Thursday, August 20, 2015
OKLAHOMA CITY (Aug. 20, 2015) – Five community organizations are forming a new partnership to support improvements of Oklahoma City Public Schools, the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber announced at its annual State of the Schools Luncheon on Thursday, Aug. 20. The new collaboration, which will be called the Oklahoma City Schools Compact, will include the Oklahoma City Public Schools, the City of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma City Public Schools Foundation, United Way of Central Oklahoma and the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber.
“Oklahoma City’s future success depends on today’s students,” said Teresa Rose, vice chair of education and workforce development for the Chamber. “We are creating the Compact to ensure educational success in our community for today, for the next decade and for generations to come. This is the smartest investment we can make for the future of Oklahoma City.”
The Compact will operate as a collective impact model, which occurs as organizations from different sectors agree to solve specific community challenges under a common agenda. The organizations will align their efforts and use common measures of success.
The Oklahoma City Schools Compact will have a board similar to the MAPS 3 Trust. The board will oversee a group of committees that will guide the creation of programs and projects that will improve student performance and support programs that achieve the goals of the district.
“The Chamber provided our district with critical information from a communitywide survey conducted last year that allowed us to benchmark the strengths and weaknesses of our district,” said Robert Neu, superintendent of Oklahoma City Public Schools. “We followed that information with an intense period of learning called the Great Conversation. All of that information has allowed us to create a strategic plan known as ‘The Great Commitment,’ which will not only give us direction, but also the ability to measure our success on each initiative. The clear goals tied to our strategic plan will guide the activities of the Compact.”
Representatives of the Compact stressed that the formation of this group does not change how the district is governed. The school board elected by the people will decide policy and make decisions – as they always have. The Compact’s mission is to create, stimulate, promote and drive community ownership of Oklahoma City Public Schools and its outcomes.
“Our community has shown its commitment to education in the past through our MAPS for Kids investment in our schools. Our commitment to the education of our youth is an ongoing one,” said Mayor Mick Cornett, City of Oklahoma City. “As business leaders, parents and members of the community, we must educate ourselves on the issues facing our schools and be part of a solution to create positive change.”
“No school or district can be successful on its own,” Mary Mélon, president and CEO of the Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools, added. “It will take a concerted effort and a sense of ownership on the part of the community to create sustainable change and improvements for our students. While there is no silver bullet for success in education, we believe that our combined efforts to ensure success for every student will be far more powerful than each organization working alone.”
“We recognize that Oklahoma City’s kids are facing problems beyond what can be solved in the classroom,” said Debby Hampton, CEO and president of the United Way of Central Oklahoma. “The United Way and its partner agencies have the resources and the knowledge to address those needs and better prepare our children to succeed as students.”
Under the existing framework of its mission, the Compact will finalize the details, formalize its efforts and begin its work in the coming months. Partnering opportunities will be available for additional organizations, businesses and individuals to provide resources as the group works to ensure that students are prepared for the workplace and/or higher education. All of the Compact’s work will be transparent and tied to clearly-defined accountability goals.
“We are seeing real momentum in the Oklahoma City Public School District, and this Compact is designed to support that existing momentum,” said Rose. “We will certainly celebrate the success of the district, but we will not ignore the improvements that need to be made. The Compact and its members are prepared to provide strong and consistent assistance to the school district as it pursues its goals.”
For more information on the Compact, contact Drew Dugan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 297-8940.