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EKCO hosts educators for back to school event

July 23, 2021

As the Executive Director of Every Kid Counts Oklahoma, I have the incredible opportunity to connect with like-minded people and organizations across the state. It excites me that we can partner together as people who share a common interest and passion in bettering education.

Earlier this week, one of the ways I got to see this mission in action was gathering with educators from across the state to take part in a discussion on how to continue improving public education and provide better support and resources for teachers in Oklahoma. 

The event was held at Showbiz Cinemas in Edmond and this was the first time this educator group was able to get together in person, after having virtual monthly roundtable discussions throughout the past school year. The morning started with a review of the Teachers for Teachers professional development website this group has been working on. The site will provide Oklahoma educators with practical resources such as videos on best practices for classroom management, AP test preparation tips and tricks and support for common classroom behavior issues. 

EKCO Educator EventOne of my favorite moments of the day was hearing from Lesa Dickson — an AP Language teacher at Broken Arrow High School and 2020 Oklahoma State Teacher of the Year finalist. Lesa said, “I am so excited to take this resource back to my colleagues. I’ve been in the classroom for 39 years and no matter how long an educator has been teaching, the sign of a true educator is that they are never done learning and improving their craft.” 

This site will connect teachers across the state with support and resources that their districts may not provide. “I am honored to be a part of this project and wish I would have had it available to me in my early years of teaching,” Lesa said. 

It was reinvigorating to hear educators like Lesa share not only their excitement for this work, but also their advice as dedicated, experienced teachers. These types of connections are the exact reason why I am passionate about my work with EKCO and education in Oklahoma.

After a lunch break and time to mingle, the educators gathered back together for a discussion with Oklahoma legislators and education advocates, Senator Adam Pugh and Representative Rhonda Baker. The educators really valued this time to hear directly from their state leaders.  

English teacher at Pittsburg Public Schools, Kamy Patterson said, “I love knowing how the work going on at the Capitol is going to impact the lives of my students and the opportunity to share my thoughts and experiences with our state leadership.” 

The day ended with some well-deserved fun for these hard-working educators. We bowled at Showbiz Cinemas and the educator’s were encouraged to bring their children to join in the fun. A great and productive day was had by all and I am thankful for the participation and support of so many educators from across the state. 

It’s truly a team effort to make sure we do what is best for our students, and the work to continue to reform public school education in Oklahoma is far from over. I’m excited to partner with our state’s outstanding teachers to better serve our students, equip Oklahoma educators and make Oklahoma a Top 10 State for education.

Written By: Ryan Walters, Chief Executive Officer 

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