Winter 2021
We're Here for Oklahoma's Public Schools
Welcome to the first edition of our quarterly HighMarks for Educators, designed to share news and opportunities specifically of interest to Oklahoma educators. Through our five programs, the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence is dedicated to recognizing and encouraging academic excellence in Oklahoma's public schools. We encourage you to share this newsletter with your colleagues and welcome your questions and comments. Thank you! -- Emily Stratton, Executive Director
Virtual Colonial Days Offered for Oklahoma Fifth-Graders
Oklahoma fifth-graders are invited to ZOOM back in time to connect with 17th- and 18th-century Americans during Virtual Colonial Days, presented at 10 a.m. Fridays, Jan. 29 through March 12, via ZOOM Webinars.

“A Tapestry of Perspectives” is the theme of the FREE webinar series, which will share the diverse experiences of early American women and men who helped forge our nation’s history. The series will feature educators and historical interpreters from Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, Colonial Williamsburg, George Washington's Mount Vernon and more.
The deadline to register is Friday, Jan. 15.
Professional Development Platform Now Open for Teachers of English Learners Statewide
An online professional development platform for Teachers of English Learners created by the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence has completed its pilot phase and is now open for teachers statewide on the Oklahoma State Department of Education Oklahoma EDGE website at

As part of its Teacher Professional Development programs, the foundation created the Teachers of English Learners Pilot Project to address a critical need for classroom teachers and their English Learner students. The project uses an online learning platform developed by NextThought to provide professional development, networking and support for classroom teachers in schools with a high enrollment of English Learner students. 

Fund for Teachers Apps Due Jan. 21

Pre K through 12th-grade public and private school teachers are encouraged to apply for Fund for Teachers self-designed summer professional development opportunities anywhere in the continental United States.

Individual teachers can apply for up to $5,000 in grant funds, and teams of teachers may receive up to $10,000. Applications must be submitted by 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 21.
Twenty-two outstanding Oklahoma mentors are being recognized by the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence and their community mentoring organizations during National Mentor Month in January.

“We salute these outstanding mentors for the important role they play in helping young people achieve better academic, social and economic futures,” said OFE Executive Director Emily Stratton. “Oklahoma mentors are truly changing lives!”
Academic Awards Celebration Scheduled May 22
Selection is now underway for the 2021 Academic All-State Awards, which honor 100 of Oklahoma’s top public high school seniors for exceptional academic achievement and leadership.

Scholarships totaling $100,000 are scheduled to be presented at the foundation’s 35th annual Academic Awards Ceremony on May 22, 2021, at the Cox Business Convention Center in Tulsa. In addition, the foundation will recognize five innovative public school educators who were selected in 2020 as Medal for Excellence winners but were unable to be honored last spring due to the pandemic.

Award-winning teacher and education activist Erin Gruwell, who was slated to be the keynote speaker for the 2020 Academic Awards Banquet, has been rescheduled to speak at the 2021 Banquet. Gruwell is collaborative writer of “The Freedom Writers Diary: How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them.” The book became the inspiration for a feature film starring Academy Award winner Hillary Swank.

Watch for more details and COVID-19 safety modifications coming soon at
Trustees Share Landmark Moments in Foundation History
To celebrate OFE's 35th anniversary, Trustee Bob Burke led a panel of founding trustees, including Founder and Chairman David Boren, to discuss some of the landmark moments in the foundation's early history. Click the image at right for video of their inspiring conversation or click below to read highlights.

The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence
Recognizing and Encouraging Academic Excellence in Oklahoma's Public Schools
101 Park Ave. Suite 420, Oklahoma City, OK 73102
(405) 236-0006
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