The Norman Transcript

May 30, 2013

Norman Public Schools welcomes new administrators and tornado-affected transfer students

By Caitlin Schudalla
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — The Norman Public School district will soon welcome three new administrators to district and school site leadership positions as of their approval at the Norman Board of Education meeting Wednesday evening.

Jason Brown will take the Assistant Superintendent of Personnel Services position to be vacated by Patrick Nolen next month. Kelly Otis will lead Jefferson Elementary as its new principal, succeeding Kathy Taber, and Ann Rosales will be the district’s new Early Childhood Coordinator, filling a position which has remained vacant for approximately a year.

Originally scheduled for May 20, the special meeting also included approval of students transferring into the district, an arrangement with Sooner Copy Machines, Inc. and informational presentations on Achieve3000 and NPS summer school 2013.

Superintendent Joe Siano praised the volunteer efforts of Community Relations Coordinator Shelly Hickman and the Oklahoma School Public Relations Association in establishing emergency media relations for Moore Public Schools. Additionally, Siano praised 25 NPS Bus drivers who volunteered to provide shuttle driving for Moore’s memorial service.

“NPS feels for Moore and the challenges they continue to face. Communication was definitely a major challenge for them moving forward and we’ve reached out to them to contact us as needs become apparent,” Siano said. “The situation changes a little every day, and we’re preparing for a flux in enrollment as some families re-locate. We will be especially lenient to those who move to north Norman and wish to keep their children in Moore schools.”

The board approved an agreement to suspend their search for a copy machine services provider in exchange for a year of free services from Sooner Copy, Inc. Siano said this donation will save the district approximately $250,000.

Information on Acheive3000, an online reading and writing program, was presented, showing the strong improvement exhibited by NPS students enrolled during the 2012/2013 school year.

“NPS wanted to use this program to improve the reading level of students who were below their grade’s expected reading level and quickly discovered it’s very beneficial for all students,” Beth Spears, director of staff development and student acheivement, said.

“This was our implementation year and approximately 3,500 third through eighth graders were enrolled. We hope to expand to the high school level next year.”

Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Shirley Simmons said Achieve3000 is a major component of NPS summer school, which will serve 480 elementary students, 120 middle school students and an unknown number of high school students, as enrollment is still open.

“One thing we need to be cautious about going forward is becoming too dependent on federal funds for target programs,” Siano said. “As federal budgets shrink and local funds don’t increase, options become very limited as to what we can do and especially who we can serve.”