School for the Deaf’s Buddy Bench fosters friendship, inclusion

Eight elementary-age children stand behind a wooden and pipe bench with the words "Buddy Bench"

SULPHUR, Okla. – Elementary students at the Oklahoma School for the Deaf are fostering friendship during recess with a happy place for students who feel lonely or want a friend. They call that place the Buddy Bench.

OSD Director of Student Assessment Traci Prince was motivated to act after watching a news story about Christian Bucks, a first-grader from Roundtown, Pennsylvania. Buck originated the Buddy Bench idea at his school after seeing photos online of a German version.

His idea caught on in the U.S., spread to other schools and was picked up by the national news.

School for the Blind students test adventure skills at U.S. Space & Rocket Center training

Young man wears helmet and rock climbing harness

OKLAHOMA CITY – From repelling a 50’ rock wall to SCUBA training that simulates weightlessness in space, Oklahoma School for the Blind senior Logan McCoy and junior Will Carney put their adventure skills to the test at Space Camp for Interested Visually Impaired Students.

McCoy’s hometown is Tecumseh, while Carney is from Muldrow.

OSB is a division of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services.

McCoy and Carney met 200 students from all over the U.S., Ireland, Canada and Australia at the week-long camp at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

The Oklahoma teens fit right in.

“I really enjoyed camp – thought it was a really good experience for me,” Carney said. “It teaches you how to work as a team and a bunch of social skills.”

OSB teacher Cheryl Daniels accompanied McCoy and Carney to the Space Camp training, which is coordinated by teachers of students with visual impairments.

“Space Camp excites and educates students in math, science and technology,” Daniels said. “Students also build self-confidence and skills in teamwork and communication.”

The program is based on 32 National Science Standards objectives established as curriculum guidelines for educators and administrators

McCoy and Carney participated in different programs at Space Camp.

In the advanced academy, McCoy studied space flight and history, completed experiments and solved problems known as anomalies that occurred on three space flight missions.

Carney flew in an F-18 fighter jet simulator in a military-based aviation challenge focused on teamwork. As a member of the Jolly Rogers team, he learned to rely on other students as they worked through exercises in the curriculum.

DRS' November 4 meeting moved in Pryor

The Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services meeting at 11 a.m. today, November 4, 2015, has been moved from Administration Building A to the conference room in the Technical Services Building at the Northeast Technology Center, 6195 W. Highway 20. DRS wants feedback from local individuals about challenges related to the needs of people with disabilities and businesses that can potentially employ them that are specific to their communities. Everyone with an interest in people with disabilities, disability rights or employing workers with disabilities is welcome.

Students explore career options at Oklahoma School for the Blind’s Future Shock November 5

Two boys look at equpiment

Muskogee, Okla. — Oklahoma students who or blind or visually impaired from across the state are invited to join Oklahoma School for the Blind students at Future Shock career day on Thursday, November 5.

Future Shock is a unique educational experience featuring 20 potential employers and successful role models who help students and their families explore potential career opportunities.

Participants may attend five breakout sessions from 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. on the OSB campus at 3300 Gibson Street in Muskogee.