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Larry Johnson

February, 2019

I would like to alert the public to a growing concern in education.  Virtual charter or “online” schools have been in operation in Oklahoma since 2011.  Although they do provide an educational resource for some students and parents, it is my opinion that they fail many more families than they help. 

Anecdotally, having served as a public school administrator for the past 22 years, I have seen many of our students leave the public school to go to virtual school, only to return to us later with little or no credits.  It has taken years to get this information, but we are finally hearing actual figures for virtual schools’ success or lack thereof.

Here are some of the major problems that I and other public educators are seeing.  It is inexcusable for virtual schools to keep students on their class rolls (for the money) until the last day of testing and then drop them because the students have not tested.  We now know that less than 40% of virtual students are actually tested.  The state requires that public schools test at least 95% of our students.  Online schools should not be allowed to get away with that.

In addition, online graduation rates are finally being exposed.  Virtual schools also graduate less than 40% of their student population.  That's terrible!  Any public school that did that would be closed.

Public schools' graduation rates are also harmed because when the virtual students return to public school, they are almost always behind in credits and can't graduate on time.  This makes public schools’ graduation rates much lower because the virtual schools didn't do their job.

Virtual schools also receive the same funding per pupil that public schools do even though online schools don’t have to pay for “brick and mortar” buildings to have class, buses for transportation, cafeteria workers, custodians, and the list goes on.  Why should they receive the same funding when their overhead is much, much less?  This only takes funding away from public school students. 

Finally, it should be very telling when teachers sign a contract to work for one particular Oklahoma online school, they are required to sign a NON-DISCLOSURE agreement about their business practices.  These "for profit" organizations apparently have much to hide.

Parents, if you have children currently enrolled in a virtual school, I hope you thoroughly scrutinize the services that you are being provided.  Please don’t let your student fall between the cracks.  And, if you are considering using an online school for your child, please ask lots of questions about their ACTUAL graduation rates, school testing rates and dropout procedures.

House members will soon be voting on two bills requiring greater inquiry of virtual schools.  I urge you to contact your legislators and ask them to vote, "yes" on House Bills 1395 and 1229.  I apologize for the rant but our children’s education is too important to ignore.

Respectfully,

Larry R. Johnson, Superintendent

Burns Flat-Dill City Public Schools

 

 

November 7, 2018

Well, they did it again.  Our high school girls’ cross country team has won the State Academic Championship for the fourth consecutive year.  What an amazing feat!  Obviously, we want our athletic teams to do well but it is extremely satisfying to see our students flourish academically too.  I want to commend our faculty as well as these students’ parents on a job well done in support of these young ladies.

Our high school football team is also to be congratulated for making the playoffs for the first time since 2007.  After playing a very difficult non-conference schedule, they were able to finish in third place in the district. I appreciate how well they have represented us throughout this season.

I am excited to announce that after providing our 9th-12th graders with laptops for use in English and Math classes last year, we have just acquired new chromebooks for grades 4, 5 and 6.  New testing requirements will demand that from 4th grade on up, students must perform state testing on computers.  Paper/pencil testing is no longer permitted.  This purchase will allow our students to better prepare for testing. 

During the past year, our teachers have been receiving professional development in Google Classroom.  This system helps educators to better provide instruction to students as well as allow our students to learn and use improved technology.  Our overall plan is to purchase more chromebooks over the next few years until every student in grades 4 – 12 has their own laptop for school use.

Previously, our school has used Apple Ipads intermittently throughout the district.  These Ipads are now being provided to our primary classes, grades PK-3, because they are much easier to operate for young students.

Keeping up with technology is very important in today’s society.  The students of today are tomorrow’s workforce.  They must have every opportunity to be prepared for the challenges to come.  We at BFDC Schools will constantly strive to provide those opportunities for our young people. 

Respectfully,

Larry R. Johnson, Superintendent

Burns Flat-Dill City Public Schools

 

 

September 11, 2018

First and foremost, we want to keep Mrs. Sass Balzer in our prayers as she undergoes therapy.  There are a variety of fundraisers taking place to help her.  I encourage everyone to give as they can.  She is certainly missed by us all.

Summer saw a great many projects completed at our school.  The hallways at the elementary and the high school were painted as well as the elementary gym and high school cafeteria.  The elementary asphalt playground also received a new top coat and all cracks were patched.

Restrooms at both sites were also painted.  The high school boys’ restrooms received new stalls while the elementary boys’ had new flooring installed.

The elementary cafeteria tables were replaced by the high school folding tables.  The high school cafeteria, meanwhile, has new 60” round tables.  This has created a much more welcoming atmosphere for our students.

