. How do you describe Trauma Informed Practice to the novice?
  3. Why is it important for schools to be Trauma Informed?
  4. What do teachers need to know about trauma?
  5. What are ACEs?
  6. What behaviors are prevalent in children who have a high ACE score?
  7. How does trauma impact brain development?
  8. What strategies/classroom practices need to be in place to help students develop their prefrontal cortex and lower students’ stress levels in the classroom?
  9. What is the importance of relationships in Trauma Informed Classrooms? How do teachers develop connections with their students?
  10. What makes a student or family resilient? How can schools help to develop resiliency in students and families?
  11. What are wrap around services? How can they benefit families with high-trauma?
  12. What professional development opportunities do teachers need surrounding trauma?
  13. What is fight, flight, and freeze? What does each look like?
  14. What would happen to the overall mission of our work if ACEs were radically reduced in the population as a whole? What does a low-ACEs culture look like?
  15. What are your go-to resources to share with teachers/principals?

This episode was recorded at and mastered by Design Tunnel in downtown OKC.

Episode 026: Legislative Update 1

After lots of brainstorming about how I might make the Passing Notes blog and podcast better, I decided to make a 2019 goal to provide more news and information using both platforms. Passing Notes will still include interviews with education experts published every two weeks but every other week, we will get political (but not partisan). My goal is to provide information to educators, concerned citizens, stakeholders, families about what is going on in education in Oklahoma. Some weeks we might have guests or panels but every other week we will have updates. At least through the legislative session.

Please send me your thoughts and feedback! And definitely let me know if you’d like to come on an episode and talk education politics with me. Let’s get started!

This episode is focused on the Senate Bills that have been filed for the 57th legislature. Senators can file an unlimited number of bills. The deadline to introduce a bill is January 17th, 2019.

Senate Education Committee

  • Senator Gary Stanislawski (District 35) – Chair
  • Senator Joe Newhouse (District 25) – Vice Chair
  • Senator David Bullard (District 6)
  • Senator J.J. Dossett (District 34)
  • Senator Tom Dugger (District 21)
  • Senator John Haste (District 36)
  • Senator Carri Hicks (District 40)
  • Senator Allison Ikley-Freeman (District 37)
  • Senator Chris Kidd (District 31)
  • Senator Roland Pederson (District 19)
  • Senator Dewayne Pemberton (District 9)
  • Senator Marty Quinn (District 2)
  • Senator Paul Scott (District 43)
  • Senator Wayne Shaw (District 3)
  • Senator Jason Smalley (District 28)

Episode 025: My Conversation with the Superintendent

While most of us might agree that the current climate of education politics is improving, there is still a ways to go and Superintendent Hofmeister has been leading that charge. She recently requested a budget of $3.35 billion for the 2019-2020 school year, which was the largest budget ever requested for common education, aimed on reducing classroom sizes, decreasing the student to counselor ratio statewide, increasing funds to alternative education, a focus on professional development, and more.

Superintendent Hofmeister is Oklahoma’s 14th State Superintendent. She completed her Bachelor’s of Science in Education from Texas Christian University, receiving a certificates in English and elementary education. She served as a public school teacher, then as the CEO of Kumon Math & Reading Centers of South Tulsa. She served on the Oklahoma State Board of Education from January 2012 to April 2013 before running for State Superintendent. She was sworn in on January 12, 2015. In November of 2018, Superintendent Hofmeister was re-elected to a second term and will be sworn in on January 14, 2019.

Below are the questions I prepared to ask Superintendent Hofmeister:

  1. Introduce yourself
  2. Describe your background in education.
  3. What motivated/encouraged you to run for public office?
  4. Describe what your typical day looks like as Superintendent.
  5. What has surprised you about the position of Superintendent?
  6. What of your first term accomplishments are you most proud of?
  7. What do you hope to accomplish moving forward into your next term? What do you hope to accomplish for teachers? Students?
  8. What do you hope to accomplish in regards to the budget?
  9. Over the years education has had to cut a number of programs (Oklahoma Parents as Teachers, teacher mentorship programs), are there any past programs that you are hoping to bring back?
  10. With a new freshman class of legislatures, what are your plans to educate them on public schools and higher education?
  11. What goals do you have surrounding decreasing the teacher shortage in Oklahoma? How will Oklahoma compete with surrounding states that are willing to pay teachers more?
  12. You have brought in a focus on trauma in our state, how do you hope to prepare educators and schools to mitigate the impact of trauma on students?
  13. The State Department of Education has received a large number of grants in the last year, how do you think this change education in our state?
  14. What do you hope education in Oklahoma looks like in the next four years? Ten years?
  15. What is favorite part of being the State Superintendent of Oklahoma?

Changes to Passing Notes

2019 is going to bring a few changes to the Passing Notes Podcast. After (almost) a year of episodes I’ve learned a few things and had received great feedback from listeners. Next year look for episodes to be released on Thursday afternoons instead of Friday mornings. Further, every other Thursday during the legislative session (and maybe as needed after that) there will be an episode focused on what is going on at 23rd & Lincoln.

