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EHS and NOC credits. Among them are composition I and II, four English classes, four math courses, four science classes and four social studies classes. “They can graduate here with 18 hours of college credit,” Trojan said. For those courses, the state pays tuition and By Phyllis Zorn the students pay fees. Staff Writer Already, school officials are meeting with University Center, on the campus of Enid students about fall enrollment for University High School, will open for the fall semester Center classes. Adam Beauchamp, EHS assistant princiand house 16 classrooms and four laboratories for advanced placement and dual-credit col- pal, is delighted UC is opening in the fall. “The more we can expose our students to lege classes. The center also will have offices for EHS college opportunity when they might think college is not for them, the more we might have and Northern Oklahoma College faculty. This, in turn, will allow students to earn col- choose that path,” Beauchamp said. lege credit for classes taken during high “It gets them to think about life beyond school, saving money high school,” Trojan said. on college costs. “We estimate if students Stephanie Weistake classes at the high senbuehler, career school, they can save counselor at Autry $30,000,” added Technology Center Amber Fitzgerald, and EHS, said it’s human resources and expected there will be communications We estimate if students take 20 sophomores endirector for Enid classes at the high school, rolled for the user Public Schools. they can save $30,000.” interface design class EHS has 22 preat UC in the fall. advanced placement Amber Fitzgerald, The class will and advanced placehuman resources and communications teach the latest feament classes already, tures of Windows 8 as well as college director for Enid Public Schools on mobile devices, courses on campus, including the new Fitzgerald said. user interface, working with the Charms bar, Besides the opportunity to take more colstarting apps, working with windows and man- lege-level courses, the addition of University aging files. When the tablet environment is Center serves another purpose. It creates more mastered, the course will provide the begin- space for the high school. With growing enrollning programmer with a foundation to build ment districtwide, that additional space is apps for mobile devices. going to be needed. Students must apply with Autry for the During the first semester of the current class, and their grade point average and previ- school year, EHS students logged 470 college ous computer experience will be considered. credit hours, Trojan said. Northern Oklahoma College also will offer Among Oklahoma high schools, only classes at University Center, including U.S. Tulsa Union has a comparable college class history, freshman composition, college algebra center. and government. “We’ll be ready for the fall,” Fitzgerald Anita Trojan, EHS counselor, said students said. “We’re going to have an open house for can take classes at UC that count toward both the public.”


Autry and NOC classes start this fall at University Center

A construction worker (top) walks into an entrance to the new University Center at Enid High School. The facility is slated to open in the fall. Construction (middle) continues on UC. Clint Morgan (above), from B&B Sheet Metal, seals ductwork. Amber Fitzgerald (left bottom), human resources and communications director for Enid Public Schools, and Adam Beauchamp (left top), Enid High School assistant principal, answer questions about the new center. (Staff Photos by BONNIE VCULEK)

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up PARENTS step Involvement in school benefits pupils, aids administrators, teachers and staff By Phyllis Zorn Staff Writer

Hayes Elementary School’s active parental involvement benefits everyone — students, faculty and administration. Jane Johnson, principal of Hayes Elementary, said not only are a good number of parents active participants in Parent Teacher Association but those same parents step up to the plate as volunteers when the school is shorthanded, doing such tasks as helping serve lunch. “At the beginning of the year parents sign up for what they are interested in doing,” Johnson said. “We kind of let them run with what they do best, so they don’t have a lot of meetings and such.” Amy Finnegan, president of the Hayes PTA, said when the school needs a volunteer, she sends out an email letting PTA members know and someone who can pitch in will step up to the plate. The strong element of parental involvement at the school also helped the school attain the Silver Award in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s HealthierUS School Challenge. Part of the criteria was finding non-food ways to celebrate events

instead of handing out cookies and cupcakes. “I think it’s going over great,” Finnegan said. “I don’t even think the kids miss it. We only have about 30 minutes anyway for a party. … I think it was harder for us to give up the food.” Even the annual school carnival is done without food. Johnson noted PTA sends needed items to the school as well as sets up a student store one morning per month where students can buy water bottles, pencils and other Hayes-related items. “Last year we logged over 1,000 volunteer hours in our building,” Johnson said. “I’m sure this year it’s running the same or maybe a little over.” A partnership between PTA and Park Avenue Thrift provides arts education from Creative Arts Enid to Hayes fifth-graders. “Park Avenue Thrift pays for the time, but the PTA pays for the materials,” Finnegan said. “We get the teachers whatever they need.” PTA bought cameras for student computers this year and is looking at getting iPads for the classrooms. “Our goal this year is to raise $10,000,” Finnegan said.

Carli Aebi (top) plays Valentine’s Day bingo with Hayes Elementary School kindergarten students Feb. 14. The school’s PTA provides games and educational activities instead of edible treats for students and staff. Hayes recently was honored as Oklahoma’s only HealthierUS School Challenge Silver Award winner. Vanessa Jones (right) helps Hayes first-graders with an art project. Hayes volunteer Chad Quin tries to get students’ attention as they play a game. (Staff Photos by BONNIE VCULEK)

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what a difference a little

SUCCESS can bring a life Lincoln Academy provides more than classes to its students ... it offers a measure of hope By Jeff Mullin Senior Writer

The perception of some in the public of Enid’s Lincoln Academy, the district’s alternative school, is it is the place for trouble makers, or slow learners. Nothing, say the men and women of Lincoln Academy’s faculty, could be further from the truth. “They think that’s where the bad kids go,” said 14-year veteran Lincoln Academy English teacher Kent Chesser. “We are the school where kids are just struggling in the regular classroom environment. If a kid is having to work 40, 60 hours just to pay the bills, it is hard for him to go to the traditional school all day.” Not that Lincoln Academy students don’t have issues. According to a school handout, 69 percent exhibited excessive truancy, 21 percent were suspended for aggressive behavior, while 38 percent had other behavior problems. But that doesn’t tell the whole story. Thirteen percent of Lincoln’s students are teen parents, while 2 percent have more than one child. Eight percent were battered by a spouse/partner; 33 percent were the victims of physical, sexual or emotional abuse; 29 percent suffer from depression;, 28 percent live on their own; and 22 percent exhibit anxiety disorders. Yet, since the school first opened in 1993, it has had a 90 percent success rate among its students, said principal Jarry Hillman. “When kids come here they have their heads down, they have little or no self-esteem,” he said. “It is fun to see such a change in their demeanor when they have some success.”

