Region: Oklahoma

Help Keep Our Kids Safe: Save the Classen SAS Theater Tech Teacher!

Petition is directed to
The Oklahoma City Public Schools Board
106 supporters
106% achieved 100 for collection target
106 supporters
106% achieved 100 for collection target
  1. Launched 21/05/2024
  2. Time remaining > 4 weeks
  3. Submission
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05/22/2024, 02:42

Oklahoma City Public Schools
615 N Classen Blvd,
Oklahoma City, OK 73106

Dear Chair Paula Lewis and the OKCPS Board,

This letter is to express our urgent concern regarding the proposed elimination of the dedicated technical theater teacher position at Classen School of Advanced Studies Middle School.

Not only would the loss of this position negatively impact the school’s ability to educate and effectively execute theater productions, but there is also a significant safety concern that should be considered.

The school’s theater program is a vital part of the Classen SAS Middle School community and parents have stepped up to ensure its success. This past school year, parents collectively volunteered over 350 hours to support its proper and safe functioning. Notably, 30% of these hours were dedicated in the past three weeks to assist in packing costumes, props, set decorations and theater equipment ahead of the auditorium’s renovation.

The program has also garnered strong community engagement with ticket sales rising from 1,482 during the 2022-23 school year to 2,296 this year—an increase of 55%! This growth not only reflects the quality of our productions but also the vital role that a specialized technical theater teacher and director plays in guiding our students to achieve these outstanding results.

But the technical director not only helps ensure this continued success; they will also play a critical role in ensuring the safety of students next school year.

Amid the ongoing renovations of our school’s auditorium, the technical director would be responsible for helping students navigate offsite production setups and the continued class activities adjacent to an active construction area.

We understand the constraints imposed by the renovation, particularly regarding space for construction and storage. However, we believe it is essential for the district to work collaboratively with parents, teachers and the community to find viable solutions. In just one day of sourcing, parents have already identified potential leads for space that can accommodate the needs of our technical theater program. It is both possible and viable to find space for the technical theater teacher to teach and for the safe operational use of costumes, props, set decorations and the construction shop.

We must emphasize again that the proposed elimination of the technical theater position raises significant safety concerns. Technical theater involves the use of complex machinery, heavy equipment, and electrical systems that require expert handling and oversight. Without a dedicated technical theater teacher, our students will be exposed to risks that could lead to serious injuries. The technical director and teacher plays a critical role in educating students on safety protocols and ensuring that all equipment is used correctly.

But beyond safety concerns, this position is also an integral component of a drama student’s holistic learning experience. As per research conducted by the Educational Theatre Association and others, technical theater education fosters critical thinking, creativity, technical skills and safety awareness. Students involved in technical theater score higher on standardized tests and are more likely to graduate and acquire skills that are highly valued in the workforce

Given these considerations, we urge you to maintain the dedicated technical theater teacher position for the next academic year to ensure the continued high quality and safety of our school’s drama productions.

Thank you for considering our concerns. We are eager to further discuss this matter and assist in finding viable solutions that will benefit our students and enhance the reputation of our school's esteemed drama program.

Parents of Classen SAS MS Drama Students


C.A.S.T. - The Classen Actors Support Team

Ben Felder
CAST President (2024-25 School year)

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