OKLAHOMA CITY - Mental health is a major focus of Oklahoma City Public Schools' Pathway to Greatness plan. 

For the new year, each elementary school will have a full-time counselor. Teachers are also adding a personal touch to keep students emotionally engaged.

FD Moon is one of the newly converted middle schools, where principal Dr. Gloria Anderson is encouraging teachers to express themselves.

“When we walked in here, it did not look like this,” Anderson said inside one classroom. “It looked very different, so it has transformed.”

Each teacher is crossing curriculum lines for a well-rounded approach.

Music teacher Samuelle Reese said, “One thing that I like to do is music math. We know that quarter-notes and everything else that have values, so they’re going to be using that to do math equations.”

In math class, 6th grade teacher Debra Bell will teach her students how to meditate like she does, using the meditation corner of the room.

“Time out, you just kind of go over there by yourself and stay angry,” Bell explained, “but meditation, you focus on something. You focus on bringing yourself back to yourself, so that you can come back and do the work.”

6th grade English teacher Kaneta Lee has a similar approach with the ‘Get Right’ rock, a small blue boulder at the front of her classroom.

“I can say, ‘hey, go rub the rock,’” said Lee, “and some of them want to pick it up and hold it, and even take it home with them.”

Professor and author Marsha Jordan knows the importance of teaching emotional health at an early age, so she posted emotional words around her 5th grade English classroom.

Jordan said, “They can pull out what’s on the inside of them, find out what’s going on with other people and learn how to respect, so that’s going to be one of our first assignments.”

As the students become more emotionally aware, superintendent Dr. Sean McDaniel says attendance will increase and disciplinary referrals will decrease, resulting in a more successful score districtwide.

“We don’t have our fingers crossed,” McDaniel emphasized. “We expect to see the needle move, specifically with reading and math scores.”

The district invites families to come meet teachers and learn about their individual plans ahead of August 12. 

For more OKCPS back to school information, click here.