For the first time in several years, our school was able to purchase new textbooks.  The state math curriculum has been changed and it is imperative that we stay up to date.  We are thankful that the state legislature has decided to once again provide some funding for textbooks.  However, the state funding ($28,895) we receive will only pay for about sixty percent of the math texts ($46,000) for our district. 

Obviously, the state funding does not include any aid for software programs that are critical for student preparation and remediation such as Accelerated Reader, Star Reading, Study Island, Reading Eggs and Edgenuity which total about $16,000.  We are hopeful that in the next session our legislators will find a way to fund all such essential study materials.

Staff morale has never been higher as our school year starts.  I’m sure that has a lot to do with the new pay scale.  As always, we will continue to provide the best education possible for your children.  If we can be of any service, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Respectfully,

Larry R. Johnson, Superintendent

Burns Flat-Dill City Public Schools

 

April 17, 2018

On April 2, 2018, the Oklahoma Education Association called for a statewide walkout of teachers.  This type of action had not happened since 1990.  The 1990 walkout lasted 4 days and not only provided some of the largest reforms to education in our state’s history, it also gave teachers a pay raise.  However, our legislature undid many of those reforms over the last ten years while our state failed to increase education funding as our student population rose steadily.  Ignoring our classroom needs has led to a critical teacher shortage, greater class sizes and insufficient funding to provide the basic needs of our students.

Incredibly, the last few weeks saw our legislature work on a bipartisan basis to levy the first tax increase by our legislature in 28 years.  In fact, 79 house members and 36 state senators voted to fund the largest teacher pay raise in state history (between $6,000 and $8,000 depending upon years of service).  We also appreciate the $1200 raise provided to support personnel.  Schools will also receive a minor amount to help pay for a portion of textbooks.  Textbook funding has gone unfunded for the past three years.

I greatly appreciate the BF-DC teachers for choosing to remain in school while we sent a group of representatives from each building to advocate at the capitol.  Seeing the throngs of teachers and parents encouraging our legislators to action each day warmed my heart.  I feel a strong majority of our public clearly sees how much our teachers care about their students.  Even though the legislature had already agreed to provide a pay raise, our teachers continued to lobby for nine days for more funds for our students.

I also appreciate the support given by our community for our staff.  The few negative comments were overwhelmed by countless positive remarks.  The BF-DC School Board should also be commended for taking action to support our teachers and staff.  

Regardless of how you might feel about the walkout, please understand that the recent actions of our legislature have been an amazing achievement to begin fixing the inattention from the past ten years.  This action is only a start and the continued support for education in Oklahoma is critical.  Our students need supplies, textbooks, computers and smaller class sizes just to name a few things.  Please join educators as we continue working to provide for the needs of our students.

Respectfully,

Larry R. Johnson, Superintendent

Burns Flat-Dill City Public Schools

 

 

A LETTER TO BFDC TEACHERS AND STAFF FROM YOUR SCHOOL BOARD:


We, as the School Board for Burns Flat-Dill City Public Schools, want to express our heartfelt appreciation to every teacher and staff member of our schools.
 

During a series of meetings in late March and early April, your superintendent, Larry Johnson, listened to your concerns and opinions, then gave you the opportunity to vote on the issue of closing our school and participating in the walkout. Your decision to maintain the orderly operation of our classrooms displayed the dedication to your students that we have always admired in you, as professional educators. Above all else, you truly love and serve the children. And for that, you are to be commended.
 

Each day of the walkout, you sent delegates to represent your very real and valid dissatisfaction with Oklahoma’s less-than-stellar leadership in education. The School Board and your administration supported those worthy goals and your right to make your voices heard. We were 100% behind you. It seemed that the communities of Burns Flat and Dill City also respected your voice and your needs. Their support for you seemed assured. At the same time, we observed and applauded the dignity and dedication with which you continued to do what you do best—set a good example for the students who look up to you.
 

We are proud of you. We are pleased with the positive outcomes for schools that resulted from your support of the walkout. We thank you for your role in affecting change without negatively impacting your students. We wish you all the best for the rest of this school year, and we will continue to support you as you pursue the best and most important career there is: Education.
 

Sincerely,
Jimmy Piercey, President
Brian Mooney, Vice-President
Jeffrey Headrick, Clerk
Jill Birdwell, Member
Marva Webb, Member

 

 

 

March 29, 2018

 

The Burns Flat-Dill City Faculty, Staff, Administration and School Board want to thank our community for the support they have given us regarding a potential teacher walk-out.  Your backing has encouraged the Oklahoma Legislature to begin steps to adequately fund education.  As a result, our teachers have voted to stay in school.  BF-DC Schools will remain open.  There will be no work-stoppage in our district.  

