• Pathway to Greatness - Two Years Later

    p2g graphic


    It’s hard to believe that it has been two years since the OKCPS Board of Education had the courage to challenge the status quo and approved the Pathway to Greatness (P2G), paving the way for a realignment and reinvention of Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS).

    In 2018, having done considerable work to update our instructional practices, to collect and analyze data about long-term trends, and to stabilize our financial situation, the OKCPS Board of Education and our Superintendent launched the Pathway to Greatness -- the next step in our journey to fulfill our vision of providing our students with equitable access to the learning opportunities and services they need to be successful in the classroom and in life. 

    After months of research, community input, data analysis and planning for the future of OKCPS, the Board voted unanimously to approve P2G on March 4, 2019, an entire year before the COVID-19 global pandemic completely changed the way OKCPS -- and the world at large -- operated. 

    STEM Lab  band  device smile  football   ipad learner


    Many of the changes or trade-ups that we were able to implement as part of P2G turned out to be particularly beneficial as we navigated the challenges that came with COVID-19. Some of those include:

    • 1:1 Technology - Every OKCPS student in grades PK through 12th is now equipped with a device and internet access for 21st century learning. When OKCPS suddenly had to shift to remote learning in March 2020, plans to become a 1:1 district were already in motion, and P2G investments in full-time library media specialists enabled the smooth, quick shift to virtual learning
    • Increased student support - Made possible through partnerships between the district and area health care agencies, Greater OKC Chamber of Commerce, Foundation for OKCPS, the United Way of Central Oklahoma and the City of OKC, our students have expanded access to physical, mental, social, and behavioral health resources. This also includes additional full-time school nurses, district social workers, and elementary counselors to support our students and their families. These additional resources became a critical component of our response to the pandemic. 
    • e3 Virtual Learning - OKCPS students have the opportunity to receive instruction through an online learning platform which keeps students enrolled in an OKCPS school, giving them access to opportunities for in-person involvement in specific classes such as the arts, sports, and curricular programs, as well as extracurricular activities. Having an alternative and flexible learning option for families was crucial for supporting student success this past year and is something we will continue to offer our families going forward.

    Some other notable changes and improvements that followed P2G include:

    • Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) Centers - Thanks to the support of the Foundation for OKCPS and our amazing community partners, all elementary schools now have a STEAM center that challenges our students with hands-on learning to grow critical thinking and problem solving skills. We are also excited to have fully functioning science labs in all of our high schools as well.
    • Art & Physical Education -  All elementary schools students now have access to full time art, music and PE and we have expanded opportunities in the arts, sports, and extracurricular clubs and activities for our students in grades 5th through 12th. Because P2G brought us clear and consistent feeder patterns, middle and high school band directors are now able to collaborate in new ways, with each visiting the other’s program on a daily basis in order to support learning and to allow these leaders to create lasting and supportive relationships with our band students as they transition from middle to high school.
    • Concurrent Enrollment in Post-secondary Courses - Larger student populations also allowed for more course offerings, electives and after-school programs. OKCPS juniors and seniors can attend college courses and/or technology center programs while in high school, which provide opportunities for credit toward college degrees and professional certifications.
    • Expanded Access to Application Schools - As part of P2G, OKCPS has added nearly 1,500 seats to our highly sought after application schools by including 5th grade with the former 6th through 12th grade application schools and by opening Southeast Middle School on the south side of OKC, which serves grades 5th through 8th grade and is completing its second year of operation.
    • Innovative Transformation Schools - OKCPS is proud to have eight Innovative Transformation (IT) Schools, which are part of a district turnaround initiative built on a foundation of leadership, instructional infrastructure, differentiated support and accountability, and talent management. These incubators of innovation are the proof points for OKCPS as we look to expand the program across the district and we are already seeing very encouraging results. We look forward to highlighting this important work in the future. 
    • Expanded Access to Athletics for Middle School Students - Research shows that students who are engaged in specialty programs or curriculum such as athletics, arts, and clubs, are much more likely to have good attendance, make good grades, and stay in school through graduation. Our new middle school model provides students with access to more programs and other electives much sooner. For example, before P2G only 1 in 5 sixth grade students had access to sports, and now all of our 6th graders do. Following the vote, our good friends at Fields and Futures stepped up to restore or create athletic spaces at the new OKCPS middle schools that were a result of P2G. Students can now enjoy these new athletics spaces at Capitol Hill Middle School, Classen SAS Middle School, FD Moon Middle School, John Marshall Middle School, Mary Golda Ross Middle School and Webster Middle School thanks to the work of Fields and Futures.

    In addition to these programmatic changes, we are pleased to see that our survey data from 2014 and 2020 also tells us that OKCPS staff, families and our community have more confidence in the district and its leadership, as they learn more about our efforts to innovate, recruit great talent and ensure all of our stakeholders feel truly welcome, valued and engaged. 


    In order to afford the much-needed investments above, OKCPS made the difficult choice to repurpose 15 buildings that had formerly served as schools. Ultimately, district leaders made the decision to invest in our students instead of in underutilized buildings.

