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Students to get math, science, social studies books

Classrooms across the district will receive new textbooks for math, science and social studies this fall after the Lawton Public Schools Board of Education heard the proposals by representatives of the curriculum office.

The district solicited proposals from eight vendors across science, social studies and math for elementary and secondary grade levels. The process began Oct. 9 when samples were set up at the Shoemaker Education Center, where teachers and principals were invited to view samples. Individual schools took surveys and sent them to the curriculum office. Teresa Jackson, director of curriculum and instruction, said the new books will have interactive learning features and digital copies that will allow students to work from home without necessarily having to bring their textbooks home with them. 

"Each of the vendors that were selected have the online version of the textbook," Jackson said. "It's the best of both worlds. Your child can study and do his math or social studies or science or language arts wherever you're at. They have access to everything." 

Jackson told the board that middle school and high school teachers could receive books for all three subjects at the start of the school year. Elementary teachers will have to wait a little longer. 

"I think secondary can take all three at the same time because they'll go to different departments," she said. "Elementary, there's no way because they can't house all of them at the same time."

Jackson proposed, and the board agreed, with the idea of issuing new math books for elementary schools between June and July. The schools would receive new science books in September or early October. Social studies books would then be issued in late October or early November. It will be a more drawn out process, but students will receive new textbooks for these subjects for the first time since they started school, said Deanna Burkey, Lawton High School mathematics department chair and one of the members of the proposal committee.

"These students who got their awards and walked out of here have never had a new textbook in their entire school careers," she said. "We're excited to get new textbooks, not just in the hands of our students, but for our emergency certified and alternative certified teachers, as well."

Superintendent Tom Deighan said the district will look into methods of recycling or giving the old textbooks to another district or supplier, but said they would probably ultimately be destroyed.

"Three textbook adoptions in one year is significant," Deighan said. "I've been mindful to think of disposal of textbooks. I know the community is sensitive to that. Before we dispose of textbooks, we'll make sure if we can't recycle them or see if anyone can use them. Once we throw away a textbook in this district at this point, it's barely holding on."

Later in the meeting, Deighan congratulated the board and the district on getting the textbooks and spoke of how excited everyone was to not just get one textbook, but three for the new school year.

"To see these things happen to our teachers and classrooms and see our students get so excited over books that they can't stand it," he said. "On one hand, I'm ashamed it's taken so long. On the other hand, I'm proud that we've gotten there."

The Lawton Constitution

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