Hupfeld Academy meets ‘original vision’ of charter schools
Text scrolls along a digital marquee Tuesday outside of Stanley Hupfeld Academy in Oklahoma City. (Josh McBee)
Congratulations to Stanley Hupfeld Academy at Western Village for being named an exemplar school by The Partnership for 21st-Century Learning (P21), an organizationdedicated to advancing curriculum that fosters student success in 21st-century work and life.
Hupfeld Academy was honored because it provides “an arts-integrated curriculum and full-time specialists in visual art, music, dance, physical education, technology and literacy arts on staff.” Hupfeld also just happens to be one of the state’s first charter schools.
Before and after NCLB
When founded in 2000, Hupfeld replaced the failing Western Village Elementary School. This was a time before No Child Left Behind, when unionized and nonunion educators supported charters as a means for promoting innovation. Locally, this was during the MAPS for Kids bipartisan, collaborative reform campaign. Like the Oklahoma City American Federation of Teachers’ then-president Ted Metscher, I joined MAPS in supporting Hupfeld and school choice. Oklahoma City has produced a number of excellent charters, but Hupfeld was the only one that met the challenge of the original, constructive vision of charters by serving a poor neighborhood.
Sixteen years later, it’s hard to imagine such a charter being established in Oklahoma City. Hupfeld didn’t engage in the mass exiting of veteran teachers (and their higher salaries) or drill-and-kill, bubble-in accountability. At “Great Expectations” conferences, we could hear the joyous singing and chanting of its faculty long before they entered the room. Because Hupfeld is co-sponsored by INTEGRIS Health, where school founder Stanley Hupfeld served as president and CEO, it was able to “become a community center, serving the health care needs of the students and their families, and providing adult education opportunities.”
If a charter and/or a hospital were now to attempt to do what Hupfeld did, I would encourage it to welcome the teachers’ union. Regardless, I would support any good faith effort to serve an entire high-poverty Oklahoma City neighborhood. Given Oklahoma’s low per-student spending as well as the current test-driven, competition-driven charter Hupfeld Academy meets 'original vision' of charter schools - NonDoc: