Members of the Woodward Chamber of Commerce Education Committee met Wednesday to hear updates and plan for the new school year.

The first update was offered by Amber Riley for High Plains Technology Center.

Lots of training things going on," she said. "We have high angle rescue, industrial medic and confined space rescue right now."

She also said the tech center is full with a lot of meetings. Teacher Leadership Effectiveness, which is a program helping administrators learn new standards for evaluating teachers, is also going on now. 

"That standard is changing so they are there making some modifications to that," Riley said. 

Taking full time adult enrollment is open and testing for those course slots will take place the 10th, 11th and 12th of August, Riley said. 

She completed her report with an update on the renovation of the seminar room. 

"I am thinking the seminar center should be completed in April," she said. 

Northwestern Oklahoma State University

Enrollment is open for classes to begin for the fall semester Aug. 22, according to Melissa Sturgeon of NWOSU. 

You have until Aug. 30th to add a class," she said. "So come out and enroll in a class."

In her remarks Sturgill included some upcoming events. Fall orientation for adjunct professors, proctors and transfer students will take place on Aug. 16-19. A welcome back celebration will take place Aug. 29. Hispanic Heritage Month begins Sept. 15 and runs through Oct. 15.  Constitution Celebration will take place Oct. 17. The fall picnic will take place Oct. 20, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Oct. 21 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.

"The Salsa Tasting will take place Wednesday, Sept. 28th from noon to 7 p.m.," Sturgeon said. "It is really fun. We celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and we do salsa tasting all day. We have people bring salsa and Ramirez's is always good to bring salsa for us."

There will also be a lecture series offered for Hispanic Heritage Month. 

She added that the university staff are pleased that the school was chosen for the Woodward Yard of the Month for the Month.

"We are so excited about that because Ken, our man, works so hard. He is outside all the time and he is so quiet and so sweet about it," Sturgill said.

According to NWOSU Dean of the Woodward Campus Dr. Deena Fisher, the university was cut in state funding by 16 percent. As a result, the institution was forced to eliminate some teaching positions.

"So overall at Northwestern - this is really the President's story to tell - But we had to let 14 faculty members go, or not fill a position if they retired," Fisher said. "It is just more on fewer people. We are still going to give the same service, we are still going to help the students. It's just that you tax so, your full-time help when you have to do these. Everyone feels the same kind of pain going through this."

Fisher said enrollment in NWOSU-Woodward is a little higher than it was this time last year. 

She added that the university is still offering concurrent enrollment options for the high schools. This program allows high school students to take a math and an English course at NWOSU while still attending high school. Retired Woodward Assistant Superintendent Tom Fisher will be teaching the math course, which will be College Algebra. 

Public Schools Update

This is a first summer in many years that the State Department of Education has not had their summer conference," Fisher said. "This was always before been in the Cox Center (OKC). So because of funding cutbacks they had six regional meetings and Woodward was one of the hosts."

He said changing the meeting from once central meeting to six regional meetings was so much more successful that they will be planning to do it again next year. 

"The combined attendance for all regions exceeded that of the meeting attendance when it was in the Cox Center," Fisher said. 

He added that all who attended, including the State Department of Education staff and State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister, mentioned how impressed they were with Woodward's hosting of the meeting. 

"And they plan to do it again next year," Fisher said. "It was typical for Woodward. They did simple things, like coffee and doughnuts for the presenters and they had not had that at other locations. For us, this is just something we wouldn't put on without doing those little extra things."

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