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OKCPS Superintendent Announces Reorganization
OKCPS Families, Staff & Community,
As I spent this year listening and learning about the many challenges faced by our students, families and staff, it was apparent that there were a number of gaps that could not be filled without structural changes to the way our organization operates.
While there are other things yet to be addressed, an important and necessary step is to make adjustments to our Central Office team, as this team must be more focused on supporting the needs of all of our students and schools.
One of the commitments I made to the board a year ago was to evaluate the district structure, make recommendations and follow through with a district reorganization, if necessary. I have spent the past few months assessing the gaps in our support for schools and redesigning the organization in a way that I believe will allow us to better anticipate and respond to the needs of our students, families, and teachers. I kept their voices at the center of this design process and, while I know that more hard work and change will be necessary to bring equity and excellence to our students consistently, I'm confident that this new structure will provide a strong foundation for better learning and student support.
In these changes you will see OKCPS leaning into our Board's charge to provide greater equity to our students, as well as providing additional layers of support directly to our students, families and schools.
One way we hope to do this is by increasing the level of instructional support for our principals--a theme I heard loud and clear as I listened to the voices of our educators who are serving students and families, day in and day out.
To do this, we adjusted the focus, job function and the funding for our Instructional Leadership Directors (ILD), adding a few of these positions which will allow each of them to provide targeted instructional support to a smaller number of schools thereby increasing the amount of guidance and assistance for our school leaders. We have also taken the existing Deputy Chief of Schools role and divided it into an Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Education and an Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education to help right-size their span of control and allow these leaders to focus on creating strategic systems and processes that will bring stronger support and accountability at the school level. They will be supported by Jason Brown as our Deputy Superintendent, who will also oversee Human Resources, Academics and Student Support.
This new organizational structure also folds in our highest strategic priorities. To keep excellence and equity at the center of our work, we are bringing our data, information, and continuous improvement functions into one reporting line and launching an equity office. I have asked Rebecca Kaye, our Chief of Staff, to shift into a new role as our Chief of Equity and Accountability to support this work.
EmbraceOKC, a tailored approach to student and family services that focuses on the well-being of students and families with an emphasis on mental, physical, social, and emotional health, will also continue to be a focus for OKCPS. District representatives are currently working with the Compact for OKCPS' Mental Health Task Force to begin bringing agency support to our schools in the fall. And, OKCPS is making our own first investments into EmbraceOKC in 2019-20. Along with our School Climate team, the addition of a Director of Mental Health and more counselors and school nurses will bring trauma-informed practices into our schools. These teams will continue to shine a light on the many challenges that our students bring with them into the classroom and provide the appropriate supports, which our teachers have clearly told us are needed in order to improve students' access to learning.
I'm pleased that for approximately $600,000 -- merely one-fifth of 1% of our annual budget -- we have been able to address many gaps in student learning and provide support for our teachers and principals. Just changing the organizational structure will not get us where we need to be, but it's a significant step in addressing the issues we've uncovered after a yearlong process of gathering input and listening to our students, staff and families.
All of the work that we've done this year, including this reorganization which is a component of implementing our Pathway To Greatness, has been designed to provide a foundation on which we can continue to build a strong system to offer a quality educational experience for each of our students according to their needs. And while we will continue to monitor, assess and evaluate gaps, I believe this is a good start to providing high-quality, innovative opportunities for our students and staff to learn and work in a positive, caring environment.
Our journey together continues.