Let me know if you would like to be a guest by filling out your information here or leave me a comment here if you know of someone who needs to interviewed on the podcast.

Thanks for listening.

Episode 024: Makerspace

This is the eighth and final episode of the Passing Notes Podcast Tech Series and we are focusing on the STEAM world of Makerspace!

A makerspace is a collaborative space where students can explore the STEAM world around them. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math and offers students open-ended opportunities to explore the 21st century skills that will prepare them for their future. STEAM is hands-on and involves the use of critical thinking skills.

For this episode, I interviewed Chris Smith. Chris is the Director of Early Childhood for Enid Public Schools. In her work she supports early childhood educators in the classroom to improve instruction and provide the best, developmentally appropriate practices for young children. Chris and her teachers have created a superb makerspace for their students. In the makerspace the students use this area to create and explore the world around them.

Below are the questions I prepared to ask Chris (there were some follow up questions in the podcast that are not included below):

  1. Introduce yourself (background/experience)
  2. Tell us about what you do?
  3. What is a makerspace?
  4. How can teachers use makespace to teach core STEM and STEAM principles to their students?
  5. What does a teacher need to get started in their Makerspace? What items and materials need to go into a Makerspace?
  6. Where should teachers start?
  7. What should teachers add over time?
  8. Do materials depend on age group?
  9. How should a teacher introduce Makespace time to their students?
  10. What routines and procedures need to be put in place beforehand?
  11. What setbacks keep teachers from having a makerspace time?
  12. How can teachers pull in other content areas into a makerspace area?
  13. What advice/cautions do you have for teachers just getting started in makerspace?
  14. What are you excited about in the world of ed tech?
  15. What are your go-to resources?

Episode 023: Self-Care

We’ve all half listened to a flight attendant inform us that in the event of a plane’s decompression an oxygen mask will drop down in front of you. They go on to explain how to put the oxygen mask on and then the flight attendant says “if you are traveling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your mask on first, and then assist the other person.” They tell us this because they know that a person is useless in an emergency situation if they have not cared for themselves first.

Sometimes this happens to us as educators, we forget to take care of ourselves in order to care for those who rely on us daily. Education is an exhausting job and we need to make sure that self-care is a priority! Todd Whitaker says,

“The best thing about being a teacher is that it matters. The hardest thing about being a teacher is that it matters every day.”

So exercise, go for a walk, hike, hug, take a bubble bath, color, journal, read a book, talk to a friend – do whatever it is you need to bring your best for your students every day.

For this episode, I interviewed Lindsay Simpson. Lindsay is an NASM Certified Personal Trainers as well as a wife and mother of 3. She has a passion for helping others achieve their health, well-being, self-love, and care goals. She is the woman behind Fitness with Lindsay, which provides fitness advice, tips and motivation for helping others achieve their fitness goals.

Below are the questions I prepared to ask Lindsay:

  1. Tell us who you are and what you do.
  2. Why did you start doing the work that you do? What drives it?
  3. What is self-care?
  4. Why is self-care important?
  5. You work with a lot of teachers and other care professionals – why is it important for them to focus on self-care?
  6. What role does self-care play in overall health, mental or physical?
  7. What are healthy self-care options?
  8. How do teachers develop a practice of self-care?
  9. How can teachers carve time out of their day for self-care?
  10. Why is a focus on health, mental and physical, important to overall well being?
  11. What practical steps can educators take towards being healthy?
  12. In what ways does a focus on individual health impact all other aspects of your life?
  13. What are your go-to resources?

This episode was recorded at and mastered by Design Tunnel in downtown OKC!

Episode 022: Technology Access

This is episode 7 of the Passing Notes Podcast Tech Series. The Tech Series is focused on the different aspects of technology use in the school.

For episode 7 of the Tech Series we focused on discussing teacher’s access to technology. Technology can be unpredictable and sometimes attending professional development on use of technology is either way over our heads or doesn’t go deep enough. Teachers need practical tools and a variety of types of PD offerings in order to successfully access and utilize technology in their classrooms. Episode 7 of the Tech Series is focused on helping teachers access technology as a part of their daily teaching practice.

For this episode I interviewed Adam Rogers. Adam is a CTE (Career Technology Educator) Technology Coordinator for Oklahoma City Public Schools. In his work he supports teachers throughout the district with a focus on career technology. The work that Adam and his teacher do prepare students for their future. You can find Adam Rogers on Twitter @MrRogersTech


Below are the questions I prepared to ask Adam (there were some follow up questions in the podcast that are not included below):

  1. Introduce yourself (background/experience)
  2. Tell us about what you do in OKCPS.
  3. What is your pedagogical beliefs about technology in the classroom?
  4. What do teachers need to know about integrating technology in their classrooms?
  5. How do you prepare teachers to access technology in their classroom?
  6. What role does teacher attitude play in access and usage of technology?
  7. What are some of the barriers that teacher encounter when integrating technology?
  8. What strategies are important to implement when accessing technology?
  9. What problem solving tools do teachers need to be able to use when struggling with technology?
  10. What recommendations do you have for teachers moving beyond accessing their technology? How do teachers move into the curation phase of integrating their technology?
  11. What advice do you have for teachers who are considering using new technology in their classroom and don’t know where to start?
  12. What training needs/professional development do teachers need to be able to access and problem solve when using technology in their classroom?
  13. How can administrators and district provide on-going technology support for their teachers?
  14. What are some of the recent innovations in ed tech that you are excited about?
  15. What are your go-to resources?

