Small Class Size, Big Future
by Pam Wanzer and Stacy Brasher
Just a few miles west of the heart of Edmond, the Deer Creek school system emerged in order to offer a small classroom size to local area residents. Even with the rapid boom over the past five years, that small classroom value is what the Deer Creek School District has vigorously protected over time.
Their support is evident by the $142 million bond issue that Deer Creek voters passed, overwhelmingly, on October 14th. This bond allows the District to catch up with current needs, plus begin expanding for the future of their schools. Jan Larsen, current School Board President, has been an active member since moving to Deer Creek 16 years ago. Her involvement has included PTO President of the High School and Middle School as well as serving on the Executive PTO for several years. Since all four of her children have graduated from Deer Creek, and she’s serving her 10th year on the board, Larsen has certainly seen firsthand the growth and needs. “This will allow us to keep up with the growth in our district and still allow us to stay at the top of the state academically,” she stated. The Deer Creek District continues to gain recognition with all the awards they achieve.
School Board Member David Miller has lived in the area since 1998. He has seen the expansion first hand, with a grandson that grew up in the Deer Creek school district. According to Miller, the district has experienced an 8 to 11 percent growth annually over the past three to five years, equal to about 300 more students.
In order to keep up with this kind of escalation, 50 people came together and served on four long-range planning committees–Safety, Facilities, Technology and Curriculum. “Their objective was to look 10 years into the future and determine how many students they would have and what would it take to support them,” said Miller. The one single criteria – maintain the small classroom size.
“Over the past few months, several patrons have worked to create a Long Range Plan for the growth of the Deer Creek School District. I appreciate the support of our community in passing the bond,” said Superintendent, Dr. Rebecca Wilkinson. “This funding will ensure the implementation of our Long Range Plan benefitting Deer Creek students.”
Miller believes the outstanding reputation of the Deer Creek District is the single driving force behind the residential growth. High School Principal, Keith Sinor, agrees, and says his staff is very excited. “My teachers consider it an honor to serve in a community where parents show that kind of support.” Now in his fourth year, he’s seen his student body grow from 600 to 950 in just a few years.
As a member of the Deer Creek community, Sinor sees new homes going up everywhere. The influx of home owners continues to bring younger children to the area, he says, which assures that growth will persist. He is excited to stay ahead of these developments.
Jim Burkett, of Westpoint Homes, can attest to the benefits of home expansions in the area. Burkett moved to Deer Creek in 1995 when his daughter was only four. Growing up in a small town, he was looking for a similar atmosphere for his daughter. They were looking for a school system with good communication between parents, teachers and administrators.
That is what they found then, and it is still true today, according to Burkett. His daughter just graduated from Deer Creek, so they were active participants in the school district. “We love it!” he says. “It couldn’t have been a more
The latest endeavor of Westpoint Homes is Deer Creek Village, located at 150th and MacArthur, the same quarters as the newest elementary school. As the fifth elementary school in the district, the bond approval secured Deer Creek’s plan for growth. Burkett says the two main things they have going for Deer Creek Village is their location and the solid school district.
“The people moving in from outside the city have done their homework,” he said. “People know with the outstanding school district and its reputation, property will keep its value.”
So what lies on the horizon for Deer Creek? Only time will reveal its continued growth potential. However, the Deer Creek School District stands approved and ready for whatever comes ahead.