Unit Meetings are where League action starts! If you are looking for a great way to meet other League members and discuss issues important to Tulsa and our nation, you’ve found the right place!
June 2015 Unit Meeting Schedule:
– The Mid-Day Unit will meet on Tuesday, June 16th at 11:30 am at the League office. The topic will be “The Extension of Vision 2025 – Is this a good idea? What projects would do you think should be given priority?” Please read this article for reference purposes in order to contribute to the discussion.
– The Breakfast Unit meets on June 23rd at 7:00 am at the Bramble – 331 East 2nd St.
July 2015 Unit Meeting Schedule:
– The Mid-Day Unit will meet on Tuesday, July 21st at 11:30 am at the League office. The topic will be “The Extension of Vision 2025 – Is this a good idea? This meeting will continue the conversation from last month’s meeting.
– The Breakfast Unit meets on July 28th at 7:00 am. They are sampling various breakfast venues this summer and will meet at Dilly Diner – 402 E. 2nd St.
* During the summer months the North Tulsa Unit is not meeting.
Want to know who makes the League special? We’ve started an initiative to feature our membership on our “Meet the Member Mondays” blog series. Check back often to learn more about our members, see the diversity of our membership and see why they think the League’s work is important.
Name: Karen Cardenas
Day job: Retired, but volunteer quite a bit. I am also a grant reviewer for the U.S. Department of Education.
3 words to describe you: curious, outspoken, caring
Why you are involved with the League: To learn about important issues and to help more people vote
My favorite experience with LWV has been: working at naturalization ceremonies.
On the weekend, you can find me: Sleeping in on Saturday, cooking for the week, church on Sunday followed by a long nap.
Favorite Tulsa restaurant: Café’ Ole’
Favorite vacation destination: Hood Canal in Washington State
People would be surprised to know: That I can still bite my own toenails. Actually that’s not true. There is nothing surprising about me!
Words to live by: From the great philosopher Bruce Springsteen: “Nobody wins until everybody wins.”
If your day had 25 hours, what would you use the extra hour for: Either reading or working word puzzles while watching mindless television.
One item you can’t leave home without: Kleenex & cell phone
Favorite meal: almost anything Mexican
Beverage of choice: Coffee, strong & black
Who is your hero: My mother
Biggest pet peeve: People who don’t use turn signals
What makes you laugh: Jon Stewart; the folks on “Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me”
Best movie seen/book read lately: All the Light We Cannot See
What should be taught in school that isn’t currently: I don’t really know what’s being taught but the lesson about the importance of voting is not being learned.
Favorite Tulsa activity: Going to movies at Circle Cinema
One word to describe Tulsa: Enigmatic
In an effort to better acquaint Tulsa citizens with their elected officials, the League has launched a “Getting to Know” initiative. Today, we are featuring Kevin Matthews, who was elected to State Senate District 11 in April of this year.
What will the Senate agenda be for 2015? My 2015 & 2016 agenda remains: prison and legal reform (incarceration reintegration), Education, Economic Development, & Public Safety.
What 3 changes will citizens see under your leadership as (office)? Three changes citizens will see under my leadership: A) Constant access informing constituents of legislative activity i.e. Monthly forums, radio, news releases, social media, speaking, and presence in businesses in the district. B) Large focus on Economic Development-Entrepreneurship & Cooperative Economics. C) Youth Development and mentorship of future leaders.
What is the biggest issue that Tulsa is facing? Biggest issue Tulsa is facing is no sustainable tax funding for the City. Sales tax is too volatile as a funding source.
What about Tulsa makes you the most proud? I am proud that Tulsa is the home of Greenwood once known as the Black Wallstreet of America, and Tulsa has produced many world renown scholars, entertainers, and athletes.
Why did you choose to pursue public office? I ran for office because I felt that I had raised two sons in my home, now my responsibility becomes the community, City, and State, they and their friends may have to live in.