Varied stories of students One of Lincoln’s current success stories is senior Cameron Stittsworth. “I wouldn’t be the person I am if I wasn’t at Lincoln,” he said. “I am proud to say I am Lincoln Academy. I’m a survivor. Lincoln changed my life, I’m happy.” Stittsworth previously attended Kremlin-Hillsdale and Enid High. “I’m not good at the big school,” he said about EHS. “Smaller classes are better for me. They want to teach you. It’s hands-on. They are there for you. They are motivators. They are here to make a difference.” Without Lincoln, Stittsworth said, he would have dropped out of school. Now, he is on track to graduate in the spring with an eye on pursuing his first love, music. “I’m happy I’m here,” he said. “It was a big breakthrough.” Tyler McNeill already had dropped out, but when he learned he

needed a high school diploma to realize his dream of becoming a U.S. Marine, he turned to Lincoln Academy. “It’s a very good learning environment,” said McNeill. “You have more time with the teachers, it’s less crowded, a lot less drama. Overall it’s a more comfortable but structured environment. It’s a lot easier to focus.” He credited Lincoln’s faculty for making the difference for students. “The teachers are just overall good people, and they want to see you succeed,” he said. “That’s the thing I loved most about going here.” McNeill reports to Marine Corps basic training in July, with the goal of working in security forces. Without Lincoln, he said, “I’d probably just be skatin’ by. I wouldn’t be fulfilling any goals or dreams.” Ciara Zumalt, a junior at Lincoln, said she had difficulty focusing on her studies at Enid High and as a result couldn’t get her grades up. Large classes made learning difficult for her. “I tried really hard to get into Lincoln, and whenever I did all this stress just went away, completely,” she said. “I actually found a reason why I wanted to come to school. I like learning now. “This place is probably the best thing that’s happened to me since a long time.” Lincoln’s teachers, she said, “are very caring. They don’t doubt you. They’ll do anything to help you. If you fall down they’ll pick you right back up.” After graduating in 2014, Ciara hopes to obtain welding and piercing licenses and to study massage therapy. Without Lincoln, she said, “I would probably still be in school, but I would not be doing very well. I probably would have gotten held back. No matter how hard I tried my brain couldn’t focus because there was so much going on around me.”

Seeing the results Lincoln’s teachers are familiar with, and gratified by, such stories.

Kelli Irvin has been an English teacher at Lincoln for more than five years. Both she and Chesser say after being at Lincoln they wouldn’t want to teach anyplace else. “I have a greater opportunity to get to know the kids on a one-on-one basis,” said Chesser. “It gives us a chance to kind of connect with the kids. That’s one of the main reasons

we’re so successful. That, and we’re flexible.” Lincoln offers morning, afternoon and evening sessions, whichever fits best into a student’s life. Many Lincoln students work to support themselves and their families, and they receive credits for their employment. Others spend part of their day in classes at Autry Technology Center.


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“It allows us to bend a little bit to fit the kids’ schedule, so the kids have a chance to be more successful,” said Chesser. “I just try to treat the students the way I hope my four children are being treated at school,” said Irvin. “They know I’m not just here, I’m here to help them.” Classes at Lincoln are small, with

dents living on their own struggling to keep food on the table to those still living with their parents but dealing with medical or emotional issues. “We teach them a lot of basic life skills, on top of teaching them English, teaching them some basic life skills about the real world,” said Irvin. Hearing heart-wrenching stories about their students’ struggles is nearly a daily occurrence, Chesser said. “You name it, we’ve had it,” he said. “There are so many other variables in their life, sometimes we have to address those variables. A lot of the kids here have things going on besides just school.” “It’s hard to get a student to focus on an English paper when they’re dealing with not having any electricity in their house for the last three months,” said Irvin. The school occasionally receives donations passed along to the students who need them, like shoes, clothes, gas money and gift cards to help purchase diapers. A Lincoln Alternative survivor logo (top), designed Lincoln students are open by a former student, graces the south hallway and accepting, Irvin said. entrance to the school. Instructor Kelli Irvin (above, “Everybody here has center) discusses a writing assignment with Tyler something they are dealing McNeill and Ciara Zumalt. Lincoln Academy coun- with,” she said, “so they are selor Susie Skaggs (left) receives a hug from very accepting of everybody Zumalt. Lincoln Academy students (below, from left) here.” Emerina Emerold, Cody Sellers and Mikel Rose, work Every year Lincoln sends on their senior portfolios with teacher Kent Chesser. a few of its graduates on to (Staff Photos by BONNIE VCULEK) college. “Probably not as high a around 10 to 14 students in each percentage as we’ve liked, but class. That is an advantage for both when you look at their economic teachers and pupils, Irvin said. background I’m surprised any of “I can help them more one on one them ever decide to go,” Chesser and address their different learning said. needs,” she “A lot of our graduating seniors said. “If they are the first ones to graduate from don’t get it I high school in their family,” said know they Irvin. don’t get it Each spring Lincoln recognizes usually right its graduates at Senior Appreciation off the bat, Night. and I can “It is just so neat to see those help them. I kids,” said Chesser, “and how can talk to many of them will say, ‘Man, I them and remember my junior high teachers explain it to told me I would never make it,’ but them in a dif- here I am walking cross the stage. ferent way.” “It hits them that night, that ‘I C h e s s e r have accomplished something that and Irvin everybody told me I couldn’t.’ That credit Hill- is one of the neatest feelings that man for cre- there is.” ating a re“We have a part where we have laxed yet organized atmosphere. senior speeches and a handful of “I don’t know how he does it, but them will get up and talk,” Irvin he does,” said Chesser. “He does a said. “There’s not a dry eye in the remarkable job recognizing the house.” needs the students have and then tryThere is a waiting list to get into ing to make sure that we meet those Lincoln, said Hillman. needs.” “A lot of people want to come to Lincoln, but we look for the ones Struggles abound who need to come here,” he said. Lincoln is open to students in Those needs are as varied as the students, he said, including stu- middle school through 12th grade.

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The kids need the knowledge, they need the facts, but they also need the skills to complement those.” Dallas Caldwell, headmaster at Oklahoma Bible Academy

Living in a

Oklahoma Bible Academy headmaster Dallas Caldwell (above) visits with Gage Hodgen and poses (left) inside the old school library Tuesday. His plan is to renovate the center of the school, which encompasses the library, and turn it into a media center along with providing books. (Staff Photos by BONNIE VCULEK)


OBA seeks to turn library into media center, incorporate digital technology By Robert Barron Staff Writer

Dallas Caldwell, headmaster at Oklahoma Bible Academy, stresses the importance of the digital age and preparing his students for it. “Textbooks and workbooks are good, and they will continue to be part of the curriculum, but students are getting information through Internet, cell phones. We are in the age of instant communication,” Caldwell said. Teaching kids to navigate those information sources is critical, he said. One problem concerns how teachers and staff are going to catch up with the students. Younger teachers already

have it, because it is a way of life for them as it is for the students. However, older teachers may have difficulty keeping up with technology. Today’s students have lived with technology all of their lives. They think it’s always been that way, Caldwell said. The school needs to teach those students how to manage that technology before it manages them. His plan is to renovate the center of the school, which encompasses the library, and turn it into a media center, complete with digital offerings as well as books. Caldwell said he wants to create a learning center, an environment that supports the kind of space the students need to prepare. The project will require extra fundraising, which already has begun. Caldwell said a silent campaign to start the project already has raised more than half the anticipated amount of $50,000. Currently the school has a good library space but does not have the type of technology and technical support Caldwell thinks is needed. OBA is a college preparatory school and must

provide the students with opportunities to navigate the same type of technology they will encounter in college, he said. Caldwell believes three things must be done: • Establish a hub to access information. • Provide the unique opportunity to build the whole person in a safe environment. • Create a comfortable, friendly place to collaborate conducive to relational work projects. A place kids want to go because it serves them well, he said. “The kids need the knowledge, they need the facts, but they also need the skills to complement those,” Caldwell said. The key is how the school goes about curriculum delivery. Caldwell said nothing magic will happen without a good teachers. “You can build the greatest gymnasium in the world, but unless you have a good coach and a good team ... (or) a state of the art media center, and an academic resource center.” That is what is needed to build students’ portfolios, Caldwell said, and a new center will be all about students learning.

