The Oklahoma State School Boards Association selected two organizations that exhibited a strong commitment to their school districts and public education as the recipients of the 2022 Barbara Lynch Community Partner Award – North Tulsa Community Education Task Force and Seaboard Foods.
Both organizations exhibited extraordinary passion for their school districts, providing outreach opportunities, furthering important educational initiatives and programs, and advocating for education. Partnering with their school districts, North Tulsa Community Education Task Force and Seaboard Foods proved they are a collaborative member of their community and improved the lives of the students, teachers, and staff in their schools, as well as those that live in their community.
“Community organizations like North Tulsa Community Education Task Force and Seaboard Foods are vital to school districts,” OSSBA Executive Director Shawn Hime said. “They help build strong relationships between the district and its community, provide opportunities for community involvement, and are steadfast supporters of their students, teachers and schools.”
North Tulsa Community Education Task Force and Seaboard Foods will be recognized this weekend at the annual OSSBA/CCOSA Education Leadership Conference. They will be honored alongside the five-member OSSBA All-State Board and the recipient of the OSSBA Distinguished Service Award.
Comprised of community members, parents, student advocates and educators, the North Tulsa Community Education Task Force brings the Tulsa community together in support of the district and its students. Created in 2018, members worked with the school district to develop a recommendation to present to the Tulsa Board of Education on designing a McLain feeder pattern.
“Through this extensive collaboration, we have an opportunity to begin to create stronger academic and extra-curricular programming for our students while reducing the number of transitions that they have throughout their time in school,” said Tulsa schools Superintendent Deborah Gist. “The most powerful thing that can happen in a school is when people rally behind it and believe that its students and teachers can achieve the extraordinary. With a unified middle school experience in the McLain feeder pattern, all students will have access to specialized programs that create exceptional learning experiences.”
After reviewing data, touring facilities, researching successful school models, and gaining community and student input, the task force presented its recommendation to the Tulsa Board of Education. In 2019, the Tulsa Board of Education unanimously approved the task force’s suggestion to turn the 7th-grade center into Monroe Demonstration Academy, the only middle school feeder for McLain High School. In January 2019, the task force presented a set of recommendations for how to best serve students in McLain feeder pattern schools, which included the expansion of Monroe Demonstration Academy to serve all 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students in the feeder pattern.
The new McLain feeder pattern now filters seven elementary schools into Monroe Demonstration Academy then onto McLain High School. The task force continues to be a driving force for education in the North Tulsa area, providing support through recruiting substitute teachers, tutoring and mentoring, and advocating on behalf of schools.
Serving the Guymon school district with a diverse student population, Seaboard Foods ensures a positive school environment with community outreaches, volunteer opportunities and donations.
“Seaboard Foods and its employees are strong supporters of Guymon Public Schools. They are committed to building a valued partnership between the Guymon community and its schools,” Superintendent Dixie Purdy said. “Not only have Seaboard Foods employees volunteered their time to help our students with career readiness, but they have also donated school supplies, food, and other necessities.”
Seaboard Foods is active in the Guymon community with employees volunteering to read to and with Guymon elementary students, mentoring and providing career presentations at intermediate sites and working with the district to bridge the home and school language barrier. They sponsor homecoming tailgates, buy tickets to school athletic events for the community to attend for free and sponsor culture events to celebrate the diversity of the community and district.
Working closely with Seaboard Foods Vice President and General Manager Rick Sappington and Human Resources Director Jennie Watkins have helped Guymon reduce dropout rates and have helped provide solutions to secondary students navigating working for the company and earning a high school diploma. Created in honor of Barbara Lynch, who served on the Tulsa Technology Center Board of Education from 1986 to 2003, the community partner award honors organizations and businesses that go above and beyond for their schools. A committee of school board members that serve on the OSSBA Board of Directors reviews nominees and selects award recipients.