The recent legislation does give teachers and support personnel a much-needed salary increase.  However, funding of education in general has been stagnant for several years.  Funds to help educate students in the classroom are still a major concern.  For instance, the money returned to schools for textbooks only pays for a portion of the books purchased each year.  We do applaud the legislature for a great first step, but it is only a first step.  Others have to follow in order to provide our students with the best education possible.   Again, many thanks for all of your support.  Today is a great day to be an EAGLE!

 

Larry R. Johnson, Superintendent

Burns Flat-Dill City Public Schools

PO Box 129

306 HWY 44

Burns Flat, OK  73624

Office:  580-562-4844 x 100

 

 

 

 

March 8, 2018

 

 

I want to address the question regarding the day we missed for bad weather and whether or not we will make it up.  My general policy is that for each two days we miss; we will make one up.  So, at this point, we do not have to make up any days.

 

Concerning the old John Ross Elementary building, our board approved a bid for its demolition.  Hutton, Inc. from Elk City has started asbestos removal.  After the asbestos has been taken away, the building will be demolished and removed.  We have decided to keep the gymnasium for a baseball/softball hitting facility.  The bid was for $127,205.00 and except for our deductible of $2500, will be paid for by insurance.

 

At our last meeting, I informed the board that our legislature has ordered a 2% reduction across-the-board for all state agencies since they can't come up with a fully-funded budget.  That will decrease our state aid by approximately $13,000 this year.

 

I also spoke to the board regarding a potential walk-out by Oklahoma teachers.  I have always been resistant regarding a teacher walk-out.  I didn't strike in 1990 because I didn't feel it was the right thing to do.  However, times have drastically changed.  In 1990, Oklahoma didn't have the lowest teaching salary in the 50 states and wasn’t facing a devastating teacher shortage.  School districts are currently forced to cut staff in order to have enough money to operate.  Our teachers’ needs are continually ignored by a majority of the legislature and we are made to be scapegoats for the unwitting series of testing trials attempted by our state.  Teachers are frankly fed up with the promises made while no action takes place.  Meanwhile, all of these problems directly and substantially affect our children.

 

The BF-DC school board is solidly behind our teachers and staff.  They greatly respect how hard our staff works and understand the position in which the state has placed them.  None of us want to see a work stoppage take place but if a majority of staff members decide to rally, we may not have enough teachers to operate school. 

 

Our staff is well aware that this decision should not be made lightly.  Such an action would place considerable burdens upon families in our community.  I am hopeful that our community understands the necessity of what teachers are fighting for and will continue to support them.  I also hope that if a work stoppage takes place, it will be very short in duration.

 

I welcome any comments that you might have.  If you have questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to call or come by.  I will also do my best to keep you informed as to the decisions for our school district.  Thank you for all of your support!

 

Respectfully,

 

 

Larry R. Johnson, Superintendent

Burns Flat-Dill City Public Schools

 

February 2, 2018

The month of February is upon us. This month is when we generally see a spike in absenteeism at school due to illness.  The news of flu in Oklahoma this winter has been staggering.  The number of deaths associated with the flu virus has risen dramatically within the past week.  Experts say that 417 people had to be hospitalized within the last week due to the flu virus, bringing the total number of hospitalizations to 1,597 in our state.  During one day last week, BF-DC Schools had 11 teachers and 38 students out sick districtwide. 

According to the “Oklahoman”, the strain of flu going around is the H3-strain, which makes this year’s flu shot only 30-40 percent effective.  Despite those numbers, experts still suggest getting the vaccine, adding that it lessens the symptoms and prevents serious complications from occurring.  Doctors say a typical flu season in Oklahoma usually runs from October to May.

It can sometimes be difficult to determine when to keep your child home from school when they are feeling ill. There are three very easy questions you can use to help guide you in your decision making: (1) Does your child have a fever? (2) Does the illness cause your child to be in so much pain that he or she cannot concentrate? (3) Does your child have symptoms that disrupt activities or may cause your child to be significantly embarrassed by his or her peers (such as diarrhea) or disrupt the learning of your child’s peers (a hacking cough)? If the answer to any of these questions is ‘yes’, then please keep your child home and please remember to call the office and let them know the reason for the absence.  The CDC also recommends that you should not allow your child to go to school until they have been fever-free for at least 24 hours.

