Jenks Board of Education Continues Work to Improve Student Experience

Contributing Writer

DEDICATED TEAM: The Jenks board of education, from left are Vice President Chuck Forbes, Member Melissa Abdo, President Ron Barber, Member Tracy Kennedy and Member Terry Keeling.

Photo Courtesy Jenks Public Schools

The Jenks Public School Board of Education is comprised of community leaders dedicated to providing the community with the best education possible. Members work tirelessly with the state to ensure Jenks community values are upheld and the well-being of every child’s education is intact and prospering.

“I think we’re off to an excellent start,” said Board President Ron Barber. “We want to continue to improve the educational experience for our students.”

Barber, along with Board Vice President Chuck Forbes and Board Members Tracy Kennedy, Terry Keeling and Melissa Abdo, seek to provide students with opportunity for success. Last year, the board implemented a schedule change to increase effectiveness in the school day.

“We’re still making adjustments to some class schedules, but we’re really happy with how things are going. When you change the school day, there’s a period of time that requires adjustment for bus schedules, traffic patterns and people’s work schedules, so we’re having to get accustomed to those changes,” Barber said.

In addition to the new schedule, the Jenks Public School system has not been immune to the teacher shortage in Oklahoma. Still, the board is working with the state to improve education for students despite the challenges.

“Compensation (for teachers) goes a long way and we thankfully got some help from our legislature this last year. We’ve had a migration of teachers into our state, primarily for compensation purposes,” explained Barber. “Teachers go where they feel like they can be the most effective and, of course, working on class sizes is a function of that. Working hand in hand with the state and lawmakers to promote changes in the state budget is important. That’ll go a long way to help draw teachers back to the state.”

A primary goal is to find ways to create smaller class sizes while providing attractive compensation for prospective teachers.

“We want to see continued improvement in our overall student achievement. We want to work closely with our state lawmakers to continue to work on funding issues. We need smaller class sizes to continue to meet the needs of our students; that’s true all over the state, but especially so at Jenks,” Barber said.

In their efforts, members of the board work as a team, utilizing one another’s strengths and upholding their shared belief in the community.

“This is my 12th year on the school board and I enjoy seeing the progress that we make each year and the innovation and technology that’s being utilized to enhance the students’ educational experience. We have amazing and incredibly dedicated people at Jenks. I enjoy seeing the changes and the progress that we make each year,” Barber said.

On Oct. 31, the school board will be hosting its annual Board Showcase. During this showcase, board members will pile onto a bus and make their way to every school in the district, meeting the students and engaging the education community.

“We sit in meetings and stuff is brought to us, but it’s good for us to get out and be involved and see what’s going on. I think we have one of the best school boards as far as prospective skill, background and experience goes, it’s really a good mix of school board members,” said Barber.

This event is open to the public so anyone interested in learning more about the Jenks Public School District and the Board of Education is welcome to join.

Updated 10-16-2018

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