The Woodward News

September 5, 2013

Building relationships a goal of committee

Rachael Van Horn
Woodward News

Woodward, Okla. — The goal of the Woodward Chamber Education Committee is to connect the public with information from education leaders in a more complete and comfortable way.

"It's our goal, our mission, to foster these relationships between our educators and the public," said Dr. Deena Fisher, dean at Northwestern Oklahoma State University-Woodward.

She made the comments at a Wednesday meeting of the Chamber's Education Committee where representatives from the college, High Plains Technology Center and Woodward Public Schools updated members on the status of the schools.

The idea after these updates is for its public members to take that information out into the community in diverse ways, Fisher said.

High Plains Technology Center has ramped up for the school season ahead with a newly updated campus, said school counselor Amber Riley.

"Our CDL classes and Pumper Training Class are off and going well," Riley said. "And we are ready for our College Days happening Friday."

Meanwhile, in the Woodward Public Schools, organization of the information related to a bond issue, which will go before the public in October, is key on the minds of some staff at Woodward School District, said Tom Fisher, assistant superintendent.

But first, Fisher discussed other timely issues.

"Enrollment is at 2,823 as of today, which puts us 200 students up from last year," Fisher said.

Last year, the school also had increased enrollment of about 200 students compared to the year before, according to Tim Merchant in a previous interview.

Fisher said school principals will be looking for redundancy in the numbers before the final student count is issued.

Friday, Fisher said, test results will be released from student testing that was performed in the spring. The scores account for 50 percent of a teacher's evaluation, he said.

"How in the world do you use those test results to help the student if you don't get them back until the following year," Fisher seemed to ask himself out loud.

However, there was no question in Fisher's voice when he referenced the work being done to organize the multiple points to a coming $29 million bond issue and make them understandable to the public.

His primary point was to emphasize that the $29 million includes all construction management, architectural and finance fees. It also provides classrooms, which will ease overcrowding.

In addition, the bond provides a saferoom for every school in the district, updates the aging bus fleet and provides a more secure campus at every location, Fisher said.

The technological arm of the bond addresses two key factors where technology and learning intersect, said Deputy Superintendent Kyle Reynolds.

The first portion addresses the need to bolster the help desk for technology troubleshooting.

"We have 300 to 400 people in the district all using computers at any given time and so the infrastructure needs shoring up," Reynolds said.

The second tier of the technology arm of the bond will roll out a one-to-one, student device program that puts into the hand of each student a tablet or device for enhanced learning.

The particulars involving this concept are not far flung, Reynolds said.

Indeed, many schools already are using technology for students to download text books, but other uses, such as in-class research and interactive homework also add to this type of learning, he said.

"Look, these kids are digital natives and we are sending them into a classroom with pen and paper or into a computer lab with a seven-year-old computers," he said.

News about Northwestern Oklahoma State University is good, said Deena Fisher.

Fisher said enrollment figures will be released soon and that the trend looks positive.

She also mentioned that this year is the 5th anniversary for the new Woodward campus opened in 2008.

"Things are happening and happening the way they should," Fisher said. "We are so fortunate here because of the support of this community."