Recognized For At-Risk Readers

            The awards, announced this week at the Oklahoma School Foundation Network’s regional meeting in Lawton, recognize innovative programs sponsored or administered by public school foundations in Oklahoma. Receiving plaques and monetary awards of $1,000 each will be the At-Risk Readers Program sponsored by Bartlesville Education Promise, the 50 for Fifty Peer-to-Peer Fundraiser sponsored by the Noble Public Schools Foundation and the Novice Teacher Support Program sponsored by the Foundation for Tulsa Schools.

            “We are honoring these programs for their creativity and the positive impact they have in supporting academic excellence in their communities,” said Katy Leffel, director of the Oklahoma School Foundations Network. “In addition, we will recognize these program award winners among their peers at regional meetings so that other school foundations might emulate or adapt these ideas in their own school districts.”

At-Risk Readers Program
Bartlesville Education Promise

Statistics have shown that students who do not learn to read by the third grade are four times more likely not to graduate from high school. Recognizing that as many as 14 percent of Bartlesville third-graders did not pass the new, more difficult state reading test, Bartlesville Education Promise implemented an At-Risk Readers Program.

The reading program selects at-risk readers in all six elementary schools and provides after school tutoring, donates books for all elementary students to take home, and offers a summer reading program staffed by professional teachers. During the eight-week summer program, teachers worked with over 1,000 students and encouraged students to take a pledge to read at least one book over the summer. The foundation invested more than $38,000 last year in the reading program.

“As a result of significant after-school tutoring, encouragement of parents, providing reading books for home use, and an aggressive summer reading program, only four students were held back in third grade,” said Martin Garber Jr., chairman of Bartlesville Education Promise.

The Bartlesville Education Promise foundation was founded in 2015 to help Bartlesville Public Schools students graduate from high school and prepare for college and the workforce. More than 3,300 students participated last year in one or more of the foundation’s programs. Last year, the district graduation rate increased from 83 to 91 percent.

2019/2020 Educational Programs

We Continue to Focus on Four Key Programs

  • Improve Third Grade Reading
  • Provide after school professional tutoring (by Bartlesville public school teachers)
  • Provide Transition Summer Camps
  • Make summer months productive for Bartlesville students

Programs for this Year

  • Provide take-home books for all elementary students
  • Provide after school tutoring for all nine Bartlesville Public schools providing transportation
  • Provide special elementary tutoring for 2 nd and 3 rd graders that need extra help (573)
  • Provide Middle School after school tutoring in Math and English (700)
  • Provide High School after school tutoring in Math, English and Science (332)
  • Provide School teachers for “Credit Recovery Classes” at the High School
  • Transition Summer Camps for 6 th and 9 th graders (373)
  • STEM Summer Camp for three weeks for 3th to 12 graders with Tri-County Tech ((227 with 79
  • Elementary Summer Reading Program (275+)
  • “Watch Dog” program for 4 Bartlesville schools to encourage “Dads’ Involvement”
  • STEAM Summer Camp for low income At Risk 4 th and 5 th grade students taught by Gifted and
    Talented staff (68)
  • Boys & Girls Club Summer Art Camp for six weeks (275)
  • Boys and Girls Club summer educational programs 8 weeks (275)
  • ATLAS Program- a year-long program for the most Traumatized students in the K-5 th grade
  • Parental support program for Jane Phillips School, which is on the State Improvement List

Total Attendance: 3,100 students
Total teachers: 140 professional teachers
Total Budget: $137,000
Over the last four years the graduation rate has increased from 83% to 91%!

BEP 2018 – 2019 Activities


  • BPS was notified that graduation rates have gone from 83% to 91%.
  • There has been a 55% reduction in the number of 3rd graders that failed to be promoted to the 4th grade due to not passing the State mandated readiness test or qualified for an exemption over a 3 year period.
  • Of the At Risk students that attended the BHS Transition Courses, 95% were promoted to the 10th In the summer of 2019 we had 62 students attend the BHS Transition course.
  • After school tutoring was continued at ALL Bartlesville Schools.
  • 700 students attended either math or English after school tutoring at Madison or Central. The policy change to allow tutoring during their study hour was extremely popular.
  • We had 454 3rd graders and 119 2nd graders attend after school tutoring, with transportation home after tutoring.
  • 332 students attended after school tutoring at the High School in math, science and English. 50% of these students were economically disadvantaged.  Numbers were reduced somewhat because of the dual scheduling for those students that took makeup classes.
  • 320 students Pledged to read over the summer, and many more attended small group meetings.
  • Watch Dog (dad’s involvement) was continued at Madison and Wilson and one additional school (Hoover) was started during the year.
  • 378 students attended Transition Camps. The 62 students at the High School were primarily At Risk students.
  • 227 students attended 3 one week STEM Camp at Tri-County Tech with 79 “high risk” students receiving scholarships. Business support was involved to outline the types of education needed to be successful in in various careers.
  • Over 3,100 students participated in at least one aspect of BEP activities.
  • BEP supported the Educational Summer Programs of the Boys & Girls Club of Bartlesville by providing funds for their summer instructors. Their educational program was attended by over 275 students.
  • 275 students attended a six week Art Camp held at the Boys & Girls Club.
  • 122 BPS and 18 Tri-County Tech teachers participated in BEP educational efforts and received an hourly compensation with benefits, and over 100 volunteers helped in the schools.
  • A new program entitled “Extreme STEAM” was initiated with 68 low Income students held over a 3 week program. The Gifted and Talented staff taught the program highlighting Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math.

