Emily Wendler

Reporter

Emily Wendler joined KOSU in February 2015, following graduate school at the University of Montana.

While studying Environmental Science and Natural Resource Journalism with an emphasis on agriculture, a professor introduced her to radio and she fell in love.

The Cincinnati native has since reported for KBGA, University of Montana’s college radio station, and Montana’s PBS Newsbrief. She was a finalist in a national in-depth radio reporting competition for an investigatory piece she produced on campus rape. She also produced in-depth reports on wind energy and local food for Montana Public Radio.

She is very excited to be working in Oklahoma City, and you can hear her work on all things from education to agriculture right here on KOSU.

Ways to Connect

Emily Wendler / KOSU

Oklahoma City Public Schools administrators invited legislators and community leaders to "teach for a day." The district hoped lawmakers would have a better understanding of a teacher's responsibilities after spending a day in their shoes.

Oklahoma Senator David Holt spent part of his day reading with first graders at Quail Creek Elementary School. Other lawmakers and community leaders went to other schools in the district.

Holt says he knows quite a bit about the school because his kids go there, but on Tuesday, he learned a lot more.

When Donald Trump won the presidential election, he made a pledge to every citizen: that he would be president for all Americans. In the weeks before Trump's inauguration, we're going to hear about some of the communities that make up this nation, from the people who know them best, in our series Finding America.

Holdenville, Okla., is home to about 5,800 people. It has a small downtown with banks, restaurants and a few shops, though some are closed down.

Some Oklahoma City Public School Board members expressed concern about the district’s suspension rates at Tuesday night’s board meeting.

That's because African American students are still being suspended at a much higher rate than others. Currently African American students are 24 percent of the district’s population, but get 43 percent of the suspensions.

The federal Office of Civil Rights investigated the district for disproportionately suspending black students in 2014- and OKCPS vowed to address the issue.

The Oklahoma State Department of Education will invest $2 million dollars in career development programs over the next three years. This money comes from a grant, funded by JP Morgan Chase & Co.

The U.S. economy is projected to produce millions of high-skill, well-paying jobs over the next decade, but more and more kids are graduating from high school unprepared for college or a career.

So JP Morgan Chase is pumping $20 million dollars in to ten states to change that. Oklahoma is one of those states.

ok.gov/sde/superintendent

State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister is asking legislators for an increase of $220 million in funding next year, despite a projected budget shortfall.

On Wednesday, Hofmeister made her case for the additional funds—saying they are essential to keep up with a growing student population and increased health care costs. She also says schools desperately need new textbooks, and new teachers need more professional development. 

The way School A-F Report Cards are calculated may soon change. 

The state Board of Education approved a new grading system on Thursday, and it will now go before the legislature for final approval.

The new system, set to go in to effect for the 2017-2018 school year, proposes using a single letter grade with no pluses or minuses. However, the overall report card will be presented like a dashboard, with seven different criteria adding up to one score.

Emily Wendler / KOSU

Principals in the Oklahoma City Public School district are not pleased with their new superintendent, Aurora Lora, and have concerns about some of the changes she is making. They also contend that over the past two years district administrators have created a very negative climate throughout the schools. 

Emily Wendler / KOSU

Epic Virtual Charter School has been operating in Oklahoma since 2011, and just opened a new location in Orange County, California a few months ago. However, local superintendents in the O.C. area already want Epic shut down.

Officials from the Anaheim Union High School District and Anaheim Elementary School District have filed a lawsuit against the Orange County Board of Education for approving Epic’s charter in November 2015, despite staff recommendations not to. They say the charter was approved illegally and in violation of California’s Charter School Act.

twitter.com/oksde

The Oklahoma State Department of Education has released its plan for a revised A through F School Report Card system.

Schools will still receive an A, B, C, D, or F based on their performance on test scores. But now other factors—graduation rates, chronic absenteeism, and academic growth—will be included in the grades.

Emily Wendler / KOSU

Oklahoma public schools are on the ropes after years of budget cuts.  Four-day school weeks and more. We’ll take it as a big case study and and look at Donald Trump’s new education secretary.

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