Last year was exceptional for Owasso Public Schools. If one word emerged to describe the year, it would be “community.” We have been investing in common goals while having a common culture that focuses on the very best education for our students.
Last spring, parents and staff worked hard to redistrict the boundaries of our elementary schools, and as a result, over 1,700 students attended new sites this fall. Teachers moved, staff adjusted, a brand new school was opened. Across the district at the start of the year, I saw people making others feel welcome. A constant theme was, “These elementary students will all be back together again at the 6th Grade Center.” Adults knew that no matter the elementary path, the students would always be one community of Owasso Rams.
Recently, City Manager Warren Lehr shared that generosity is a hallmark characteristic of Owasso. I completely agree. If you glance back over social media for 2019 and observe the activities of our students, you’ll see generosity in action. Students have mentored Special Olympians, gathered items for those in a season of need, shared their musical talents with others, served as role models for younger students and more. The students learn this from parents and others, and it sets the stage for a life of gratitude and generosity.
OPS is a community of employees of excellence. As the City of Owasso’s largest employer, our team members work together to accomplish things that no one person could do alone. We make no apologies for wanting excellence for our students, which requires excellence from employees. Our team members deliver excellence every day in classrooms and throughout the district.
A team of district leaders recently had the opportunity to visit each school and share a financial update. As I explained to each faculty, OPS is a premier school district for two primary reasons. First, education is a priority in our community. The people of Owasso know the value of an educated populace. Second, Owasso is a growing community, which allows both the expense and responsibility of educating its children to rest on many shoulders so the load is not too heavy on any one person or group.
We can do so much for our children when no one cares who receives the credit. Not a week goes by that I don’t stand in awe of the power of what we can accomplish collectively as a team and as a community.
As I watched our Class 6A-I State Championship football team on the field for each game, different players were counted on at different times to make the key plays. Coach Blankenship and his staff consistently drew from the talent of each young man to create the first undefeated season in Ram history! That’s the power of a community of athletes.
On New Year’s Day when you see the Pride of Owasso on national television, viewed by millions around the world, these talented young people epitomize everything that is excellent about our community. For every young person who performs, there is a story of people who invested in their lives. Parents, teachers, members of our faith community, neighbors, businesses — you can all know that you are part of something much bigger than yourself.
As you enter the New Year, I hope 2020 is full of joy and contentment. Thank you for investing in the children of OPS. An investment in young people will reap dividends for eternity, and that is the power of community!