This episode was recorded at and mastered by Design Tunnel in downtown OKC!

Episode 021: Digital Citizenship

This is episode 6 of the Passing Notes Podcast Tech Series. The Tech Series is focused on teaching digital citizenship.

For episode 6 of the Tech Series we focused on Digital Citizenship. “How do we teach Digital Citizenship in our increasingly digital world,” is a constant and an important question of educators? Digital Citizenship is an important aspect of teaching digital literacy. We all know our students know how to use technology but do they know how to use it appropriately and how can we help them to use technology responsibly in an ever changing landscape.

For this episode I interviewed Eric Hileman. Eric is the Executive Director of Informational Technology for Oklahoma City Public Schools. If it has anything to do with technology in the district, Eric is the guy, from using technology in the classroom to making technology decisions for the district – Eric is involved. Eric is passionate about teaching with technology for the right purposes and uses. He also believes that citizenship is important, digital and otherwise. You can find Eric Hileman on twitter @eshileman. Links will be added in the comments of resources that Eric mentions throughout the interview.

Below are the questions I prepared to ask Eric (there were some follow up questions in the podcast that are not included below):

  1. Introduce yourself (background/experience)
  2. Tell us about what you do for OKCPS?
  3. What is Digital Citizenship?
  4. Let’s talk standards – what are your thoughts on the Digital Citizenship standards? How do teachers implement throughout their lesson planning?
  5. Why is it an important for educators to know about Digital Citizenship?
  6. How do teachers introduce the concepts of Digital Citizenship?
  7. How do teachers support the concepts behind Digital Citizenship?
  8. How do teachers support students when mistakes in Digital Citizenship are made?
  9. What ways can teachers model Digital Citizenship?
  10. What strategies should teachers implement when teaching Digital Citizenship?
  11. There seems to be a wide variety of ability in using technology with teachers… what advice do you have for teachers who are not confident in utilizing technology but need to find ways to implement the standards for Digital Citizenship?
  12. Playing with technology is beneficial for students and teachers to learn how to use new tech… how can Digital Citizenship skills support students as they try out new technology and new uses for technology?
  13. Let’s talk about parents… what do teachers need to communicate with parents about Digital Citizenship? How can parents support their children developing these skills?
  14. In what ways can mastering Digital Citizenship skills help students in other academic areas? Social areas?
  15. What strand of Digital Citizenship do you think teachers need the most support?
  16. How can teachers tie civic engagement in with Digital Citizenship?
  17. How can teachers teach empathy through Digital Citizenship skills?
  18. What are your go-to resources?

This episode was recorded at and mastered by Design Tunnel in downtown OKC!

Episode 020: The Election Episode

Elections are upon us! Early Voting begins today (11/1/18) and lasts through Saturday (11/3/18) and the official Election Day is November 6th! If you are interested in voting early – this link will take you to the information you need. Voting is an important right and I hope that all of you exercise that right on Tuesday. If your are looking for resources, check out last weeks blog post and podcast with Shari Gateley about Everyday Advocacy.

For this episode I interviewed Representative Jason Dunnington. Jason represents House District 88 in the state of Oklahoma and is soon to enter into his third term. Since his first election he has been a proeducation advocate. Throughout our conversation we discussed the upcoming election and the future legislative session including how educators can continue to engage in the process! You can find Representative Dunnington on Twitter @jdunnington or on Facebook.

Below are the questions I prepared to ask Representative Dunnington (there were some follow up questions in the podcast that are not included below):

  1. Introduce yourself
  2. Why is this election important for our state?
  3. How can educators… educate themselves on the upcoming elections?
  4. In what ways can educators support pro-education candidates in these final days?
  5. What should educators do going forward (reference 1990 walk out and subsequent election) to ensure that we are not in the same place 10 … 20 years from now?
  6. In what ways should educators engage their legislators going forward?
  7. What are the best ways to stay informed? (some bills/info coming out of 23rd and Lincoln can be complicated and convoluted)
  8. What is your charge to legislators, where do we go next to continue (re)building our state?
  9. How do we as a state move forward after the elections? What keeps you hopeful that we will have a vision for our state’s future?
  10. What is your vision for the remainder of your time as a legislator?
  11. What are you excited about going into the next legislative session? What are you hoping will be discussed/passed?
  12. Which elections are you looking forward to watching?
  13. What are your go-to resources for information about elections?

This episode was recorded at Design Tunnel in downtown OKC!