Total Involvement:

Tutoring and Bartlesville Schools                                               1,605

Summer Reading                                                                              320+

Summer STEAM                                                                                227

Summer Art                                                                                       275

Summer Transition                                                                          373

Boys & Girls Club                                                                              275

Summer STEAM                                                                                 68

Total                                                                                                  3,143                                    



Summer Camps Heat Up for Kids

By Emily Droege

Bartlesville Public School students will have multiple opportunities to learn in fun and engaging ways this summer, thanks to Bartlesville Education Promise, a nonprofit organization set up to improve educational opportunities and graduation rates.

Bartlesville Education Promise Chairman Martin Garber said the summer camps are a great way for Bartlesville students to learn while still having fun.

“Our summer programs are designed to stimulate student learning during the summer. Too often when students have three to four months “off” they do not continue to stimulate learning,” Garber said. “That is why we try to provide learning opportunities. This is especially important for “at risk” students.”

Beginning in June, the popular STEM Camp held at Tri County Tech will be open to dozens of students, and themes include art, chef, coding, drones, engineering, robotics and science. If interested contact Kerensa Kester at 918-331-3375.

“For our STEM camps, over 80 percent of students want to come back next year and every year the program has grown,” Garber said.

Junior and seniors looking for some pointers writing college entrance essays will want to sign up for the BHS Writing Camp. Here, they will learn to write engaging and descriptive essays for college entrance. The two-hour sessions will take place June 10-13 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. The cost is $10. If interested contact Bartlesville High School.

The rite of passage for a middle school student becoming a full-fledged high schooler can be scary. Unfamiliar surroundings, the fear of anonymity, and higher expectations raise the anxiety leading up to the high school experience.

To make the process less overwhelming, Bartlesville’s secondary schools will offer transition camps this summer to help students entering middle school or high school.

Transition camps will be held at Central, Madison and the high school. These camps are open to newly enrolled students to each school. The high school fundamental will be held in July and will introduce new students to the high school campus, plus focus on academic skills.

Classes will focus on how to stay involved, how to understand personal learning styles, develop presentation skills and how to utilize study skills, Garber said.

“Students will also explore higher education options. Field trips will also be taken to area colleges and schools,” he said.

Meanwhile, the transition camps for middle school students will be held in late July and early August. These two camps are open to sixth grade students going to either Central Middle School or Madison Middle School. Registration is $10 but the camps are free, Garber said.

“The response by parents on transition camps are excellent,” he said. “These camps allow students to meet other students from merged schools and parents especially like to learn what is expected at the new school. The students say how neat it is to learn how to open their lockers.”

The ever-popular art camp taught by a Bartlesville art teacher will be available, too. The sessions will be held at the Bartlesville Boys and Girls Club during June and July, Garber said.

Garber also said that an elementary summer reading program, where teachers work with local organizations to encourage students to continue reading through the summer, will also take place.

“Bartlesville teachers will start working with summer school students, and then go to the YMCA, Boys & Girls Club and other locations to visit with students and encourage them to read. This program is primarily directed toward elementary students, however it is open to students of all ages,” Garber said.

BEP is also sponsoring two new programs, Extreme STEAM and the ATLAS Project. Extreme STEAM will allow 60 students to attend a three-week program taught by the staff of the Gifted and Talented programs.

“This program will be for incoming 4th and 5th grades. Class room studies will focus on thought provoking subjects and will incorporate in class science, technology, engineering, art and math programs using experiments and real life learning experiences. Each Friday, the students will take field trips to provide extra learning experiences,” Garber said.

ATLAS Project. The ATLAS Project is being developed and staffed by Bartlesville Public Schools, he said. This is a year-long project, but will start in early August, and kindergarten through 5th grade students are invited to participate.

This pilot project will be taught by Bartlesville teachers and support will be provided by professionals from Grand Lake Mental Health, Garber said.