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for FOUNDATION learning

Groups supplement funding to meet needs in classrooms By Bridget Nash Staff Writer

Public school foundations exist to assist schools with extra funding in the classroom.


to incorporate into their classrooms.” While the grants aim to enhance the classroom experience, Enid Public School Foundation’s teacher scholarships enhance the knowledge and ability of the educators by helping them further their own education. “I think the scholarships are important for the teachers to help them financially. More education for the teachers can always benefit the students of Enid

who have given back to Enid Public Schools.” Each spring, Enid Public School Foundation hosts The E’Vent, a fundraiser at Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center. “It showcases Enid school musical talents,” said Fields. Enid Public Schools’ musicians and groups such as choruses or jazz bands perform while patrons of the event pay $5

good to support and help us. We couldn’t do it without the community support,” said Fields.

Chisholm Chisholm Public Schools also has its own education foundation, the Chisholm Foundation. “We were formed to support Chisholm Public Schools,” said Ashley Ewbank, president of the foundation. Chisholm Foundation hosts one big fundraiser each year to raise funds for teacher grants and technology. The Big Night Out is a fundraiser that treats supporters to a silent auction, live auction and dinner. The fundraiser has proved successful. “In the fall we give about $5,000 to each school for technology needs,” said Ewbank. “In the spring we do teacher grants. We also work with the school on special projects that come up.” Chisholm Foundation’s endowment has grown to more than $25,000, ensuring the foundations continual funding endeavors. “We’re continuing to grow that (endowment) every year,” said Ewbank.

Enid Public School Foundation has been financially assisting Enid’s public schools since the 1980s. “Our mission is to provide support for public education,” said Jennifer Fields, executive director of Enid Public School Foundation. “What we mainly do is fundraise to fund our Grants for Teachers program and to fund teacher scholarships for those who want to further their endeavors.” Twice each year, Enid Public Schools’ teachers have the opportunity to apply for grants to fund projects or educational materials that will benefit students. An anonymous grant committee reviews the requests without knowledge of the names of the Pioneer-Pleasant Vale teachers who applied. The Pioneer-Pleasant Vale committee chooses which Academic Foundation hosts grants to fund based on project or materials requestseveral fundraisers each Glenwood Elementary School fifth-grade teacher Kitty Herbel reacts after receiving a grant from Enid Public School Foundation representative Jason year to fund teacher grants. ed. “Last semester we con- Turnbow. Enid, Chisholm and Pioneer-Pleasant Vale public schools all are beneficiaries of school foundation funds. (Staff File Photo by BILLY HEFTON) The foundation’s fundsidered 97 grants and we raisers include a duck selected 32 for funding, totaling over Public Schools,” Fields said for entertainment and a box dinner. derby, honor banquet, pumpkin selling, $12,000,” said Fields. Enid Public School Foundation hosts “Last year it was a huge success,” said paper airplane contest, local game con“The grants are important to the teach- two fundraising events each year. Fields. test and donor-seeking efforts. ers because they fund innovative and cre“In the fall we have the Hall of Fame Enid Public School Foundation also Funds raised by the foundation are ative projects for the classrooms. It’s Banquet where we induct two people hosts a sponsorship drive each fall. used to fund teacher grants for Pioneer“The community has always been so Pleasant Vale Public School teachers. additional materials that the teachers get from the Enid community or Enid alumni

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Monroe Elementary School principal Polly Maxwell (above) shows Brandon Smith the school’s sign-in procedure, which entails digital records (top right). Faculty, staff and volunteers can scan (right) for quick access. A colorful sign (left) greets visitors at Monroe Elementary School’s front entrance. (Staff Photos by BONNIE VCULEK)

officials work to make schools


Staff Writer

School security is a front-burner subject at schools in Oklahoma and nationwide in the wake of the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., that claimed the lives of 20 students and six adults. Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb formed the 23-member Oklahoma Commission on School Security to come up with ideas and recommendations to improve security at schools statewide. The commission, made up of law enforcement, school personnel, health care professionals and parents from across the state, will hold its final meeting Tuesday, ahead of the deadline for bills to be introduced in the Legislature. Lamb said the commission has listened to presentations from experts in their fields. “We’ve had a very thorough set of presenters,” Lamb said. Presentations are followed by small-group discussion. “Our goal is to come up with recommendations for the Legislature,” Lamb said. Lamb said the commission has come up with about 40 recommendations so far. Some of them include professional development for school staff regarding bullying, reinstating Oklahoma Safe Call Program, standardizing crisis plans, improving counseling quality and disciplinary records, creating regional school security assessment teams, securing entryways with bulletproof glass and providing security training by qualified law enforcement.

Enid Public Schools Shawn Hime, superintendent of Enid Public Schools, said the heart of school security is the on-site safe school committees that monitor the security of each building. “They know what’s best for their school site,” Hime said. Each and every door, both interi-

or and exterior, in Enid schools has a new lock mechanism as part of the districtwide renovation project, Hime said. Schools also have regular lockdown drills and have had law enforcement officials come perform drills as well. Hime said the district is looking forward to hearing the final recommendations of Oklahoma Commission on School Security. “Pending the outcome of Lt. Gov. Lamb’s committee, we are once again looking at our buildings, seeing what we can do to make our buildings safer,” Hime said. Hime noted students don’t learn well if they believe they are not safe at school. “The number one thing for an effective school is the students feeling safe and secure,” Hime said. “That’s what we are striving for is to get to that point.” Hime added anyone interested in school security can get involved in the issue. “I encourage anyone interested in this topic to talk to your child’s principal and volunteer to be part of the safe school committee,” Hime said. Another issue regarding school security is the availability of counseling services for students who need it, Hime said. “I think that’s a huge piece of this,” Hime said. “We not only have school counselors at every school site but we have an agreement with Youth and Family Services to provide help with any counseling our students need.”

Chisholm Public Schools Chisholm Public Schools Superintendent Roydon Tilley said the district has been reviewing all of its security processes to try to determine if there are weak links that need adjustment. “We tried to go about making a through evaluation of our processes and spent some money trying to

make some adjustments in our processes,” Tilley said. “I think that’s a continuing process.” Tilley said he also looks forward to seeing recommendations from Oklahoma Commission on School Security. “I trust Lt. Gov. Lamb,” Tilley said. “He’s got a great background and some great people on the committee to take a look at that and make recommendations.” Lamb is a former Secret Service officer.

