Beyond The Bell: OKC Public Schools Chief Talks About The Future

Friday, January 27th 2012, 12:36 am
By: News 9

With a series of changes in place for this school year, Oklahoma City Superintendent Karl Springer says there's room for more improvement.

"We need to retool what we do during the day. We need to make it so our kids have more opportunities to have more varied kind of activities at school."

Springer's big legislative push is adding another hour to the school day and tacking on an additional ten to 20 days each year.

"With this population of students in Oklahoma City, our kids need to have more time to be able to learn."

Moon Elementary is one of the worst performing schools in the district and has been on the verge of closing.

"The school had been on the ‘at risk' list for four years."

They added Saturday school and benchmark testing. Principal Marionette Gibson saw major changes to student performance. She sees a lot more room to grow with the legislative push to extend school hours across the district.

"If we keep making the gains that we're making and doing the things that we're doing, having parents involved, believing I us, changing the culture of the building when you walk in. I'm sure we can be a blue ribbon school in the next three years."

But a longer school day could mean fatigued students so Springer emphasizes the importance of engaging them all day.

"I think, at school, what we've got to be able to do is have it be very exciting, very energetic. We know that the more students are in school, the more time on tasks they have, the more successful they're going to be."

Some say an extended school day could force teens in lower-income families to quit their after school jobs or interfere with afternoon activities. Springer says the school district's number one priority is making sure students are educated up to standards.