Tulsa teachers get pep talk before first day of school

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Reported by: Sharon Phillips
Updated: 8/16/2012 5:39 pm Published: 8/16/2012 4:26 pm

Tulsa teachers get an inspirational boost from the district at a special convocation.

It was broadcast live from Clinton Middle School on Thursday morning. Dr. Keith Ballard and others tried to fire up the staff at a time when local schools are facing a mountain of challenges.

Before the bell rings on Monday, 7th grade Science teacher, Scott Farminer is carefully testing all of the sinks in his lab.

"Summer is over so let's rock and roll. I'm ready to do this,” he says.

When you first meet Scott, it’s not hard to see his passion for shaping the minds of students.

"You're not going to get smarter or be able to do the things you want to do in life if you're not going to be here,” he says.

And being there is something Tulsa Public Schools is putting a bigger focus on this year. Dr. Ballard stressed that improving attendance district-wide is crucial.

Last year, the district averaged 92% attendance with a small number of students dragging down test scores with a high number of absences.

"We have to have these kids here every single day. No excuses,” says Farminer.

One of the ways teachers are hoping to boost attendance is by offering incentives.

"No kid likes to wear a uniform so we try to have it where we have a free dress day.”

“If the kids meet 95% attendance for the month, they can go in the afternoon in the last 45 minutes of the day and hang out with their friends,” he says.

The lack of state funding and low test scores are also big hurdles, but teachers, like Scott, aren’t afraid of using their own paycheck to provide for their classroom.

“If we can't get it, I just go out and personally buy it myself,” he says.

Despite the mountains in front of them, TPS administrators forge on during Thursday’s convocation, taking the teachers and students with them.

Also heading back to class on Monday are Union, Sand Springs and Sapulpa.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

Mayor Maynot - 8/17/2012 11:11 AM
0 Votes
Convocation? Can they say that???

Mayor Maynot - 8/17/2012 10:59 AM
0 Votes
Watchdog quit trying to make me feel normal I was ready to say the same thing. Keep your hands out of the students pants.

watchdog11 - 8/16/2012 4:57 PM
0 Votes
Part of that pep talk should be telling them NOT to have sex or inappropriate relationships with any of the students....
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