OKLAHOMA CITY - There are only two weeks left in summer vacation for Oklahoma City public school students. While they were away, the district has been busy converting a number of elementary schools to middle schools. 

There is still a little bit of work left to do at schools undergoing major transformations, but administrators say they will all be “Day One” ready by Aug. 12.

Eighty-eight out of the 115 construction projects under the Pathway to Greatness are complete so far.

OKCPS Chief Operations Officer Scott Randall said, “After we get through Day One ready, we’ll quickly regroup and start on 27 additional projects, and I’m sure we’ll add to that list pretty quickly.”

In addition to outfitting new science labs, art classrooms and special needs classrooms, Fields and Futures is helping to install ten athletic facilities.

“It’s just been a tremendous improvement for our district and for our kids,” OKCPS Athletic Director Todd Dilbeck said. “It’s an exciting time for Oklahoma City Public Schools.”

One of the most important improvements for administrators, however, is an emphasis on enrichment and mental health.

Superintendent Dr. Sean McDaniel said, “Every elementary will have a full-time art, a full-time music, a full-time counselor in every elementary every day.”

Teachers are focusing on the wellbeing of students, too, with things like meditation corners.

“It helps you to change and make decisions, even if you feel like you don’t want to,” said Debra Bell, who is preparing to teach 6th grade math at the new FD Moon Middle School.

In another classroom there, 6th grade English teacher Kaneta Lee utilizes the “Get Right” rock.

She said, “They understand that that rock is some ‘get right,’ so it’s just like a mental ‘get it together.’”

Currently, though, the district is still looking to hire 95 more teachers, particularly those with expertise in special needs, 5th and 6th grade and upper level math. There are close to 250 emergency certified teachers on staff so far.

“That’s a big number,” McDaniel admits about the vacancy, “but what we’re talking about as you spread that across the district is, we’re talking about each school has about one or two positions left to fill.”

OKCPS is also still hiring bus drivers and will provide training to those without experience.

For more information for families and prospective hires, click here.