LAWTON, OK (KSWO) -On Thursday, State Schools Superintendent Joy Hofmeister was in Lawton to visit a local elementary school that has made vast improvements in their rating on the state's A-though F grading system...during her time here she also made stops at other Lawton schools.
She focused on students, and different teaching methods teachers use every day. She said she was proud of what Lawton Public Schools has achieved. She made her first stop at Hugh Bish Elementary School.
"Oh my gosh! What an honor. We knew she was going to be in town for a luncheon we were invited and the thing I knew I had a call that she selected to visit Hugh Bish for their amazing turn around in efforts. So, we were privileged, honored and we wanted her to see what we do here," said Havron.
Last year Hugh Bish made the biggest improvement, by jumping from an 'F' to a 'B'. Principal Sherry Havron said she was very proud of her students.
"The changes we made it wasn't no I in team things couldn't not have happen without a shared vision which we immediately came together and decided on things that needed to be done. We had special training and we went to work and our kids went to work," said Havron.
"Well this a school for a great example and a model for what can happen when the leaders work to study the new information about the students and really focus on students individually and then build the kind of support system so that the teachers are having conversations with the principal about instruction and they are building that capacity for instruction as well as learning and we have seen that from some kind of collaboration of real improvement for student learning and you feel if when you walk in the building," said Hofmeister.
Hofmeister said it was very inspirational visiting Hugh Bish and praised the principal, teachers and students for their hard work.
"What you see there is a principal who has engaged the community and she is also really supportive of the teachers. There is a great culture built that is focused on students on raising higher outcomes for kids and you see that happening because of the engaged community of family," said Hofmeister.
Hofmeister made her next stop at the Lawton Rotary Club at Cameron University where she discussed new goals and an 8-year plan for education. Some of those goals included scoring among the top 20 states in the nation for the highest performance on The National Assessment of Educational Progress.
Another was ensuring that 100 percent pf students in grades 6 through 12 develop a useful and meaningful Individual Career Academic Plan.
"Long term goals where we focus on how do we achieve where Oklahoma kids are receiving a competitive education so they can hit the ground running after high school and move into college or into a career tech program with high skill, high industry certifications. We don't want them to need remediation when they leave so part of the plan is to raise the standards and high goals and we have done that and we are now going to work to provide the support and the resources so that we achieve those and in the end so that are kids are ready to beat and meet their own goals and aspirations," said Hofmeister.
Overall her main goal is to focus on the students which is something she is passionate about.
"It starts with a competitive education one where it's fully funded one where they have a teacher in every classroom and one who is trained and given the support they need to stay in Oklahoma. So, we got to solve the teacher shortage so that we can meet the needs of students," said Hofmeister.
Hofmeister also visited Eisenhower High School. They were recognized as a National School of Character for having a positive impact on academic achievement, student behavior, and school goals. She said the achievement sets the bar high.
"Well it's so excited to recognize Eisenhower for school of character award. They are being recognized nationally. This shows that there really is a direct correlation with strong character thinking of others and leadership and how that can impact student learning and increase student outcomes," said Hofmeister.
Eisenhower is the only school in Southwest Oklahoma to receive the honor. On Thursday, the school held a pep rally to celebrate. Lawton City leaders where there and got to ask students questions about character development, and their goals. The celebration was also streamed live on Facebook.
Eisenhower Senior William Jones has been involved with several activities and programs at the school including the National Day of Character Initiative. Jones said today was one to remember.
"There is a lot going on in my mind right now really proud of our students and staff because here at Eisenhower we are huge big family. Our teachers and students stay way past school and put in that work on what it takes to become a National Day of Character," said Jones.
Lawton Public School officials are working to have MacArthur High School recognized as a School of Character next.