Kremlin-Hillsdale Public Schools Jim Patton, superintendent at Kremlin-Hillsdale, said the district hopes to upgrade security by installing surveillance cameras throughout the elementary school and the parking lots. That hope hinges on a $200,000 multi-purpose bond issue on Tuesday’s ballot. The money would replace one school bus and one Suburban, projected at $130,000, and install security cameras and make needed repairs to lunchroom equipment for $70,000. The security cameras are projected to cost less than $20,000, Patton said. The bond issue, if passed, is expected to have no effect on property taxes. “We have 18 wind turbines coming on, and those will pay for the increase in taxes,” Patton said. “I think with the security upgrade, our principals, assistant principals, secretaries and superintendent will have eyes on the security cameras,” Patton said. Patton said the district has been reviewing all its security protocols — such as evacuation plans and lockdown — since the incident at Sandy Hook. The idea of installing security cameras had been discussed before, but the school board decided to proceed at the January meeting. “With the Sandy Hook event, it kind of drove the point home,” Patton said.


By Phyllis Zorn

Kremlin-Hillsdale also plans to have staff training on security as well as collaborate with law enforcement. “That’s going to make things way better,” Patton said.

Ringwood Public Schools Tom Deighan, superintendent of Ringwood Public Schools, said the school district has worked closely with Major County Sheriff’s Office to increase the presence of law enforcement at schools during the day and at special events such as ballgames. Doing so helped relieve parental concerns, Deighan noted. “This year we’ve done our intruder-on-campus emergency drills,” Deighan said. “We did one right after Sandy Hook.” Major County Sheriff Steve Randolph gave a presentation to the school board during the January meeting, Deighan said. “He gave us some recommendations,” Deighan said. “We’re looking at all sorts of options.” Deighan noted no amount of security measures and crisis preparation can prevent something from happening. “A determined person is a danger no matter how good our security is,” Deighan said. He said he’s noticed an uptick in people contacting the school with concerns about things that might be warning signs. He said someone like the Sandy Hook killer “are not normal people. They are not people we can think like — that’s the horrible reality that’s settling in on schools,” Deighan said. Ringwood school board is formulating its next bond proposal and, as part of that process, looking at what security needs should be included, Deighan said. “At some point every school system will have to decide how much will be taken out of the classroom for safety issues,” Deighan said.

Woodward Public Schools

Tim Merchant, superintendent at Woodward, said school safety is “a constantly evolving, constantly changing” issue. Merchant notes school security became a widespread public concern after the 1998 shooting at Westside Middle School, Jonesboro, Ark., and has remained so because of later shooting incidents at Columbine High School in 1999, Virginia Tech in 2007 and, now, Sandy Hook. “With each incident that has occurred you have a different scenario,” Merchant said. Woodward’s seven school campuses have run through extensive drills and had emergency service agencies come to the schools to run through intruder scenarios in the schools, Merchant said. “The thing we’ve learned through the process of these drills is every situation will be different,” Merchant said. “You can practice and practice on one scenario, but what we’re trying to train our teachers and staff is to think and make good decisions on the fly.” The reason for that is simple. “Whatever they are going to have to do, they’re going to have to decide on the fly,” Merchant said. Like Ringwood, Woodward is looking at how much money will be needed to upgrade security. “We’ve taken what security measures we can — and can afford — at this time,” Merchant said. “We’ve changed locks that need to be changed and added some security cameras. We’re in the planning stage for our next bond issue, and that will be part of the next bond issue.” Merchant noted making a building hard to get into means it is also hard to get out of, and that could be a problem in an emergency such as a fire.

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Enid, area schools offer strong religious-based education By Bridget Nash Staff Writer

Enid offers a variety of private Christian schools for parents seeking an alternative to the public school system. The area’s private Christian elementary school options include Emmanuel Christian School, St. Paul’s Lutheran School, St. Joseph’s Catholic School, Bethel Baptist Academy and Hillsdale Christian School, which is outside of Enid in Hillsdale.

Bethel Baptist Bethel Baptist Academy is a small school with 14 students in kindergarten through 12th grade this year. Bethel Baptist focuses strongly on academics. “We are finishing up our third nine weeks,” said Bethel Baptist Principal Wesley Byrd. “If we continue our trend, it will be our seventh nine weeks in a row where we’ve had 100 percent of our students on the honor roll.” Bethel Baptist Academy has been in operation for 36 years, and Byrd has been principal for 31 years. Byrd said the school’s methods are successful. “It’s working,” said Byrd. “We haven’t made any changes.” Bethel Baptist employs two teachers who work to fulfill the school’s motto: Training tomorrow’s leaders today.”

St. Paul’s Lutheran St. Paul’s Lutheran School is a Christian school for students in pre-kindergarten

through sixth grade. “You don’t have to be Lutheran,” said Lois Nichols, principal. St. Paul’s has 65 students this year and employs 11 teachers. The school has an all-day pre-kindergarten program and also boasts physical education classes five days a week for its students as well as music classes four days a week and library three days a week, Nichols said. “We have lots of wonderful things going on,” she said. “First of all we are growing, and that is wonderful.” In addition to growth and the pursuit of academic excellence, St. Paul’s will host summer classes this year. Nichols said there will be summer classes for students going into pre-kindergarten through first grade. These classes aim to help children prepare for the coming school year. Second- through sixthgrade students also will be able to enjoy summer classes at St. Paul’s this summer. These classes will include puppetry, pottery and gymnastics. Nichols said anyone interested in having a child attend St. Paul’s Lutheran is welcome to visit the school. “I would just encourage them to call or visit. Stop in, check us out. I’ll take anybody on a tour,” said Nichols.

Emmanuel Christian Emmanuel Christian School has been a fixture in Enid since 1981 and offers a Christian education for stu-

dents in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. “The primary mission at ECS is to prepare students for life by teaching a Biblical world view, which emphasizes character development and academic excellence to

Miceala Stevenson (left) pauses to pray during lunch at St. Paul’s Lutheran School. Hillsdale Christian School students (above) Brooklyn Phillips, Landon Schultz, Adi Betz and Daniel Voth, arrange newspapers at Hope Outreach. (Staff Photos by BONNIE VCULEK)

the glory of God,” said Cathy Epps, headmaster. Emmanuel Christian School’s curriculum includes physical education, art, computer classes and music, both vocal and instrumental. “Standardized test results each year bear witness to our strong academic standards,” said Epps. Emmanuel also focuses on teaching servitude, Epps said. “At ECS we encourage service projects within our community,” she said. “Several classes visit and perform at local nursing facilities, one serves lunch at Our Daily Bread, two classes offer “Thank You” treats to our community employees each

year and the others deliver Meals on Wheels each month. We also raise money for mission projects .... Serving others is important to the mission of ECS.” Emmanuel Christian is the largest Christian elementary school in the area and offers tours for interested families. The school is accepting applications for the 2013-14 year.

