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OUR SCHOOLS October 2016 | Volume 36 Issue 2


Buddy Baseball celebrates 10 years of homeruns and happy faces. Pages 8-9


Pages 6-7

LETTER FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT At the annual Back To School Rally in August, our employees watched a video in which Jenks students shared their thoughts on the meaning of being a Trojan. It was an opportunity for all of us – teachers, administrators, and staff members – to think about what binds us together. We are all Trojans. From the elementary classrooms to the halls of the High School, and from the science labs to the athletic fields, we all aspire to achieve excellence. As you read the following pages, you will see one example after another of how our students and employees exemplify core Trojan values like compassion, courage, integrity, respect, and tolerance. When I witness events like Buddy Baseball or I hear a story of a teacher protecting a student, I am reminded of how the character of our people continues to set Jenks Public Schools apart and set the standard for what it truly means to be a Trojan. As we continue through this school year, I hope you will take to heart the message of a recent campaign initiated by our JHS Student Council leaders. They reminded the student body that what unifies us is far more powerful than what divides us. In other words, we are ALL Trojans. Thank you for the role you play in serving our schools and our community, and thank you for continuing to support our students. Go Trojans! Sincerely,

Stacey M. Butterfield Ed.D. Superintendent of Jenks Public Schools

What does it mean to be a Trojan? Share your thoughts using #beatrojan. Leave a comment, post a tweet (@jenksps) or drop a photo on Instagram (@jenksps) and remember to use #beatrojan. We’re proud of our identity, our community, and our tradition of excellence!



Jenks Southeast Elementary is celebrating its 25th anniversary!

Janet Miller and Dr. Kirby Lehman

Opened in 1991 with Janet Miller presiding as Site Principal, Southeast started with an enrollment of 450 students from kindergarten through 5th grade. Kindergarten teacher Andrea Davis, Gifted Coordinator Wanda Gooden, and Media Specialist Gay Sanwick started at the site when it opened, and all three staff members are still serving Southeast students 25 years later! Today, Southeast Elementary educates 881 students (PreK-4th grade) and employs 67 dedicated teachers and staff members under the supervision of Site Principal, Lindy Risenhoover. Happy Anniversary Southeast Trojans!

Wanda Gooden, Gay Sanwick, and Andrea Davis

NATIONAL MERIT SEMIFINALISTS The nationwide pool of National Merit Semifinalists represents the top 1 percent of all high school seniors, and 20 students from Jenks High School are among the 16,000 names on the prestigious list. Jenks is one of four high schools in Oklahoma with 10 or more semifinalists and one of only two high schools in the state to have 20 students qualify.






















Of the 1.6 million students that take the PSAT, only the top 50,000 (just over 3 percent) are recognized. The top 16,000 students are selected as National Merit Semifinalists and the other 34,000 are recognized as Commended Students. In addition to 20 National Merit Semifinalists, the following nine students from Jenks High School were noted as Commended Students. AUDREY ADIB-YAZDI MORGAN ALLISON MELEAH FAIN ZACHARY HAMPTON EVAN HINTON


ONCE A TROJAN, ALWAYS A TROJAN! We want to know what you have been doing since graduation! Visit to get connected and share the exciting moments that have happened in your life! Don’t forget to check our Social Media and Website for Where Are They Now? - Q&A’s With Notable Jenks Grads


Teacher’s quick response potentially saves student’s life Marla Cole didn’t see the knife. All she heard was her name. “Mrs. Cole! Mrs. Cole!” As the Food Prep and Nutrition teacher whipped around to face the noise, she saw a crimson pool forming on the floor. Her eyes rapidly scanned upward to a gaping gash in the arm of Cameron Edwards and a look of panic on the face of her senior student. Moments earlier, Edwards was attempting to cut a zip-tie off a set of oven racks. Instead of grabbing scissors, Edwards reached for a knife. As she applied force, the knife slipped and plunged into her forearm. A routine task turned into a lifethreatening scenario in the blink of an eye. Cole sprang into action. “I was there in probably half a second,” Cole recalls. “I took two big steps and I clamped down on her arm with my hands to apply as much pressure as I could. It was spurting blood so I knew she had hit an artery. I knew it was bad but I also knew I had to keep Cameron calm.” While squeezing the wound, Cole’s mind raced. She directed Lydia Hashemi, Edwards’ close friend and food group partner, to alert Becky Rampey, the teacher in the classroom across the hall. Rampey called for help for while Cole and Edwards held on to each other. “Mrs. Cole did a good job of keeping my mind off of what was happening,” said Edwards. “At first, I cried because of all the blood, but she comforted me. She even tried to distract me by telling me my nails looked good.” Paramedics rushed Edwards to the hospital where the gravity of the accident began to sink in. “They told me with a cut that deep, I could have

