The goal of the OPAT program is to strengthen the capacity of parents to be effective first teachers in providing children the best possible start in life, maximize a child's overall development during those first three years, lay the foundation for school success, and minimize developmental problems that interfere with the child's learning.
Section 231. Parents Education Program
The State Board of Education shall develop and implement a program of parent education which provides practical information and guidance to parents regarding the development of language, cognition, social skills, and motor development of young children. The program shall be phased in so that services will be available to parents of children under age three (3) in school districts identified by the Board as having the greatest numbers of children whose education is considered to be a high challenge. As funds are available, beginning with the 1992-93 school year, the Board shall expand the program so that services will be available to the school sites identified by the Board as having the greatest percentage of children qualifying for the free or reduced school lunch program. The Board shall expand the program each year if funding is available to ensure that a parent education program is available to all school districts.
The program shall emphasize the importance of the parents of children as a child's first and most influential teachers. The parent education programs currently offered in other states should be examined as possible models for the Oklahoma program.
Beginning with the effective date of this act, for each of the next two fiscal years the State Board of Education shall contract with an organization to provide for technical assistance for a field operations center to coordinate the Oklahoma Parents as Teachers Program. To be eligible for a technical assistance contract, an applicant must be an affiliate member of a national organization or association providing parent education training, must have at least two years' experience in implementation of a Parents as Teachers Program, and must have at least one staff member with a degree above the baccalaureate level who has expertise in Child Development or Early Childhood Education. Technical assistance shall include assistance with training on program organization, management, implementation. Staff of eligible applicants must include a person with a masters degree in Child Development or Early Childhood, and fundraising techniques for groups seeking to implement Parents as Teachers Programs and existing Parents as Teachers Programs throughout the state. The technical assistance provider shall compile a report, utilizing data collected from the State Department of Education and the child Service Demonstration Center, on the status of Parents as Teachers Programs in Oklahoma, including the locations and descriptions of the programs, the sources of funding for the programs, and pending applications for funding. The report shall be filed with the Governor, the Legislature, and the State Board of Education by April 1, 1995. (70-10-105.3)