Enid Public Schools officials have developed a plan to better meet the needs of Pre-Advanced Placement students at the middle school level.
Superintendent Dr. Darrell Floyd will recommend, and Board of Education members are expected to approve, the hiring of up to nine additional teachers during Monday night’s regularly scheduled board meeting. The additional staff will allow the district to again offer Pre-AP classes at all three middle schools in language arts, social studies and science without combining Pre-AP classes with traditional classes. Math classes remain divided and will not require a change.
This revised plan (option 3) comes on the heels of parent concerns that the middle school Pre-AP program would not be rigorous enough or have the proper focus, if combined with other classes. Original changes to the program were a result of $1.7 million in district revenue losses and expected revenue losses over the past two years, due the state budget crisis.
“We want parents to know that we have listened to parent feedback over the last several days and certainly understand their concerns,” Floyd said. “Although this will require us to spend additional funds out of our fund balance during difficult financial times, we do not want to compromise academic excellence and rigor or compromise parental trust in our school system. This re-implementation of the effective middle school Pre-AP program, that has previously been in place, will create a positive environment for both students and the teachers. It also helps maintain one of our key programs of rigor that serve as one of the many reasons parents might choose EPS to educate their children.”
District officials acknowledge that Oklahoma’s teacher shortage might make it challenging to hire more teachers on a short timeline; however, they are committed to making every effort to do so, Floyd said. In anticipation of the openings, the new positions have already been posted and advertised across the state. Once teachers are hired, a transition timeline will be communicated to all middle school parents.
“Our plan is to move forward as quickly as possible while focusing on the quality of the program and the quality of instruction,” Floyd said. “Upon additional teachers being able to be hired, the middle school principals will determine appropriate teacher assignments for both Pre-AP and regular classes. Our goal would be to re-implement this program within the next three to six weeks, but some of that will be determined by the district being able to hire the proper number of additional teachers – and how quickly that can be accomplished.”
Preliminary revisions of the middle school master schedules to include Pre-AP sections have already begun, and – if the change is approved – course schedules for students will need to be revised. Counselors and principals will try to minimize disruptions for students and still offer them the electives of their choice, whenever possible.
Until the Pre-AP classes can be re-implemented, families still may choose the integrated classroom setting (option 1) or the online coursework setting through Edgenuity (option 2). Edgenuity provides computer instruction completed during the school day with supervision and with the support of a certified teacher for enrichment opportunities.
“Then, when we get the additional teachers hired, we are happy to again be able to offer middle school Pre-AP courses in the setting previously offered by EPS,” Floyd said, referring to option 3.