St. Joseph’s Catholic St. Joseph’s Catholic School first opened in Enid in 1904 and maintained its presence until 1975. The school re-opened in 2001 and continues to provide Catholic education to pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade students.

St. Joseph’s academic program includes art, physical education, religion and spirituality, vocal music and band. “St. Joseph’s Catholic School is preparing for the 2013-2014 school year and the school invites your family to be a part of it,” said Wade Laffey, St. Joseph’s principal of the school, which is accredited by Oklahoma State Department of Education." He said each classroom is equipped with an Intelliboard, and the school has an upgraded computer lab. Families interested in St. Joseph’s may visit the school and pick up an enrollment packet or contact the school via phone or Internet.

“Tuition at St. Joseph’s Catholic School is affordable, features limited class sizes, and the school offers an afterschool program for working families,” said Laffey. A public open house is set at April 18.

Hillsdale Christian Hillsdale Christian School is a private Christian school for pre-kindergarten through sixth-grade students. The school is in Hillsdale, about 20 miles northwest of Enid. Hillsdale offers an academic team, math olympics, spelling bees, science fairs, speech meets, basketball, cheerleading, track and music.

Page 10

Sunday, March 3, 2013


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Enid News & Eagle


Cutting-edge library has a lot to offer, from digital loans to computer classes By Cass Rains Staff Writer

The Public Library of Enid and Garfield County is asking for a second chance. Major changes have been made over the past few years. City and county residents are encouraged to stop by their library and take advantage of all the services — new and old — it provides. “If you haven’t been in your public library recently give it a whirl,” library director Michelle Mears said. “You might be surprised.” Mears and Jade Powell, supervisory librarian of public services, said the library is among the most cutting edge facilities in the state and offers services comparable to libraries in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. “We’ve taken a new approach to the library,” Powell said. “We have the bookstore feel.” Mears said the library is using social media, like Facebook, to reach younger people. An Italian greyhound named Diva also visits, in different outfits, so children can read to her. “She’s a therapy dog,” Mears said. “She comes in, and the children read to her.”

Virtual library With tablets and eReaders, the library also has embraced digital technology and lending. “Many people don’t realize we have downloadable eBooks and audiobooks available through our virtual library,” Mears said. “They can get a lot of books for free through us. We’re really trying to promote that.” The library is part of OK Virtual Library, a consortium of 44 libraries that work together to provide a larger number of titles and content through its members. “It’s one of the first sort of joint collection development projects that public libraries

have done,” Mears said. “It allows us to pool our resources and provide so many titles free to people. “It’s a really exciting development of us to be able to join with other libraries.” Those with a library card can access content through the library’s website, including tutoring programs, online news stories, an encyclopedia, ancestry software, foreign language programs and a sign language program. It also has an ancestry program, Transparent Languages. “A lot of people don’t know we have it here,” Powell said of Transparent Languages. “That’s what we’re trying to convey to a lot of people.”

Open this gift Mears and Powell said the library offers services and programs people may not realize are available to them. “It’s sort of like a present waiting to be opened,” Mears said. “We’re trying to get the people in the door to open the present. The library is still relevant as a place.” The library continues to offer educational opportunities. Last month, a pre-driving class was offered for teens and parents. An Oklahoma Highway Patrol representative was there, as well as someone from the insurance industry, to answer questions and cover common questions for new drivers. “We got all this information together for them,” Mears said. “We had about 30 to 40 parents and kids who showed up for that workshop.” “Right now we have several classes going on,” Powell said. “We’ve got a several for Computing for Seniors. We teach them how to use a computer, how to use a mouse and how to email and use Facebook.” She said one woman who

Saige Rodgers (top) snuggles with stuffed animals as her mom, Chantell Tiatrakul, reads at Public Library of Enid and Garfield County. Gregory Goodman and Bobby

attended the class carried her laptop in the box it came in from the store. “I’ve had grandmas come in with iPads, and they’re not even set up,” Powell said. “She did several classes, and she ended up on Facebook.” Mears said a lot of seniors want to learn how to use computers but are afraid it will be too difficult. “Once you get them started they take off,” she said. “We’re already booking for March,” Powell said of the classes. “We’re going to have to do it again.”

No fine is just fine Mears said the library saw a “lull” in patronage from the ’80s and ’90s, and the library is trying to rebuild from that down period. “There’s no budget for PR and promotion. It’s really word of mouth,” Mears said. “They might tell a few people, but they’re not really fans like ‘You’ve got to hear about this.’ We’re just trying to get people excited about it.” Powell said the library does anything it can to reach people and make an impact. “We’re very cutting edge for the state of Oklahoma,” she said. The library offers sensory integration with certain books. Some might feature a stuffed animal or character from a book. “You can connect words, learning and literacy to the sense of touch and feel,”

Powell said. “You’ve got to combine the senses in the learning process.” Enid High School’s special education class visits the library to play Nintendo Wii. “It’s an opportunity for them to come out to the library,” Powell said. “It’s socialization. It’s still cognitive learning.” Another change that often catches people off guard is the library’s lack of

Oakes (above left) relax near a virtual fireplace, as others (above right) crochet, read, work on computers and check out books. (Staff Photo by BONNIE VCULEK)

late fees for overdue books. “A lot of libraries still ask us ‘How you do pull off this no overdue fine?’” Powell said. “We get our books back. When you don’t charge people for overdue fines they bring your books back.” She said if a book is past due more than 35 days a replacement fine could be imposed. “Everything we do is cen-

tered around education and learning,” Mears said. “We’re always looking for that next thing. Our community deserves more.” “We’re constantly looking at expanding and extending our services,” Powell said. To see what’s going on at the library and to take advantage of services go to www. or

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Page 11


putting it to the

Major changes coming to Carver Center’s GED program By Robert Barron Staff Writer

GED testing is getting ready to undergo massive changes, which some say will make it easier but others aren’t so sure. Clayton Nolen, director of General Educational Development testing in Enid, said the current test consists of multiple choice questions plus an essay. The new system is mandated from Washington, D.C., Nolen said.

Change is coming Starting in 2014 the test will be computer-based, and those taking the test will have to be familiar with some computer terms. The test also will no longer be administered through Oklahoma State Department of Education but by Pearson Vue, the company that writes the test. Applications must be made to the company. Enid Public Schools has applied to the company to administer the test. The next phase will be to send photos of the testing room, including a separate reception room, and take an administrator’s test. Nolen is working to arrange a room to house five computers, plus a reception room. Those will be different rooms than those currently used at Carver Center, the Enid testing site. The testing room also will

have some security equipment, such as monitors and cameras, he said. “It must be highly secure. We have the rest of the year to do it,” Nolen said.

