EngageOK On The Road made a stop in Lawton to instruct a day of professional development for school districts across southwest Oklahoma. Lawton Public Schools hosted the event at Lawton High School.
Dr. Jason James, Assistant Superintendent at Lawton Public Schools (LPS), says EngageOK is a time for the State Department of Education to get their message out.
“Engage Oklahoma is a professional development opportunity for local teachers that’s put on by the State Department of Education,'' Dr. James said. “They travel around the state and ask different school districts to host them so they can get their message out to the teachers and make it more convenient for the teachers.”
EngageOK held over one hundred courses for teachers and administration. Topics included reading, school safety, curriculum standards and many other topics. The instructors were all from the State Department of Education.
This is the first year since 2019 that EngageOK has hit the road since the Covid-19 pandemic. Executive Director of Events & External Relations for the State Department of Education,
Justin Newton, says being in person is more impactful for those attending.
“2020 and 2021 we had to do it virtually,” Newton said. We were still able to reach a lot of people, but it’s just so much more impactful and meaningful to be able to be in a room of people sharing ideas and networking.”
Offering the conference on the road gives them a chance to reach more school districts across the state. The instructors are able to update the school districts on the latest practices and information.
“We have high schools, like Lawton Public Schools here, that graciously host us for the day and we’re able to see thousands more teachers for a lower cost,'' Newton said. We’re able to offer over a hundred sessions everyday.”
The conference is a great opportunity for teachers and staff to learn how things are working across the state from the top education officials.
“It’s just a great opportunity for teachers in the southwest part of Oklahoma to come hear the message directly from the state's top educational leaders,” Dr. James said. Superintendent Hofmeister comes and brings her entire staff and then her staff informs all the teachers who volunteer to come to this professional development day.”
A student panel was also held at the conference featuring students from the LPS district. Students were able to answer questions submitted by teachers and staff attending the conference.
“One of my favorite parts of EngageOK on the road is the student panel,” Newton said. “The students this morning were just so inspiring and it's completely invaluable to get that feedback to as many teachers as we can.”
EngageOK will continue across the state of Oklahoma for the remainder of July.