Once a year, Broken Arrow and Union athletes set aside the rivalry and compete for a common cause. A cure for Multiple Sclerosis.
The 6th Annual Strike Out MS is Saturday, Feb. 24, as the Tigers and Redskins varsity baseball and softball teams take to their respective Broken Arrow High School playing fields to scrimmage at noon. The varsity baseball game will be followed by junior varsity scrimmages at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Event activities include a “Fun Zone” that features face painting and interactive games, an information booth about MS and a “Gate Contest” to see which school’s team can raise the most money in gate donations for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Several high school organizations are scheduled to participate in Saturday's event as well.
A concession stand offering grilled hot dogs and hamburgers also will be available.
Tiger Baseball Coach Shannon Dobson – whose brother Matt, a former coach and teacher at Union, suffers from MS – organized the first “Strike Out MS in 2013. The previous events raised an average of nearly $2,000 each year for the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
In response to icy conditions across the western part of the state, the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association has postponed all regional basketball games one day.
Broken Arrow girls will play at Westmoore on Friday at 8 p.m. The girls regional final is now scheduled for 1:30 p.m. at Westmoore.
The boys regional games, originally scheduled for Tiger Field House on Friday, will now be played Saturday evening at 6:30 and 8. Bartlesville will face Stillwater in the first game. The No. 1-ranked Tigers will take on Ponca City in the second game. The regional final will be played Monday at 7 p.m.
Friday's first day of the OSSAA State Wrestling Championships has been delayed an hour. The first session will now begin at 10:30 a.m.
In support of its ongoing literacy efforts, Broken Arrow Public Schools (BAPS) is joining with school districts from across the nation to celebrate Read Across America Feb. 26 to March 2. This weeklong event focuses on promoting the importance of reading and remembering one of the most beloved children’s authors of all time, Dr. Seuss.
“A few years ago, the district released a mantra, or guiding principle – literacy, engagement and graduation for every student,” said BAPS Superintendent Dr. Janet Dunlop. “Broken Arrow educators truly understand that literacy is the key to student achievement and are committed to providing students with a variety of opportunities that lead them to success.”
Sponsored nationally by the National Education Association and locally by the Broken Arrow Education Association (BAEA), Read Across America engages students of all ages in a number of reading activities. In Broken Arrow, these activities include listening to volunteer guest readers and attending family literacy nights.
“It is so important to foster a love of reading at an early age,” said Katy Cook, BAEA vice president, Leisure Park Elementary teacher. “At some point during school, students switch from learning to read to reading to learn, and it’s important to keep them engaged. Everyone, no matter their age, can enjoy books – either by reading or listening to them.”
Among those reading to younger students during Read Across America week are volunteer readers, high school students, athletic teams and many others.
“Reading is the most important skill we can teach our students, but we have to teach the skill in fun and creative ways,” Dunlop said. “When students see upperclassmen, parents, friends, staff and community leaders taking time to focus on reading, I think that sends a powerful message.”
Read Across America is only one of many literacy initiatives the district has adopted. Others include Reading Recovery, Literacy First, Read 180, AMP Reading System and small group intervention with highly qualified reading teachers.
“In Broken Arrow, we have more than 18,000 students, and each comes with unique needs when it comes to literacy,” Dunlop said. “Once a child learns to read, all of the other doors of opportunity fly open.”
Anyone interested in volunteering their time can sign up to be a guest reader in a classroom within the district. Readers are needed at all times throughout the school day, so volunteers should simply contact the main office at any school site to schedule an appointment.
Broken Arrow Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Janet Dunlop is currently serving as a mentor alongside eight superintendents from across the nation at a peer-to-peer crisis recovery workshop called the Hurricane Harvey Project in Corpus Christi.
“We often experience loss, however, this year our district experienced unfathomable tragedy with the loss of many members of our Broken Arrow family,” Dunlop said. “While no two tragic events are the same, the lessons and successes in providing support for our students, staff and community put us in a unique position to mentor other school leaders should a similar trauma occur.”
Held by the US Department of Health and Human Services, this project addresses the mental health and logistical needs that exist following tragic events, school violence or natural disasters.
“We are sharing best practices in prevention and care of our students and families,” she said. “In addition to sharing our district’s experiences, I’m learning from other superintendents who have experienced devastating natural disasters, school shootings and other school tragedies.
“The peer-to-peer dialogue brought to the table has been invaluable, and although I hope our district never has to experience another tragedy, it’s important to make sure our safety procedures stay up-to-date. The wellbeing of our students and staff is, without question, our highest priority.”
More information about the district’s emergency protocol can be found at www.baschools.org/emergency.
All seven of Broken Arrow High School’s National Merit semifinalists were recently honored as finalists for their prestigious academic accomplishments.
Mason Bishop, Hunter Janway, Edward Lambert, Jacob Mattke, Easton Moore, Darren Nguyen and Jake Wilcoxen are among approximately 15,000 students from across the nation who qualified and are some of the highest scoring students in the state of Oklahoma.
“There aren’t many words to describe how incredibly proud I am of these seven students,” Broken Arrow Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Janet Dunlop said. “The level of hard work and commitment they have shown is admirable and a source of inspiration for our younger students.”
Established in 1955, the National Merit Scholarship Program is a long-standing academic competition for recognition and scholarships. High school students enter the National Merit Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which serves as an initial screen of nearly 1.5 million entrants each year.
From there, 34,000 students are commended and 16,000 semifinalists are chosen. Every year in February, 15,000 finalists are chosen based on their abilities, skills and accomplishments.
“Attaining the honor of being named a National Merit Finalist is the culmination of many months and years of hard work on the part of these students and a title which they will be able to carry proudly throughout their lives,” Burns said. “Our school is proud of their accomplishments and will hold their example up to current and future students to show what may be possible when students are willing to work hard and challenge themselves to be their very best."
From March to mid-June, approximately 8,000 students will be selected to receive a scholarship award, which includes National Merit Scholarships as well as corporate- and college-sponsored scholarships.
For more information about the National Merit Scholarship Competition, please visit www.nationalmerit.org.
Broken Arrow Public Schools is partnering with the University of Oklahoma (OU) to conduct an online survey for parents with 9-12 grade students from Feb. 19 through March 2. This 10-minute survey will monitor parent, teacher and student satisfaction with Broken Arrow High School and the Freshman Academy while also helping to identify improvement opportunities.
“We are committed to serving our students, teachers and families. The information received in these surveys will allow us to strategically pinpoint opportunities for improvement with regard to student achievement, social and emotional support, and overall school culture,” BAPS Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Education Dr. Margaret Coates said.
The survey is completely confidential. District administrators are encouraging parents to check their inboxes for an email sent from OU on Feb. 19.
“We truly appreciate the honest feedback as this will allow us to serve our school family appropriately,” Coates said.
Should you not receive the email, please contact Broken Arrow High School or the Freshman Academy to make sure your email address is up-to-date.