Throw away No. 2 Beginning in 2014, pencil and paper tests are no longer admissible. Cost of the testing also will rise from $75 to $120, he said. Some testing sites will no longer administer the tests due to the changes, but Nolen said Enid officials believe it is important they continue to provide that service. There are few other testing sites in northwest Oklahoma. Nolen said there has been interest in Enid’s site from as far as Guymon. “We feel it is beneficial to continue Enid as a testing site,” Nolen said. The closest sites to Enid are Ponca City, Weatherford and Tulsa Union schools. The new test will include learning computer terms like hot spot, drop and drag and others. Teachers will work with the academics, plus explain the terms, he said. Tests reportedly will be shorter in duration than the current seven hours and 35 minutes. There currently are five tests, including writing and reading. The new test will include comprehension and writing. Now the student must write between 200 and 400

words to pass, but the new test will require 450 to 900 words. Nolen said he is encouraging those who have taken the test and need a few points to pass to take it again before the first of the year. In 2014 all previous scores will be erased and those who have not completed must start over again. “Some say they love it and

Beth Kelly (above) answers a question for one of her mathematics students during a GED class at Carver Center. Carver Adult Education instructor Varna Nolan (left) passes out pre-testing booklets to students. (Staff Photos by BONNIE VCULEK)

A real diploma some say it is a nightmare,” Nolen said. Those taking the test must be technologically savvy. One positive note is the new tests may be more flexible with times. However, they are very controlled, and at the end of the testing time the computer will shut down. Another major difference is new test only provides one score, which cannot be lower than 450 to pass. There currently are three scores showing academics, career readiness and post secondary, if the student wants to attend college.

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Students will no longer receive a GED certificate but a high school diploma. The method of payment also will change, and checks or cash will no longer be accepted. Those wishing to take the test must purchase a voucher. Some of those taking the test receive funds from the Department of Human Services, which asks to be billed. That can no longer be done, DHS must purchase vouchers to be used. Nolen said he is concerned how to accommodate people with disabilities using the new

system. The school district will receive a very small percentage of the $120 fee for the tests, he said. Currently the student knows his score before leaving the testing center, but with the new system all scores will be graded by a scoring engine and double-checked by a person, he said. Nolen said the Carver Center will notify testers of their scores at a later date.

Seeing success Nolen said reports from the company say the success rates are very high. Nolen travelled to Ponca

City to visit the testing center there, where the new tests already are being used. Carver Center averages between 130 and 150 who annually who take the GED test. Nolen said it averages to about five people a week. The Carver Center also administers a shorter version of the GED to students for $10 on Friday morning, by appointment. That helps the students understand how prepared they are for taking the test. “We do as much as possible,” Nolen said.

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Enid News & Eagle

MATH , SCIENCE down to an art... OSSM pupils at Enid get best of both worlds: in-depth study and a high school experience By Jeff Mullin Senior Writer

Groups of students pore over physics and calculus problems at tables on one side of the room, while on the other side more students, huddling around an exotic-looking device known as a Vernier Dynamics System, study the properties of velocity and acceleration. Such is a typical day in the classroom at the Enid branch of Oklahoma School for Science and Mathematics, housed in Autry Technology Center, where students from throughout Autry Tech’s district come together to study advanced placement calculus and physics.

(Jantz) takes so much time to help you with questions, and he’s really good about explaining it. Mr. Jantz is a really good teacher, so you learn a lot in a really short period of time.” Jantz also gives the students examples of practical applications of the theories they study in his classes.

There are 11 students in the morning OSSM class and 12 in the afternoon session, a ratio that allows for more one-on-one time between teacher and student, Cromwell said. And the length of the classes is important, too, he added. “You definitely need a lot of time,” Cromwell said. “A 50minute high school class period would not be enough to really understand it.” The physics and calculus

would be nothing even close to what we’re getting here,” Cromwell said. Having the OSSM regional center here allows students the opportunity to study higher math without giving up their high school experience. “It’s really nice to be here because you can still go to school and be with teachers you know and see your friends and everything,” Gassner said about the program, “but you still get to

Motivated for success

Jantz has been with the Enid OSSM branch since it opened. Having to teach both physics and calculus keeps him hopping, he said. “It’s getting tougher because of the one-teacher thing,” he said. “I’ve got students in front of me six hours a day and not near as much time to prepare.” But despite the obstacles, he still enjoys his job. “You are putting the best of

Regional center OSSM’s main campus, a twoyear residential school in Oklahoma City, graduated its first class in 1992. In 1999, the state Legislature passed H.B.1510, establishing 16 regional centers across the state to enable gifted students to receive additional math instruction without having to leave home or their high school friends and activities. Enid’s OSSM regional center was the fifth to open. Students are transported to Autry for morning or afternoon classes, then return to their high schools. The program has included students from outside Garfield County, but they must provide their own transportation. Students spend about 75 minutes a day studying calculus and 75 studying physics, said Mike Jantz, the lone teacher at Enid’s OSSM branch. OSSM’s classes are filled through a process that begins each spring, when prospective students submit application packages that include recommendations from their math and science teachers as well as their principal or counselor. Most students who apply are going into their junior or senior years of high school. A representative of every district that sends students to Autry Tech meets and interviews each applicant. Students are assessed for scientific interest and aptitude, motivation, self-discipline, personal maturity and overall potential. Students also must take an aptitude test. The panel of school officials then selects the next year’s class, about half of which comes from Enid High School.

Student experience The opportunity to spend time focusing on higher math is one reason Jordan Cromwell, a senior at EHS, has enjoyed his time at OSSM. “It’s the learning environment,” said Cromwell. “He

Students (above) in the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics program at the Enid branch campus, at Autry Technology Center, record momentum and velocity of moving objects during an experiment. Claire Brainard (left), a junior at Oklahoma Bible Academy, demonstrates an experiment with OSSM classmates Jerald Gassner, a Hennessey senior, and Jordan Cromwell, an Enid High School senior. (Staff Photos by BILLY HEFTON)

“Instead of just saying how you will use it, he actually shows you,” said Jerald Gassner, a senior at Hennessey High School. Classes at OSSM allow students to delve deep into calculus and physics, said Oklahoma Bible Academy junior Claire Brainard. “With math, I like to know how and why it works that way,” she said, “and he (Jantz) is willing to explain it to me and not get frustrated.”

classes dovetail nicely, the students said. “It’s nice that our physics is calculus-based,” said Brainard, “if we hadn’t learned calculus before, our physics would be a lot harder.” OSSM offers the students the chance to study physics and calculus in much greater depth than they can in their home high schools. “Without this class there

come here and you get that experience of that advanced subject matter.” OSSM requires a higher level of concentration than other classes, the students said. “Your focus level, when you enter here, as compared to normal school, really increases,” said Cromwell. “The difference between this class and a normal high school class is significant.” “In some high school classes you can actually stop paying attention and still kind of understand what’s going on,” said Gassner. “Here you can’t do that.” Gassner has his sights set on an architecture degree, while Cromwell has plans to study aerospace engineering and Brainard is an aspiring anthropologist. “It (OSSM) gives you a little hint of what college is going to be like,” said Cromwell. “It’s a whole new world from what high school has been.”

each school together, and they motivate each other,” he said. “They’re all motivated to some degree to have some success.” The rigorous curriculum at OSSM helps forge a bond among the students, Jantz said. “When you make it through something a little more rigorous, you bond a little bit,” he said. “You’ve been through hell and back, you’ve got each other’s back. It’s kind of neat to see the friendships they build from different schools.” One of Jantz’ students from last year, Enid High senior Holly Stuart, recently received a Siemens Award for Advanced Placement. She took Calculus BC and Physics C Mechanics as a junior at OSSM. The award brings with it a $2,000 scholarship. Jantz has been selected as one of about 800 college and high school instructors who will grade the AP Calculus BC exam this summer in Kansas City.

