Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics

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Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics
OSSM logo

Oklahoma City, OK

Year Opened



State Sen. Bernice Shedrick

State Sen. Penny Williams

Chair, Board of Trustees

Dan Little


Dr. Frank Wang

Vice President for Academic Services

Dr. Xifan Liu

Vice President for Administrative Services

Mr. Lynn Morgan

Dean of Students

Dr. Christopher Shrock

Vice President for Institutional Advancement

Gen. Ben Robinson


Public Residential


11 & 12

Maximum Enrollment




The Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics (OSSM) is a two-year residential public high school located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Established by the Oklahoma legislature in 1983,[1] the school was designed to educate academically gifted high school students in advanced mathematics and science. OSSM opened its doors in 1990 to its inaugural Class of 1992. It is a member of the National Consortium for Specialized Secondary Schools of Mathematics, Science and Technology.


Of approximately three hundred applicants each year, 125 are selected for interviews and about 75 high school sophomores from across the state are admitted. The application process consists of nine short essays, submission of high school transcripts and standardized test scores (such as the ACT), recommendations from teachers and counselors, personal questionnaires of the student, a statement from the student's parents, and an on-campus interview.[2][3]

Students are accepted from all over the state of Oklahoma, and students from each of Oklahoma's 77 counties have been selected to attend.[4] Because students hail from across the state, all are required to live on campus during the week, though students living nearby often go home on weekends. Classes are held five days a week, with the earliest classes starting at 8am and the latest ending at 5:30pm, although some classes are held at night. Most students have breaks throughout the day depending on their individual, college-style schedule, but on some occasions a student has no gaps in their schedule and is given a sack lunch of their choice. Students are not allowed in the dorm during their breaks in the academic day, but are to stay academically engaged during these periods. Required physical education classes are held in the afternoon with each student participating in 45 minutes of supervised physical activity twice a week. Fine arts classes (two semesters are required for graduation) are also held in the evenings. On alternate Saturday mornings, students are required to take a three-hour test in math, physics, literature, history, or a national standardized test (ACT, SAT, or PSAT). One weekend a month is called an open weekend, with the students allowed to either go home or stay in the dorms, and the other Saturday is an extended weekend with everyone required to go home with an extra day of rest.

To study at OSSM, students have to give up some luxuries of the outside world, such as cell phones, in-room television, DVDs, and video games; students are also not allowed to keep appliances in their rooms. Two hours of study are required each weeknight from 8-10pm, with students on academic probation (resulting from unsatisfactory grades) required to study for an additional hour each night, beginning at 7pm. On Fridays there is no early study, only regular study. Lights out is at 11pm every night of the week.

OSSM fulfills its educational mission at no charge to its students; tuition, as well as room and board, is provided by the State of Oklahoma.[5] It is also listed as one of the best public high schools by Newsweek, in a list of schools which weren't included in their list of Best High Schools because the average OSSM ACT score put it in a completely different category that could not be fairly compared.[6]

Many OSSM graduates earn distinction that allows them a greater choice of potential colleges to attend. Nearly 100% of OSSM graduates are college-bound, and approximately 60% of OSSM graduates choose to remain in-state for college. Of the 1,211 (as of May 2011) graduates since the school's inception, 323 students have been named National Merit Scholars, and an additional 167 students have been selected as National Merit Commended Scholars.[4] Graduates also show exemplary performance in other national scholarship programs, with 227 graduates selected as Robert C. Byrd Scholars, and 124 students nominated for the Presidential Scholars Program, of whom thirteen were named semifinalists and five selected as Presidential Scholars.[4] Graduates excel in statewide scholarship programs, with 553 students receiving Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education Scholarships and 92 students named Academic All-Staters by the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence.[4] Twice, in 1998 and again in 2000, the school had the highest ACT composite scores of any high school in the United States.[7][8] In its 2006 "Advanced Placement Report to the Nation", released 2006-02-06, the College Board named the OSSM's Physics C - Electricity and Magnetism course "the strongest of its kind in the world". This was based on OSSM's Spring 2005 AP Physics-C exam performance, in which 20 OSSM students scored three or higher. In no other high school in the world did a greater percentage of students succeed at such a high level of excellence.[9] (It should be noted that strictly speaking OSSM does not offer AP courses).

Academic requirements[edit]

OSSM's graduation requirements include four semesters of History, four semesters of Literature, two years of the same foreign language (unless this was completed at the student's previous high school), one semester of computer science, four semesters of mathematics including math through Calculus II, three semesters of physics including physics through Electricity and Magnetism, two semesters of chemistry, two semesters of biology, four semesters of physical education, two semesters of fine arts (one each year), and two semesters of science, math, or computer science electives.[10]

Course offerings[edit]

OSSM regularly offers the following classes:[10]

Biology: Vertebrate Zoology, Invertebrate Zoology, Botany, Genetics, Anatomy and Physiology (A&P), Endocrinology, Embryology, Microbiology, Molecular and Cellular Biology, and Biochemistry (also listed as a chemistry class).

Chemistry: General Chemistry I, General Chemistry II, Organic Chemistry I, Organic Chemistry II, and Biochemistry (also listed as a biology class).

Computer Science: Introduction to Computer Science, Object Oriented Programming with Java, Data Structures I, Data Structures II, Computer Architecture, and Operating Systems.

