Education experts will come to the Ardmore Convention Center for a State of Education meeting next week.
Matt Holder, deputy superintendent of finance and federal programs at the State Department of Education, will give a presentation covering recent changes to public education and what might come in the future.
“He’s going to come down and talk about what’s going on with education currently,” Sarah Johnson, communication coordinator at the Ardmore Chamber of Commerce, said.
Then, local superintendents from Ardmore, Plainview, Lone Grove, Springer, Dickson, and Oak Hall, as well as administrators from Southern Tech and the University Center of Southern Oklahoma will give shorter presentations, highlighting changes in their schools and future plans.
“They’re our five (school districts) who are part of our Partners in Education,” Johnson said. “They’re all going to be coming and doing brief updates from a local perspective.”
At the conclusion of the presentations, speakers will sit at a table and answer questions one-on-one. Johnson said this presentation will not include a Q and A session.
“This is brand new, this is our first time, so we’re learning as we go,” Johnson said. “The two questions we get the most, for the chamber and the development authority, are about workforce and education.”
Johnson said the two issues are closely linked, and while the chamber has always focused on education, it’s become more of a focal point for the organization’s members over time.
“What does our workforce need, and what are our schools providing to prepare kids for the next step of college or work?” Johnson said. “Everybody’s passionate, everybody wants to support education, but unless you have a kid in school or you’re in school yourself, you don’t know necessarily what’s going on.”
Johnson said the Ardmore Development Authority’s workforce study released last year revealed a deep need for education in the city.
“This is something we’ve wanted to do for a while,” Johnson said. “We’ve always worked with our school districts, we’ve done teacher appreciation, but we want that knowledge to leave those meeting doors and get out to everybody. Employers, parents, citizens in general.”
Attendees must RSVP by 5 p.m. today by contacting Johnson at sjohnson@ardmore.org or (580)223-7765. Admission is $20 per person or $250 per table sponsorship. The event will run from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on January 28 at the Ardmore Convention Center.