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Page 13

ALL-STATE efforts at Pioneer

Denker, one of 100 scholars named in state, credits his success to a well-rounded lifestyle By Cass Rains Staff Writer

Pioneer High School’s Nicholas Denker has been named one of 100 Oklahoma Academic All-State Scholars for 2013. Since the program began 1987, some 2,600 high schools seniors from 309 school districts have been named All-State scholars by Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence. Denker is the seventh to be named from Pioneer-Pleasant Vale Public Schools. “The award he’s won, there’s only 100 per year in the state of Oklahoma,” Pioneer Principal Tom Betchan said. “The qualifications or requirements that he had to go through to receive this, they speak for themselves.” In 1985, while serving Oklahoma as a U.S. senator, David L. Boren brought together a group of Oklahoma business and community leaders with the common goal of improving public education in the state. All agreed that private investment was crucial to the success of public schools in Oklahoma. The result was the formation of Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, which, Boren says, “sends a message — strong and clear — that we in Oklahoma value great educators and outstanding students.”

Well-rounded student To qualify, students must be proven leaders within their schools, have scored a 30 or better

on their ACTs, present two letters of recommendation, provide a list of their academic achievements and write a 500-word essay. Each year the foundation honors outstanding students like Denker. His principal said the award is not only a reflection upon Denker but the district as well. “Nicholas has scored a 32 on his ACT. He’s the top of his class. He’s going to graduate valedictorian,” Betchan said. “Not only is it an honor for Nicholas it’s an honor of the hard work put in by those who gave Nicholas his education as well.” For Denker, he felt he may have had an inside track into receiving his award — his sister Hannah received it in 2007. “I felt like I had a fairly good shot. I know I met the academic qualifications,” he said. “Just being involved in 4-H I do a lot of community service. With my sister getting it I felt like I had a pretty good shot at it.” Denker serves as president of his local 4-H club, Beta Club and his student class. He also plays football, baseball and basketball. He said he’s a regular teenager who enjoys hanging out with friends. His routine focuses mostly on school and his future plans. “Weekdays I wake up, come to school and go to basketball practice. Usually, I go home weeknights and work on some scholarship applications,” Denker said. “Most Saturdays I have to help my dad on the farm — fixing fences and helping with the cattle.”

Like other family members, Denker plans on attending Oklahoma State University after graduation. “I’m thinking about majoring in history,” he said, “I’m still considering maybe going to law school. I don’t know.” Denker was quick to credit his school for his success and also said his parents played a role in his academic success. “They always really encouraged me to read books. They were always helping me with my homework,” he said. “They want me to be well-rounded, as well. It’s really helped out. They always wanted me to do well.” He said one thing he wanted people to know about him is that he’s not just about academics. “I also really like sports. It’s a very big part of my life.”

“We’re proud of all our children,” Randy said. “We’ve encouraged them all to do their best.” Pam said the family always has placed importance on education and encouraged all of their three children to do well in school. “They loved to read, and I think that helped them a lot,” she said. “They do a good job, and they’re just well-rounded. They

Pam Denker also credited the Pioneer-Pleasant Vale schools for her children’s success. Pioneer High School had an Academic All-State Scholar last year, too. It’s something Betchan would like to see continue. “We’ve got a good tradition going,” he said. “We’re going to try and make it a yearly tradition.

Begins at home Credit for Denker’s success should be shared with his Nicholas Denker (above) is one of 100 Oklahoma Academic All-State Scholars for 2013. (Staff Photo by BILLY HEFTON) parents, Randy and Pioneer High School’s Denker (top) competes in a game against Pond Creek-Hunter. (Staff Photo by BONNIE VCULEK) Pam, Betchan said. “To get this award you have to like sports, too. They give a lot of “To me, it speaks volumes for have strong parental support. effort in the things they partici- the whole district,” he said “You That’s one thing we take pride in pate in.” can trace this all the way back to here,” he said. “We’ve got such She said seeing his sister earn grade school and the work a lot of strong family core values (that) it the award may have inspired people put into this.” bleeds over into the education sys- Nicholas to achieve the same goal. Nicholas will be awarded a tem, and we’re able to have fine, “He got to see that. That could $1,000 scholarship and be honyoung individuals like Nicholas.” have encouraged him,” she said. ored as an Academic All-State Pam and Randy Denker said “That it was possible if he kept Senior at a banquet May 18 at Cox they were proud of their son and working. They’re pretty competi- Convention Center in Oklahoma what he’s achieved. tive.” City.

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COLLEGE experience

NOC Enid: School, city combine for the perfect college experience By James Neal

tionships and friendships.” Plans also are in the works to expand the college’s intramural sports program, student clubs and campus music program. Shidemantle also hopes to soon create a campus ministry program to offer on-campus fellowship and spiritual support. “There’s a lot of little things we’re working on to improve our

The long-term plans for NOC Enid and its students go beyond creating new clubs and social events, and reflect a growing If you ask Ronald move among colleges back to a Shidemantle, there just isn’t a more traditional focus on residenbetter life than campus life, and tial campus life. there isn’t a better campus town Shidemantle said colleges for a two-year college than Enid. across the nation are putting a Shidemantle came to Enid four renewed emphasis on campus life months ago to take over as dean and on-campus housing. of students at Northern Oklahoma “A lot of our peer institutions College Enid campus, have already built new resithe latest stop in his dence halls,” Shidemantle said. career in college admin“You would be amazed at how istration. many colleges and universities Shidemantle said his are building new residence passion for college halls. All of the data administration, and for shows it to be an campus activities, began increasingly important during his own under“When you’re looking at college towns, factor in students’ decigraduate days at Slipsion-making process. pery Rock University in if you look at the peer institutions we It has become a huge Slippery Rock, Penn. compete against, we win hands down. factor in the competi“I never wanted to One of the main thrusts I plan to have tive world of higher leave college life, and I during my time here is to demonstrate in a very education.” was trying to find a way real way that Enid very much complements the He said NOC to not leave campus life college experience.” Board of Regents curafter graduation,” Shiderently is exploring mantle said. Ronald Shidemantle, options for building a One of his mentors dean of students at Northern Oklahoma College Enid new residence hall on suggested he pursue a the Enid campus to career in college adminoffer more living istration, and Shidemantle took the advice and com- students’ out-of-classroom expe- space and maximize students’ opportunities for on-campus, outpleted a master’s degree in higher rience,” Shidemantle said. Part of strengthening commu- of-classroom learning. education administration at nity and campus pride in NOC But, the benefits of attending Slippery Rock. Since then, he has served as lies in promoting the history of NOC Enid don’t stop at the camdirector of residents’ life at Robert Morris University; director of fraternity and sorority life at Virginia Tech; and director of Greek life at Duquesne University. Shidemantle said his initial interest in campus administration, and the passion that has kept him advancing in his career, is rooted in the conviction that “some of the most important learning is done outside the classroom.” He said his role as dean of students is to foster programs that help students grow and learn in “out-of-classroom” subjects such as leadership, interpersonal relationship skills and community service. “The things you learn outside the classroom are often equally valuable, if not more valuable, than the classroom experience,” Shidemantle said. He said learning abstract skills like leadership and interpersonal communications requires students have exposure to and interaction with other students. “Oftentimes, students come to college without friends, and without a support group,” Shide- Phillips University, the school pus boundaries, Shidemantle mantle said, “and we’re trying to that created the campus where said. He said Enid is “pound for foster an environment conducive NOC now stands, Shidemantle said. Phillips closed in the late- pound, one of the most underratto building those relationships.” ed college communities in Shidemantle said creating new 1990s. “We consider Phillips alumni America.” and strengthening existing organ“When you’re looking at colizations and events will be a pri- part of our alumni,” he said. “They’re an integral part of our lege towns, if you look at the peer ority for his office. He said social events, like the community, and we want them to institutions we compete against, win hands down,” recent Valentine’s Day dance, be as involved in our campus life we build pride in the campus and as they want to be. We want to see Shidemantle said. “One of the main thrusts I plan to have during “help students build social rela- that partnership grow.”