    “Throughout the process, our Board remained focused on making decisions that would move OKCPS forward so that we can provide access to a world class education for every student -- regardless of their neighborhood,” said OKCPS Board Chair Paula Lewis. “I am excited to see the OKCPS of the future coming to life, especially when we consider the many challenges our community has faced over the past two years. Many thanks to Dr. McDaniel, our district teams and the amazing community partners who continue to roll up their sleeves and put kids first.” 

    Having seen other properties remain shuttered for years, many doubted the district’s ability to find alternate uses for these 15 buildings which were so beloved by their community. But in less than 12 months, OKCPS delivered on its promise as district facilities began to transform into early childhood centers, office space for law enforcement agencies and nonprofits that serve our community. 

    The Oklahoma City-County Health Department (OCCHD) is currently leasing two OKCPS properties, Oakridge and Sequoyah, which have proven to be especially beneficial during the last year. OCCHD Chief Operating Officer Phil Maytubby said leasing the buildings has been a win-win for the school district, the neighborhood and the agency.

    “We’re looking forward to working with more partners to continue to make these buildings valuable to their neighborhoods,” said Maytubby.  “The former Sequoyah and Oakridge elementary school buildings have been invaluable to the Oklahoma City-County Health Department during the COVID-19 pandemic. OCCHD housed its contact tracers at Oakridge and was able to expand that effort in the space as needed. The school has also served as a site for food distribution to the community, which became a bigger outreach as more residents lost their jobs because of the pandemic. At Sequoyah, the school has become a hub for non-profit organizations serving the community, such as the Boys & Girls Club of Oklahoma County and the Salvation Army of Central Oklahoma. The Salvation Army is using the school’s kitchen to prepare meals for its delivery to residents 65 or older. 

    Going forward, the buildings will continue to be used to help the neighborhood and community at large.”

    Several buildings are also being repurposed by the district to serve our students and families in new and innovative ways. This year, Edwards Elementary served as the 5th Grade Center for F.D. Moon Middle School while the building went through a major renovation, but it will shift to become a Sunbeam Family Services early childhood care center in the Fall of 2021. As enrollment continues to grow at Taft Middle School, OKCPS made the decision to make nearby Linwood Elementary into a 5th Grade Center to serve our Taft families. Westwood Elementary is now the district hub for all the resources we offer to our students and families, housing our teams who focus on enrollment, special education, physical/social/emotional health & wellness, and targeted support for our Native American and homeless families, among other things. The building’s location in the center of our district and its proximity to public transportation made it the perfect location for OKCPS to create a one-stop solution for our families who need support.

    Green Pastures Elementary was the only district property impacted by P2G that was sold, and OKCPS was excited to see it quickly converted into a film and television academy and film studio to meet the growing needs and economic development of the Oklahoma entertainment industry and the Spencer community.

    During the repurposing process, OKCPS followed our guiding principles to streamline our lease agreements which were largely inconsistent and to select tenants that benefit our students and the community.

    A complete list of repurposed buildings and their current utilization is listed below. 

    OKCPS Repurposed Facilities - As of March 2021

    Tenant Leasing 100%




    Harding Charter Prep


    Trinity Private School (serving primarily students with disabilities)

    North Highland



    Oklahoma-City County Health


    Sunbeam / Inasmuch


    Oklahoma-City County Health


    Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office


    District Use




    2020-21 was F.D. Moon 5th Grade Center at Edwards; will shift to become a Sunbeam Early Childhood Center for 2021-22 school year as 5th graders return to the main campus


    Early Childhood Education Center at Gatewood

    Horace Mann

    Pre-K Center


    Pre-K Center


    Taft 5th Grade Center at Linwood

    Putnam Heights

    Putnam Heights Academy


    Student Support Center at Westwood




    Green Pastures

    Green Pastures Studios 

    Despite the implementation challenges we’ve faced, OKCPS remains committed to our reinvention and is confident that this work is necessary to improve the health of the entire OKCPS system and to provide equity and opportunity for our students. 

    “I’m so proud of our staff for supporting our students, families and each other as we move through this reinvention. I’m also grateful to our families for coming together to champion strong schools. There is absolutely no way we could have even begun this journey without our unbelievable community partners. I can’t say thank you enough to the businesses and individuals who live in our community, and some even outside of our community, who said, “We believe in what you’re doing and we want to be a part of this journey”, said Superintendent Sean McDaniel. 

    McDaniel continued, ”But, perhaps more than anything, I’m proud of our Board of Education who more than 3 years ago refused to accept the status quo and directed us to start this journey knowing it was going to be tough. Looking back to March 2019, I am grateful for a school board led by a strong chairperson who stood with us, providing stable leadership and support with the understanding that the payoff at the end is truly going to change lives. If you were to walk into one of our schools today, you would see a much different picture than you did just two years ago. It’s an exciting time for OKCPS.”

    Now more than ever, we must focus on the future. OKCPS students deserve it and our city's long-term success depends on it. We are truly stronger together.