bled out in one minute,” Edwards remembered. “They said Mrs. Cole’s reaction might have saved my life.” Doctors burned Edwards’ artery back together and used 39 stitches – 14 in the muscle, 25 in the skin – to close the cut and repair her mangled arm. Edwards is lucky. She didn’t sever tendons or suffer nerve damage. Her arm will make a full recovery, and the relationship with her teacher will never be the same. “After something like that, we are woven into the tapestry of each other’s lives,” said Cole with a smile. “I better get an invitation to her wedding.” “I think her mom instincts definitely kicked in,” laughed Edwards. “She tells us all we’re her kids and she’ll do anything to protect us. That’s exactly what she did for me.” For her role in preventing a possible tragedy, Cole was recently honored by EMSA with an “Everyday Hero” award. Hashemi, Rampey, and several Jenks’ staff members were also recognized for playing a part in clearing the scene and getting help to Edwards as quickly as possible. Cole isn’t comfortable with the recognition or the “hero” label, she’s simply grateful she was there and Edwards is still here. “It’s hard to consider myself a hero because I did blame myself that it happened in my classroom,” Cole said. “I don’t like to think about what might have happened. I’m just glad I was able to help Cameron and that I still get to see her in my class every day.” “I know she doesn’t like the spotlight, but I think she is a hero,” stated Edwards. “I think I’m here today because of what she did and I’m very blessed to have her as my teacher.”


10 years of forming friendships on the diamond “Is it OK if I ask you a few questions?” the reporter said to Ellie Burgess. The Jenks High School senior flashed an ear-toear grin and replied, “Yeah, I’m famous.” On an afternoon at Hinch Field awash in sunshine and kindness, Ellie was one of 19 special needs students to soak up the spotlight in the 10th annual Buddy Baseball game. Most kids like Ellie never get to experience the roar of the crowd or the rush of crossing home plate, but for one day each year, she is a shortstop, a homerun hitter, and a superstar. With help from The Autism Center of Tulsa, Jenks baseball players were paired with students or “buddies” for a day framed in high-fives and acceptance. The game, now a decade-long tradition for the Jenks baseball program, is the highlight of the year for players on both sides. “The most enjoyable part for me is seeing the smiles on those faces and building relationships with our buddies year after year,” said Grant Ketchel, a senior first baseman and pitcher on the Trojans’ varsity squad. “It’s a great reminder for us not to take playing this game for granted, and it’s special to be able to help them experience something they’ve never done before.” “It’s awesome, I’d love to see Buddy Baseball at every school,” said Ellie’s mom, Erin Strayhorn. “For these kids, an event like this really opens their eyes to what it’s like to play a sport. We love how it inclusive it is, and we just love watching the kids have fun.”

Each Buddy Baseball player was introduced to the fans before strolling to the plate with personalized “walk-up” music. Third-grader Noah Janssen showed off his dance moves. Shelby Bell waved to the crowd. Ellie did her best Babe Ruth impression and pointed toward the outfield wall as her Wonder Woman cape flapped in the breeze. Players were encouraged by the Jenks Cheer and Pom squads, and wildly applauded as they took turns rounding the bases. “This means everything to him,” said John Miller, a business teacher at Jenks High School whose son Josh participated in his tenth and final Buddy Baseball game. “He will talk about it nonstop for weeks, and as a parent, it’s awesome to see your child have this opportunity. For Danny Morgan, Jenks baseball head coach, Buddy Baseball symbolizes everything he wants his program, and his players to represent. “We tell them all they time that they need to understand how fortunate they are to be in a great school system and we want them to represent the “JT” very well in everything they do,” Morgan remarked. “Buddy Baseball is way for them to do that by giving back to these kids.” The day was capped off with triumphant trophy raises, pizza slices, and plenty of group pictures. “Did you have fun, Ellie?” the reporter asks. The smile says it all. “I love baseball,” nods Ellie. “It’s my favorite.”