Staff Writer

Northern Oklahoma College Enid is putting a priority on creating new and strengthening existing organizations and events that add to the college experience. (Staff Photos by BONNIE VCULEK)

my time here is to demonstrate in a very real way that Enid very much complements the college experience.” He said Enid offers more amenities and a safer, more welcoming environment than most two-year college towns. Many two-year colleges are located either in urban centers or in small rural communities, with few activities or amenities for college

students, Shidemantle said. He said many college students, both at two- and four-year colleges, do not have access to the shopping, dining, leisure and recreation resources available in Enid. As an example, Shidemantle pointed to the reaction of the Slippery Rock campus when a new McDonald’s opened during his undergraduate days. “That was such a big deal, we actually had a parade,” Shidemantle said. “There are a lot of college towns like that. Enid has become a great, thriving city, and for us to be right here in the midst of it is great for our students.” He said Enid’s transit system makes it easy for students to get around, and the proposed parks plan would add “exciting opportunities” for student recreation. “I would say, as far as the junior colleges go, we’ve got it all,” Shidemantle said. “If I were a 17year-old and looking for a junior college in Oklahoma, hands down, I’d come to Enid. You just couldn’t have a better college town in Oklahoma for a two-year college.” For more information on student activities at the NOC Enid campus, go to

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Northwestern offering continuing education, new master’s degree By James Neal Staff Writer

Northwestern Oklahoma State University is expanding its avenues to higher education, giving residents of Enid and surrounding areas more opportunities to pursue not only undergraduate degrees but master’s degrees as well. Wayne McMillan, dean of NWOSU-Enid, said the university has been expanding programs designed to help students with two-year or unfinished degrees earn bachelor’s degree; programs designed to allow working professionals to earn advanced certification; and some new graduate programs. McMillan said the NWOSUEnid campus recently was recognized with several national accreditations. The campus recently renewed its national accreditation in education and social work and the business division received accreditation last year. McMillan said the national accreditation reflects the university’s dedication to providing a local education that measures up to national standards. “It is a measure of quality,” McMillan said. “It shows your program meets the standards recognized across the nation for universities in their respective fields.” NWOSU recently expanded its nursing program with the addition

of online courses to give associate-level nurses the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree. “That’s on top of our already really successful nursing program,” McMillan said. He said NWOSU’s nursing students have a “wildly successful pass rate for the exams,” and the online bachelor’s program will help train nurses to assume higherlevel administrative positions in the healthcare field.

Reaching higher McMillan said NWOSU’s Reach Higher program also continues to help working adults complete a bachelor’s degree. Reach Higher is a degree-completion program that allows students coming in with 72 or more credit hours to apply those hours toward finishing a degree. NWOSU also offers its Bridge Program, which allows students earning associate’s degrees from neighboring Northern Oklahoma College to complete a bachelor’s degree at NWOSU. McMillan said the Bridge Program is “a very unique opportunity for students in our community ... to have a seamless transition between NOC and Northwestern.”

Offering in humanities NWOSU also is expanding its graduate programs into the humanities, with the addition this fall of a master of arts in American studies. Shawn Holliday, associate dean of graduate studies at NWOSU, said the university currently offers master’s degrees in education and through its counseling psychology

Northwestern Oklahoma State University Enid (top left) is expanding programs. Dr. Wayne McMillan (top right), dean of Northwestern-Enid, addresses guests during the Leadership Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs. Students at Northwestern Oklahoma State University Enid (middle right and above) enjoy a working lunch break. (Staff Photos by BONNIE VCULEK)

program for licensed professional counselors and licensed alcohol and drug counselors. Holliday said the master’s degree in American studies is being added to offer a graduate program for undergraduates in humanities. “One of the reasons I started this program is because we had no graduate degree programs in the humanities or social sciences,” Holliday said. “We felt it was important to address the needs of students who have undergraduate degrees in history or the humanities, so they can earn a master’s degree here in the northwest part of the state.” Holliday said a graduate degree in the humanities could be useful

for students interested in going into government work, public administration, museum administration or law school and for students interested in a doctoral program at another university. The American studies master’s degree came out of a blend of student requests and available resources at NWOSU. “We conducted a needs survey of undergraduate students, asking them what kind of graduate degree program they’d like to see added,” Holliday said. “A lot of them said they’d like to see history, political science or English.” Holliday said American studies was selected because it is an interdisciplinary field, and NWOSU already had the faculty and most

of the curriculum in place to support its addition. According to the NWOSU website, American studies curriculum draws on a variety of fields, including agriculture, English, history, political science, sociology, mass communication and education “to foster a holistic understanding of the historical, social, and cultural underpinnings of the American experience.” Holliday said the graduate program draws from already exisiting undergraduate classes, as well as new internships, presentations by subject matter experts and an introduction to an American studies course. “With this interdisciplinary approach, students will be exposed to a lot of different fields, and different viewpoints on how American culture influences northwest Oklahoma and how northwest Oklahoma influences the United States,” Holliday said. A leadership course will be required for all American studies graduate students, a requirement that Holliday said is “designed to help build leaders for northwest Oklahoma and the United States.” Graduate students in American studies also will be able to pursue up to six hours of credit in internships. Holliday said he was expecting to enroll about five students in the program for the fall 2013 semester, but nine have expressed interest in the program, including one from Washington. NWOSU currently is raising funds toward an American studies internship program. Funds are being collected through the Northwestern Foundation and NWOSU Alumni Association.

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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Enid News & Eagle

Education 2013  

Education edition of annual Progress section

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