“The program is designed to help students develop the academic and social skills they need to be successful. The focus will be to help students make progress in the following areas, attendance, academics and social-emotional learning. After a half -day at Ranch Heights Elementary, students will go to the Boys and Girls Club and teachers and coaches will work with them on group relations,” Garber said.

The Bartlesville Education Promise is managed by its 13 member board of directors. All programs are funded with private donations from individuals, foundations and corporations. The primary goal of BEP is to provide opportunities for every student to graduate, he said.

“As the Bartlesville school staff recognizes the need for extra programs and Bartlesville donors continue to recognize the importance of a quality educational program, we will continue to expand,” Garber said. “It is encouraging, we are seeing improvement. Our graduation improvement tells the story. We have increased from 83 percent to 89 percent in the last three years. Our third grade reading improvement is also a very positive story.”

Bartlesville Education Promise receiving a check from Noon Rotary

Pictured left to right, Tom Gorman BEP board member, Val Callahan Rotary President, Martin Garber BEP, Dianne Martinez BPS, LaDonna Chancellor BPS, Mike May BEP, Annah Fischer Rotary, Ginger Griffin BEP, back row George Halkiades BEP, and Dan Droege BEP.
Continue reading “Bartlesville Education Promise receiving a check from Noon Rotary”

Bartlesville Masonic Lodge No. 284 Presents $4,000 to BEP

Pictured from left to right, Bob Rees, Michael Robedeaux, Kurt Haberstroh, Martin Garber from the BEP, Karl Franks and Ron Summerlin all from the Masonic Lodge.

The lodge sponsored a Saturday morning breakfast in November on BEP’s
behalf. Also received is a $1,000 Team Volunteer grant from ConocoPhillips
when their employees and retirees helped prepare the breakfast.  The
Bartlesville Masonic Lodge has a long history of supporting local charitable
organizations with their breakfasts and over the last 18 years has raised
over a half million dollars to support Bartlesville Organizations.

Arvest Foundation Gives $5k to Education Program

Pictured from left to right are Mike May, Earl Sears, Martin Garber, George Halkiades, Kyle Hubbard, Mark Headley, Lisa Cary, and Vanessa Drummond.

Arvest Foundation recently announced a $5,000 contribution to Bartlesville Education Promise (BEP). The funds will be used to support BEP’s goals of improving the Bartlesville Public Schools District graduation rate.

Kyle Hubbard, president of Arvest Bank, and Earl Sears, Arvest business development representative, recently presented the check to Martin Garber, chairman of BEP, and BEP board members.

Bartlesville Education Promise was created in 2015 to guide the Bartlesville community towards assuming greater ownership for improving educational outcomes for all students in the Bartlesville schools, with a special focus on improving graduation rates and readiness for higher education, technical school or full-time employment.

“We are sincerely delighted to accept this contribution from the Arvest Foundation,” said Garber. “Arvest has been a significant donor and partner in our goal of improving the graduation rate in the Bartlesville school system. Their continued support recognized the improvement we are making by supporting our tutoring efforts in all nine public schools, our third-grade reading program, and the significant summer programs to continue learning at all levels.”

“We are pleased to present this donation on behalf of the Arvest Foundation to support Bartlesville Education Promise’s efforts to provide greater educational opportunities for students,” said Hubbard. “We are committed to our public school system and greatly appreciate the work our local teachers and administrators do daily to enrich the lives of their students. This donation is just one of many we have made throughout the area. It demonstrates the foundation’s ongoing commitment to education and to the children in the region.”

Over $75,000 has been contributed by the Arvest Foundation in the Bartlesville region to date.

The Arvest Foundation seeks to provide funding to grantees who are actively working to create positive change for others. Major areas of focus include: K-12 education, economic development, and enhancing the quality of life throughout the Arvest footprint. For more information, go to


Garber: Grad rate encouraging |

Pictured from left to right are Stephen Colaw, Vanessa Drummond, Ginger Griffin, Ann Olegsby (Phillips 66), George Halkiades, Martin Garber, H.J.Reed (Phillips 66), and Jenny Brown (Phillips 66)

Members of Bartlesville Education Promise are encouraged that the number of Bartlesville High School students completing high school in four years has jumped from 83 percent to 89 percent.

“We are very proud that the graduation rate has increased. That’s a great stepping stone for the school board, all of the staff, and especially the teachers. You don’t get something like that without a lot of work,” said Martin Garber, BEP chairman, at a recent Bartlesville school board meeting.

BEP formed in 2015, when the group of education supporters teamed up with Bartlesville public school officials to develop innovative ways to help at-risk youth live up to their potential and have a successful future. The non-profit has a special focus on improving graduation rates and readiness for higher education, technical school or full-time employment.

During the 2017-18 school year, programs included elementary reading books and after-school tutoring for elementary students to assure all third-graders pass the state-sponsored reading test.