Just as the chance of illness, such as the flu, persists during the month of February, so does the chance of inclement weather and dangerous road conditions. The single best source for school closing and event cancellation information is our school’s “E-Notes” alert system.  I mentioned this system in a previous newsletter.  You are automatically signed up when you enroll your child.  However, if you have changed phone numbers, you should go to our school’s website and find the “E-Notes” tab to update your information. Without the correct contact information, the school can’t notify you of cancellations and postponements in a timely manner.

The BF-DC website, available at www.bfdc.k12.ok.us, will also supply this information.  We will have a front page banner that lets everyone know that school has been cancelled.

Until next month, please take your flu precautions and remember to evaluate your child’s health condition before sending them to school by answering the 3 simple questions in this article and please remember to update your “E-Notes” contact.

Stay warm and THINK SPRING!!!

Respectfully yours,

Larry R. Johnson, Superintendent

Burns Flat-Dill City Public School

 

 

 

 

Students and Patrons,

 

As we approach the end of this year, I would like to take a moment to reflect on a couple of major improvements within our school system.  First, is the addition of a new public address system at Will Rogers Elementary.  It is obviously important that we can make announcements that can be heard throughout the elementary school.  I would like to thank MODA for their generous grant of over $17,000 for the new system.  It is greatly appreciated.

 

Secondly, the BF-DC Board of Education approved the installation of new LED lights all through our entire district.  New lighting has already been installed in every classroom, hallway, closet, restroom, gymnasium and cafeteria.  The football fieldhouse, weight room and dressings rooms were also included as well as the bus barn.  Every light except for the football, baseball and softball fields was replaced.  The full cost of the project was $93,080.  A rebate from PSO discounted the cost by $18,339.  This left the district owing $74,741. 

 

If you are not aware of the savings of switching to LED lighting, you will be amazed to learn that our district will SAVE over $22,000 per year in energy costs due to our LED refit.  Our savings will be greater than the lease purchase payments that we will make.  In other words, the refit will more than pay for itself.

 

On a separate note, as we head into winter, it is important to think about inclement weather.  In the event it becomes necessary to communicate with you about the impact of weather on our school day, parents/guardians will be notified using our new “E-Notes” automated emergency network system.  This system will release a phone call, text, and/or email based on your preference. 

 

To guarantee “E-Notes” is working efficiently, please confirm your contact information by visiting our new school website, www.bfdc.k12.ok.us .  Toward the lower left border of the screen, you will see the “E-Notes” logo.  Below the logo, you can enter your name, email address, mobile number and contact preferences.  To be sure, the system already has your contact information from our school information system, but if you have changed numbers or email addresses you might not receive our notices.   We will continue to alert the Oklahoma City televisions stations as well as local radio outlets. 

 

I hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas break and are ready for a promising new year!


Larry R. Johnson, Superintendent

Burns Flat-Dill City Public Schools

 

 

 

BURNS FLAT-DILL CITY SCHOOLS CELEBRATES OUR

SCHOOL BOARD LEADERS THIS JANUARY

 

                         

January is School Board Recognition Month and BF-DC Schools is joining school districts across the state of Oklahoma to thank these community volunteers for their untiring dedication to public education.

 

Serving on a school board has been described as the ‘toughest volunteer job in America.’  Yet our school board members dedicate countless personal hours to attending meetings, school functions, and hours of preparation for the decisions they make. Above that, many pursue their own professional development to stay on top of the ever-changing education landscape. There are more than 2,700 school board members in the state of Oklahoma who spend numerous hours attending training and professional development. They are dedicated individuals who are committed to the continuing success of our schools and students.

 

It is an exciting and challenging time for public education in our state.  Our school board members develop policies and make tough decisions that help shape the future of our education system. They do this while dealing with declining state appropriations and a critical teacher shortage.

 

We proudly join educators and community members in saluting these education advocates as they provide vision and leadership for student achievement, academic programs, district funding and school facilities.  Throughout these efforts they preserve the core of our democracy—public education.

 

Please take the time to thank these important civic volunteers for their service:  Mr. Jimmy Piercey, Mr. Brian Mooney, Mr. Jeffrey Headrick, Mrs. Jill Birdwell and Mrs. Marva Webb. 

Larry R. Johnson, Superintendent

Burns Flat-Dill City Public Schools

 

 

November 8, 2017

Students and Patrons,

We have much to be proud of at Burns Flat-Dill City Schools.  Concerning our fall sports, our fast pitch team was very competitive and had an exceptional season.  Coach Ashton Ellis is to be commended for her work.  