Meet Jason Smith, new Chief of Jenks Campus Police Department A passion for public safety runs in Jason Smith’s family. The new Chief of Jenks Public Schools’ Campus Police Department hails from a long line of firefighters, sheriffs, police officers, and even traces his roots back to the world-famous Texas Rangers. While watching news coverage on the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Smith felt the call to leave the printing industry and join the family business. Over the last 20 years, he has helped serve and protect communities across Oklahoma – Perry, Jenks, Mounds, and Anadarko - as an officer, a deputy sheriff, a detective, a taskforce commander, and a police chief. Smith and his wife LouAnn have a son Taylor, who graduated from Jenks in 2012 and a daughter, Adelyn, who is a sophomore at Jenks High School. In the following interview, Chief Smith shares his enthusiasm for his new role and provides details on his vision for the Jenks Campus Police Department. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MOST APPEALING ASPECTS OF YOUR NEW JOB AS CHIEF OF CAMPUS POLICE? SMITH: It’s exciting to be able to switch from an environment of crime, punishment, and enforcement, to a position where the focus is on having a positive impact on the lives of children. I want to be able to make a real difference in the lives of kids before they might get into an area where they can’t be helped. As a police officer, you normally see people on their very worst day, and after 20 years, it takes its toll on you mentally. Now, I’m part of the Jenks team, and I get to work closely with our District leaders and administrators to fulfill a vision for our schools and to protect the most important people in our society, our children. WHY DO YOU THINK IT’S IMPORTANT FOR JENKS PUBLIC SCHOOLS TO HAVE ITS OWN POLICE DEPARTMENT? SMITH: It’s important for us to be able to respond quickly to our school sites on both sides of the river and it’s important for us to be able to determine the level of enforcement we want to use. We want to hold the line between discipline and law enforcement because not every incident that occurs at school should result in a student having a criminal record. I believe having a visible presence at our school sites makes our students safer and that’s really our ultimate responsibility, to keep our kids safe and give parents that peace of mind as they entrust their children to our schools.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR IMMEDIATE GOALS FOR THE JENKS CAMPUS POLICE DEPARTMENT? SMITH: First, let me say that Jack Myers (retired as Chief of Police in September) did an incredible job with this department. I have nothing but respect for Jack and it is going to be difficult to fill his shoes. I would like to see us take a more active role in mentoring our youth, and I’d like to see the department grow in manpower so we can provide a school resource officer to every school site. Right now, our department is spread thin and I would like to see an officer in every school who can be viewed by the students as a friend, mentor, and big brother. WHAT IS THE MOST FULFILLING PART OF YOUR JOB? SMITH: The opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives is what keeps me going. I remember when I was working in Perry, Oklahoma as a young officer and I met a 12-year old girl who came from a very unstable home. She was tall and athletic so I introduced her to the basketball coach, and with some guidance, and direction, she became the first person in her family to graduate from high school. It’s those stories that mean the most. It’s the opportunity to change one life through a simple interaction. HOW DO YOU VIEW THE PERCEPTION OF POLICE OFFICERS GIVEN SOME OF THE RECENT EVENTS AND PROTESTS FROM ACROSS THE COUNTRY AND HERE IN TULSA? SMITH: In some communities, I think there is generational mistrust of law enforcement. Changing the perception won’t happen overnight but regardless of what takes place, as police officers, we have to continue to be a positive influence on people while upholding our obligation to be fair and constitutional. I would encourage all officers and all departments to engage in reasonable dialogue about these issues. We need to do everything we can to communicate with our communities and be as transparent as possible.

STAY CONNECTED with Jenks Public Schools | | |


The 16th annual Home of the Brave Concert hosted by Jenks East Elementary is scheduled for Thursday, November 10 at 7:00 pm at the Jenks Performing Arts Center on the campus of Jenks High School. The concert to honor all veterans of the United States Armed Forces will feature performances by East Elementary 4th graders and JHS Theater students as well as a special guest appearance by Brian Nhira, a 2012 Jenks grad and a former finalist on the hit show, The Voice. The concert is just one facet of East Elementary’s Poppy Project, a program which connects students with veterans and helps students gain a greater appreciation for patriotism and the sacrifice of soldiers.


Every other week, the therapy dog group Comfort Canines of Tulsa visits Jenks Southeast Elementary to brighten the day of students and staff members. The team of therapy dogs and their handlers visit classrooms, walk the halls, and hang out in the lobby for anyone who wants to give or receive some affection. The therapy dogs are beneficial for everyone to relieve anxiety, provide tactile stimulation, calm fears, promote well-being, enhance individual’s moods and provide fun and laughter. The dogs also help stimulate discussion among students and staff regarding pet ownership, love for animals, and grieving the loss of a pet. The goal of the collaborate efforts of Comfort Canines and Jenks Public Schools is to increase empathy, compassion, self-esteem and confidence, while decreasing anxiety and stress. At the end of every visit staff and students seem to walk a little lighter and taller with an overall feeling of happiness. The entire experience is mutually beneficial for both the dogs and the people.

