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Checotah High School’s principal recently addressed Oklahoma public school leaders on progress that CHS is making in helping students from disadvantaged populations achieve more, a media release states.

Brian Terry spoke at Oklahoma GEAR UP’s Leadership Training, a collaboration of school leaders from 24 designated GEAR UP school districts working together to share and implement best practices in education.

Oklahoma Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP), administered by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, is a college access program that provides students and their families with college planning resources. Since its inception in 1999, GEAR UP has helped improve educational outcomes for millions of low-income students, including thousands in Oklahoma. Checotah was selected as an Oklahoma GEAR UP school district in 2011.

Terry said that through its partnership with Oklahoma GEAR UP, Checotah has provided training for all faculty members on Dr. Ruby Payne’s “A Framework for Understanding Poverty.” This training helps educators understand the unique challenges and barriers that students from poverty face. Poverty can affect a student’s educational approach and aspirations. This training has direct application for Checotah because of its 96 percent free and reduced lunch rate, meaning a high percentage of students are from under-resourced homes.

Checotah also is enhancing classroom teaching strategies through staff training on best practices and curriculum development. Educators are taking a closer look at student data and working in Professional Learning Communities or teams to create formative assessments that measure student performance more individually and help teachers target more specifically the needs of each student. This process not only improves student performance but also provides a benefit to faculty by allowing them to show improvement on their teacher evaluations.

“We are pleased to see the progress through our partnership with Checotah Public Schools,” says Jolynn Horn, assistant vice chancellor for Oklahoma GEAR UP. “The strategies and training Checotah is adding to their professional toolbox will reap dividends down the road in terms of student and teacher success.”

Information: or Oklahoma GEAR UP on Facebook or Twitter.

Source: Muskogee Daily Phoenix