On the weekend, you can find me: On the weekends you can find me at the barbershop, a restaurant in the district, a community event or a movie.
What is your favorite spot in Tulsa? The Greenwood District or Mohawk golf course.
What songs would be find on your playlist? You can always find “Uncle Charlie” Charlie Wilson and Tulsa Gap band music on my playlist.
If your day had 25 hours, what would you use the extra hour for: If I had 25 hours a day my 25th hour would be used reading more biographies of people I admire that I didn’t know, and writing letters and poems to people I do know.
Words to live by: Words to live by: Live, Love, and Leave a Legacy.
By Dr. Keith Ballard, Superintendent, Tulsa Public Schools
I am optimistic about education in Oklahoma. In my seven years at Tulsa Public Schools, we have made great progress. In 2008, I joined a district that had, in many respects, lost its way. We had buildings in poor repair and classrooms that had fallen behind the times. Our children were not getting the education they deserved – but I believe we have done a lot to remedy that.
Our district’s relationship with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – one of only eight districts nationally – paved the way for our successful Teacher & Leader Effectiveness initiative. With this work, we have proven that the secret to success is having an effective teacher in every classroom and an effective leader in every building. Another outcome was the development of the Tulsa Model, our teacher evaluation system, which has been adopted by more than 500 school districts and career tech centers in Oklahoma. This has helped us to exit ineffective teachers and improved quality in the classroom.
Project Schoolhouse, which resulted in the closing of 14 schools in 2011, demonstrated we had the strength and fortitude to shutter buildings that were under capacity and under-utilized. We collaborated with the community to make hard choices that helped restore equity in programming for our students. Not only did we find nearly $5 million in savings, but we were able to add 22 art, music and P.E. teachers in order to give our children more. We also reorganized middle schools and reformulated Will Rogers as a College High School, enabling students to earn college credit at TCC while in high school.
Along the way, we passed three significant bond issues, two of which were the largest ever in the state’s history, at $354 million (in 2010), and the most recent at $415 million. The triumphant passage of the latest bond in March was a resounding victory, with all four propositions passing by 85 percent approval. This greatly exceeded the supermajority required by law, and is proof positive that Tulsans believe that TPS is moving in the right direction.
With this support, we will provide every student with a laptop, desktop or tablet. This will level economic disparities and close the technology gap for all students.
We will construct storm shelters in all future building additions that will double as libraries or classroom space.
We will create a centralized Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Center to ensure all students have the skills critical to participating in tomorrow’s workforce.
Last, we will reimagine Emerson Elementary as a downtown-serving school, doubling it in size and providing another option for families living and working in our city center.
We’ve formed amazing partnerships along the way, enabling us to better serve children. Our partnership with Teach For America has enabled us to get these young people into our classrooms who want to make a difference. TFA has helped us to vastly improve participation and results in our summer program. They have been critical in helping us to fill teacher vacancies during the teacher shortage.
Other great partnerships include the Growing Together initiative in the Kendall-Whittier community, City Year, Reading Partners and our many active corporate helpers in Partners in Education. (I have personally witnessed the power of Reading Partners through my own tutoring, and would encourage everyone to do it!) Thanks, also, to our supportive donor community. I am humbled to serve in such an extraordinary, generous community.
There have been many other successes, and I cannot possibly name them all. As I get ready to leave this job, which has been one of the most fulfilling in my life, I feel like I am leaving things in good hands. I have had the pleasure of working with one of the most supportive boards a superintendent could ever have. My thanks to all who have given so generously of their time.
I would like to leave you with one passing thought. Please help TPS to stay the course as we continue to fight the good fight. Ignore the naysayers and those intent on doing harm to the public school system.
In spite of my optimism, I have many concerns: Concerns about the inadequate funding of public education, the teacher shortage and teacher pay. I share parent concerns about over-testing of our students and the high-stakes testing that determines a student’s fate with a single test.
Let’s give our students at public schools our very best. If we have the political will to give them our very best, then public schools will not only succeed, but flourish.