“BEP has really stressed third-grade reading. Kids who struggle with reading usually don’t have books at home, so we wanted to provide books they can take home,” said Garber, noting BEP donated $500 to each elementary site to purchase take-home reading books.

“It’s pretty obvious that third-grade reading is a cornerstone for any kind of graduation from high school. If you can’t read by the third grade, the state won’t let you go to the fourth grade. Statistics show that people who can’t read by the third grade are very likely not to graduate.”

After school tutoring in math and English is provided at both middle schools. It’s also available at the high school for math, English and science.

During the summer, funds were provided for numerous summer learning programs to provide a summer-learning experience for all students.

“We started a new program last year where we hired two teachers who are professionals in reading. We used their services for six weeks in the summer,” said Garber. “They first worked with the summer school kids, and then go to the Boys and Girls Club, the YMCA and the Bartlesville Public Library each afternoon and work with kids.”

Over the next six weeks, the teachers helped more than a 1,000 kids read and encouraged them to read at home, Garber added.

“That’s obviously a big item and we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to continue that type of in-depth summer reading program this next year,” he said.

Indeed, BEP will continue to expand and enhance its programs for students in the Bartlesville school district. All funding for programs is provided by local donors.

“We’re not giving up. We think there’s a lot yet to be done. We’re fundraising for continued activity and we expect that we’ll have aggressive programs for the rest of this year and this next summer,” said Garber. “We’re just delighted in helping kids get educated.”

By Emily Droege |

2018 New Board Members

The Board of Directors of the Bartlesville Education Promise announces the election of two new members to their Board of Directors. Elected are Mr. Dan Droege and Mr. George Halkiades. Both are strong supporters of education and have been longtime residents of Bartlesville.

George Halkiades is originally from Tennessee and a graduate of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette with an Engineering Degree. He is listed as Who’s Who among students in American Universities and Colleges. He moved to Bartlesville to work for Phillips Petroleum Company in the Research and Development department. He joined Applied Automation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Phillips in 1968. He worked for successor companies until he retired from Siemens as plant manager in 2003. Halkiades is an active volunteer in numerous Bartlesville organizations, including American Legion Baseball, Bartlesville Citizens Police Academy, Leadership Bartlesville Class XIII, past President of the Board of Big Brothers Big Sisters, past member of the Charter Review Committee to rewrite the Bartlesville City Charter, on the review committee of Code of Ethics for the City, Current Vice Chairman of the Tri County Tech Board of Education, on the Library Literacy Services , current Secretary/Treasurer of the Bartlesville Rotary Club, Past President of the Bartlesville Public Library Board, on the board of the Washington County Chapter of Red Cross, current lead mentor of Robotics Team 2165, Chairman of the board of Lowe Family Young Scholars program, Current Treasurer of friend of the Library board, current Bartlesville Singles Connection coordinator, served as member of united way Community Investment Committee, as serves as Treasurer of the board of Bartlesville Regional United Way, current President of Friends in Deed which hold an annual Christmas Day dinner, Winner of Big Brothers Big Sisters Ray Steiner award, winner of Boy scouts Distinguished Eagle award, winner united way Spirit award, and is in the Bartlesville Community Foundation Legacy Hall of Fame. George’s wife Jeanne passed in 2004.

Dan Droege is a resident of Bartlesville since 1970 and worked as corporate communications manager and executive speechwriter for Phillips Petroleum Company and ConocoPhillips for 32 years. He serves as a volunteer communications consultant to the BPSC bond issues team, and a founding member of the Public Education Advocates for Kids (PEAK). He is the former president of the Bartlesville Rotary Club, former chairman of SunFest, has served on the boards of the Bartlesville Regional United Way, Bartlesville Regional Chamber of Commerce, Indian Summer, and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. He is the founding member of the Bartlesville Depot Train Display restoration team. With wife Melinda they have six children, all BHS graduates. Seven of 15 grandchildren now are attending Bartlesville public schools, another three BHS graduates.

Bartlesville Education Promise is a 501C3 organization. Its mission is to guide our community toward assuming greater ownership for improved educational outcomes for all students of our schools with special focus on improving education rates and readiness for higher education, technical schools or full-time employment. Working with schools involves special attention to identify and help students who are struggling and are at risk of dropping out of school before graduation. Private funds are raised to purchase elementary books and provide after-school tutoring at all nine Bartlesville schools. Special emphasis is provided to assist third-grade students to pass the State mandatory test. BEP also provides summer camps, transition between elementary schools and the middle schools and from the middle schools to high school, and STEM and Art Camps are provided during the summer.
The organization doesn’t’ have any paid staff. It relies entirely on the generosity of its donors and the volunteers efforts of its Board members and various volunteers.