WEST ELEMENTARY – A Global Perspective

As an International Baccalaureate Candidate School, the aim of Jenks West Elementary is to develop inquiring, life-long learners. Students are learning how character traits like compassion, empathy, and understanding, can be put into action to help create a better world for tomorrow. Here are a few examples of how the “light bulbs” are starting to switch on. From a 3rd grade parent: We were talking about the things we do as family and we got on a subject we didn’t agree on. Kayden said it was OK that we didn’t agree, but that he respected our opinion. He stated that being open-minded is one of the traits he learned about at school. I was so excited to hear this because we try hard to incorporate the same values into our children. We’re thankful for West Elementary! – Kayla Carey From a Pre-K parent: As I was making dinner, my son said, “Mom, do you know what empathy is?” I replied, “I think so, but what do you think empathy is?” My heart overflowed as I listened to his response. “It’s when you feel how someone else feels. You should give them a hug and try to help them feel better. That’s what you do. It’s the rule.” It was amazing not only to see him accurately name the emotion, but to confidently apply the meaning. Thank you for helping my small human be an even better person to the community around him! – Aubrey Flowers

EAST INTERMEDIATE – Book Reports Without Borders The Global Read Aloud program provides a platform for students to gain a global perspective by reading and discussing books with peers in other countries. At East Intermediate, Andrea Bubert’s class connected with a classroom in Dryden, Ontario. Throughout a six week period, the students will set up a Skype conversation to chat about chapters, characters, and themes from a book both classes are reading simultaneously.

“Our kids love it!” Bubert said. “They love asking each other questions about their schools as well as the books. To prepare for a Skype session, both classes brainstorm a list of questions about the section we just read. We choose different students each time to ask their question and then students from the opposite class respond. We go back and forth until our time is up. The students do most of the talking with a little facilitation from the teachers. It really is a fun thing to see! “

WEST INTERMEDIATE – Finding a Career Path

West Intermediate teachers, Crystal Finch and Jaime Bowlin, had the privilege of taking a small group of 6th grade girls to the Women in Science Conference at the Mabee Center. In an interactive panel session, the girls received advice from seven women working in STEM fields The women reminded the girls to be persistent, brave, believe in themselves, and to explore their interests. The girls visited science fair booths and ended the day with a pair of design challenges in conjunction with the Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma and the University of Tulsa.

Distinguished Leadership

Michelle Sumner, Site Principal at West Intermediate, represented the state of Oklahoma at the National Distinguished Principal Award Ceremony in Washington D.C. in the first week of October. The ceremony honored Sumner and other principals from around the country “who exemplify the highest attributes of principalship and who demonstrate significant career accomplishments; dedication to education; exemplary leadership; high standards for instruction and student achievement; and lasting contributions to their entire school communities.” Sumner was treated to a reception at the National Archives and received her award at an evening gala.


Math Teacher – Jenks Alternative Center Hometown: Born in Illinois, moved to Tulsa in 5th grade College: Northeastern State University Time at Jenks: This is my 9th year at the Alternative Center and the only place I have ever taught.

“The most rewarding part of my job at the Alternative Center is making the personal connections with each student and having them trust us enough to give school a chance. The moment they begin to buy into our program and feel secure, we normally see a huge change in the student’s attitude and perception of school. For me, the best part of the process is seeing those moments of learning and watching students take pride in their accomplishments.”


3rd grade Teacher – Jenks Southeast Elementary Hometown: Frisco, TX College: Texas Tech University Time at Jenks: 1st year! “The best part of teaching at Jenks Southeast is being part of a staff that commits to meet the needs of each student who comes to school every day eager to learn. I look forward to coming to work because these attributes make our community a family. It’s rewarding to see my students have the opportunity to learn academically, physically, socially, and emotionally. Those categories of learning impact students throughout their entire life. When I get a hug or high-five from each child at dismissal, it’s a reminder of why I am here every day not only to teach, but to lend a listening ear, put on a band-aid, tie a shoe, and much more.”