 

Coach Lori Schneberger’s Cross Country team not only qualified for state but carried off the Academic State Championship for the third year in a row with a 4.0 average.  Can you say, “THREE-PEAT!”?   

 

The Eagle football team didn’t have the win-loss record that they wanted due to injuries and youth, but they never quit.  Coach Jacob Schneberger was encouraging the entire season and this drive will pay dividends in the future.

 

I also want to compliment Mr. Chad Blocker, our Ag Education instructor.  His students have been successfully involved in a number of events and his annual labor auction was very well-attended and brought in necessary donations to help fund this important program.

 

As has become the custom at BFDC, our Academic Team is once again enjoying a successful season.  Mr. John Foley’s team has qualified for the regional tournament and are seeded in first place.  Congratulations!

 

Our young band program, under the direction of Ms. Cassie Glover, has made significant strides this school year.  I’m sure everyone enjoyed hearing them play at the football games.  Keep up the good work.

 

Extracurricular activities are an important part of every student’s education.  These activities teach cooperation, dedication, self-sacrifice, discipline, a sense of belonging and many other important life lessonsParents, please encourage your child to join activities such as the school band, FFA, FCCLA, or any sport.  By allowing your children the opportunity to explore diverse interests, you give them the opportunity to discover what they are passionate about. Once your child finds an activity that they enjoy, succeeding in the activity could ultimately build their confidence and self-esteem.  Many studies also show that those students involved in extracurricular programs have better grades, behavior and work habits as well as less absenteeism. 

 

The sense of belonging that participants get is also a great reason to be active.  Pride in your school and community are priceless.  Students should involve themselves in more than one activity especially in a small school like ours.  Besides providing support for fellow classmates, it can also impress colleges or potential employers looking at a student’s resume.  Being well-rounded can be a critical component of the decisions made regarding your child’s future success.

 

In closing, I hope you can see just how important extracurricular programs are to a student’s achievement and please congratulate those students who are already showing their Eagle Pride as they represent our school and community.

 

Respectfully,


Larry R. Johnson, Superintendent

Burns Flat-Dill City Public Schools

 

 

 

Students and Patrons,

Welcome to the start of the 2017-18 school year! The beginning of a new year is always an exciting time, not only for students, but for families and our staff as well. In this spirit, it is my pleasure to welcome the students, families and staff of Burns Flat-Dill City Schools back, ready to continue the important work of our school mission – providing a quality education and preparing all students for their chosen endeavor in life.

I want to particularly thank everyone in the community for the warm welcome I have received as your new superintendent.  I greatly appreciate the confidence our Board of Education has entrusted in me and I promise to do everything I can to continue the rich educational history of our school system. 

As we open a new school year, I would like to draw your attention to the importance of school attendance. Did you know that absenteeism in the first month of school can predict poor attendance throughout the school year? Half the students who miss 2-4 days in September go on to miss nearly a month of school during the year! Did you know poor attendance can influence whether children read proficiently by the end of third grade? Did you know that by 6th grade, chronic absence becomes a leading indicator that a student will drop out of high school? Finally, did you know that research shows missing 10 percent of the school year (or about 18 days in most school districts which defines chronic absenteeism) negatively affects a student’s academic success? That’s just two days per month!

Parents, encouraging regular school attendance is one of the most powerful ways you can prepare your child for success – both in school and in life. When you help us make school attendance a priority, you help your child get better grades, develop healthy life habits, and have a better chance of graduating from high school ready to meet all that life’s challenges may have in store for them.

In closing, the BFDC School staff continue to work hard to make our schools a place where your child wants to come each and every day to challenge themselves, to socialize, and to achieve all that they can achieve as learners! Our teachers and support staff are excited about the work they do every day with your children to help them learn and grow! Our schools are lucky to have this talented staff and we are also lucky to have a strong community as well as supportive parents. Together, we all care deeply about the success of our children – and our schools care deeply about our community and its success as well.

I feel a renewed sense of excitement for the start of this school year because of the energy our students, staff, parents and community bring to our school community and all the possibilities that working together provide. Our school district excels because of this collective effort, focus and commitment. I look forward to the work we will accomplish this year.

Respectfully,

Larry R. Johnson, Superintendent

Burns Flat-Dill City Public Schools

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Contact Information

Burns Flat-Dill City Public Schools
P.O. Box 129
306 Hwy 44
Burns Flat, Oklahoma 73624
Schedule:

Monday – Friday

7:30 am to 3:30 pm

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Phone: 580.562.4844
Fax: 580.562.4847