2nd grade Teacher – Jenks East Elementary Hometown: Carnegie, OK College: University of Oklahoma Time at Jenks: 3rd year

“At East Elementary, it is the neatest thing to hear so many different languages being spoken down our hallways and into our classrooms. We are truly a melting pot of many different cultures. It is music to my ears to hear students say, “I love school!” I strive every single day to instill the love for learning in my 2nd graders. I want them to be excited to learn and to have the drive to exercise their brains. It is a teacher’s dream come true when you see your students smile big with excitement, walk a little taller, and have a love for school. What a wonderful job we have!”


Geometry/STEM Teacher – Jenks Freshman Academy Hometown: Lansing, MI College: Michigan Technological University, University of Tulsa College of Law Time at Jenks: 4th year “My teaching philosophy is centered on facilitating student learning. Students learn differently, and they conceptualize material differently. If I can help guide students in the direction they need to go, without micromanaging their thinking or strategy, I feel I did my job. When students leave my classroom, I expect them to be fully prepared to think independently, to make realworld connections, and to be successful in their remaining high school math courses.”

PLAYERS TURNED COACHES Trojan Torch - Student Newspaper By Jett Millican Jenks coaches strive towards victory in everything they do. They have a competitive spirit matched by few others, and they try to instill that spirit into the players they coach. This fighting spirit sticks with students for years to come, which got the Torch wondering: what is it like for past Jenks athletes to come back and coach at their alma mater? Annice Ridgway is now the Jenks JV and freshman volleyball coach, but before that she was a setter for the Jenks volleyball team. Ridgeway graduated in 2009 and began coaching immediately after. She says that she really began thinking of becoming a coach when she was deciding whether or not to play in college. “I love the game and I wanted to share that love with other people,” says Ridgway. “When I knew I wasn’t playing in college… I managed the volleyball team at TU and I started coaching club just to stay in the game.” Ridgway says her coaches in high school had a big impact on her decision to start coaching, and were even the inspiration that led her to coaching. “They’re sharing their passion, and I could share my passion with the next generation.” says Ridgway. This passion just demonstrates that at heart every coach is a player awaiting to take the court with their team. “If I had the chance I’d hop in a jersey and sub myself in no problem,” says Ridgeway. “I tell my athletes this all the time, you’re never going to know what it’s like...until after you’re done playing.”

Mark Stevenson is on his fourth year as assistant band director for the Jenks Trojan marching band, but Stevenson was also a percussionist until he graduated in 2008. Stevenson decided he wanted to be a music teacher and band director while he was in high school. “It was an activity that I really enjoyed doing,” says Stevenson. “At the time when you’re a senior and think about what you’re going to be doing with your life… it was very evident that I wanted to be in this.” Stevenson says that if he had the choice of playing for the band or be directing that he would rather be directing. “I really love to teach and see students progress over time,” says Stevenson. “There are also days where I wish I could be doing it again...but I really like to teach.” Dustin Hughes has been coaching Jenks baseball and wrestling for four years, but in high school he was an avid player in both sports for the Jenks school teams. Hughes decided he wanted to be a coach while he was in college. “While I was in college I was playing baseball and always thought that would be an avenue that I’d want to go down.” says Hughes. All coaches share a pride in the teams they lead, but with those few who direct the students in a school they once played for, the pride is all the greater. “The pride that I take coaching at my alma mater is very big,” said Hughes. “I’ve always bled maroon and white, so it’s awesome being able to come back and share that with the kids.”


Jenks East Elementary Students Show Off Seasonal Artwork

We believe in the students and teachers at Jenks Public Schools and we know that you do, too! Now, more than ever, private resources are needed to bridge the gap between state funding and district needs. With the support of generous donors, our District is able to invest in outstanding educational programs. This year, District administrators have turned to the JPS Foundation to support the following programs:

• JA BizTown • Jenks Wild • Go Noodle • AVID • Artists in the Schools • STEM Learning Labs • Vision of Excellence Awards The programs mentioned above are funded by donations received through membership in a JPS Foundation Giving Circle. Giving Circle members not only receive the satisfaction of supporting outstanding programs; they also receive benefits based on their level of giving. As a Giving Circle member you will receive benefits such as passes to the Hometown Huddle MVP dinner and premier seating at the Foundation’s Annual Dinner & Auction. To recap, JPS Foundation Giving Circles secure private resources in support of various programs to continue the Jenks Public Schools’ Tradition of Excellence with a Vision for Tomorrow! Giving Circle members are currently listed on the JPS Foundation website’s Featured Donor Page.

Will you consider joining other loyal donors in a Giving Circle?

Our Schools | October 2016  

From an all-inclusive baseball game to a teacher preventing tragedy and a police chief with a heart for service, the October edition of the...

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