Foreign Languages: Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Latin, and Spanish.

Geoscience: Exploration Geoscience, Geoscience Seminar

Humanities: American Literature, World Literature, American History, East Asian History, Arab Civilization, and Western Civilization

Physics: General Physics, Mechanics, Electricity and Magnetism (E&M), Thermal Physics Waves and Optics (TWO), Astronomy, Introduction to Modern Physics, Modern Physics II, and Electronic Circuits (EC).

Mathematics: Pre-Calculus II, Pre-Calculus III, Calculus I, Calculus II, Multivariate Calculus, Differential Equations, Linear Algebra, and Probability and Statistics.

Abstract Algebra (mathematics), Chemical Thermodynamics (chemistry), Real Analysis (mathematics), Foundations of Mathematics (mathematics), and other classes have also sometimes been offered. Additionally, students may arrange to take directed studies with faculty members and may participate in the mentorship program, in which students do research with a mentor who may be a faculty member or an off campus expert.

Class scheduling and course structure[edit]

OSSM uses a college style schedule for classes, in which classes generally have three hours of lecture divided into either one hour each on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday or one and one half hours each on Tuesday and Thursday, in addition to any laboratory component the class may have. Labs for Physics, Chemistry, and Biology classes generally meet in the afternoon for two to three hours one day a week. Some upper level classes in these fields however, such as Genetics, Chemical Thermodynamics, and Modern Physics II do not have a lab component.

The American Literature class used to contain a writing lab component, generally taught by a separate teacher, which meets an additional three hours per week as if it were a separate lecture class. Mathematics classes at and below the level of Calculus II are accompanied by a one and one half hour 'math lab' that meets once per week. These 'math labs' are essentially sessions that give students a chance to work problems and ask questions. It is not uncommon for a student to have a separate teacher for math lab than they have for their lecture course, and it is likewise not uncommon to have students from multiple classes in a single math lab. General chemistry I and II are each accompanied by a one hour chemistry practicum which may either be similar to the math lab or may be used as an extra hour of lecture, depending on the professor. The students in chemistry practicums are always from the same level of chemistry, though they may be from different sections.

Foreign Language classes are always offered in two 45 minute sections that meet Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with each section overlapping with roughly half of the lunch period. It is assumed that the students will be able to eat lunch in the half of the period during which they do not have foreign language. Physical education is divided into four blocks, meeting either 4:30-5:15pm or 5:15-6:00pm on either Monday and Wednesday or Tuesday and Thursday. Every six weeks students sign up for the block that best fits their schedules and choose from a range of activities chosen by the instructors (of which there are generally two). Special arrangements can be made if none of these four blocks are compatible with a student's schedule. All students are required to be enrolled in PE for their entire time at OSSM. Fine arts classes meet from 6:30 to 7:30 one night a week. A student may enroll in multiple fine art classes if they choose provided they are in good academic standing.

During the week and on Saturdays (the meal schedule differs slightly on Sunday) lunch is offered from 11:20am to 1:00pm, though students will usually have class during part of this time. It is possible for a student's schedule to work out so that on certain days the student has no opportunity to eat lunch during the normal lunch period. If this is the case the school provides the student with a sack lunch to be eaten during the students off time. Students are not permitted to eat in the classrooms.

Roughly every other Saturday morning, students are required to take a three hour examination in either History, Literature, or Mathematics. In some instances students in upper level mathematics classes are exempt from the mathematics exams, due to the large instance among upper level math students of taking multiple math courses simultaneously. During the final week of the semester, and possibly the Friday and Saturday before, students take a three hour final exam for each class in which they are enrolled, except in the case of some upper level classes in which the professor chooses to give an exam ahead of time for convenience. A student will have up to two of these exams per day. Occasionally a student will have a conflict between two exams, in which case special arrangements are made.


OSSM is located on a sprawling thirty-two acres of beautiful landscaping at the corner of 10th Avenue and Lincoln Boulevard near downtown Oklahoma City, just across the street from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Its main academic building, Lincoln School (recently renamed as Manning Academic Center), was built in 1903, having been an elementary school in the Oklahoma City Public Schools until the 1980s. Lincoln houses the computer lab (in the renovated boiler room), the campus auditorium, nineteen classrooms, six labs, a student lounge, a sun-bathed study area, basement (containing billiards, game tables, and also serves as a shelter), and faculty and administrative offices. The Dan Little Residence Hall, with a capacity of 144 students and six faculty families, was completed in 1998, located at the center of campus, complete with a basement with table games and a TV for students to use during their nightly freetime. The Gymnasium, opened in March 1999, provides a full-size basketball court, a weight room, and a dance floor, among other amenities. The Samson Science and Discovery Center was completed in 2001 and houses three chemistry (complete with hoods for chemical reaction labs), four physics labs, one computer lab, and one demonstration/lecture room as well as many personal research labs. Finally, in Fall 2003, the Senator Bernice Shedrick Library opened, with an eventual capacity of 50,000 books and 10 computers for student use.[11]


  • Student Body: 144
  • Average Class Size: 15-18, though most upper-level classes (such as math above Multivariate Calculus, or computer science classes above Data Structures I) are far smaller, occasionally as small as 2 students.
  • Male-Female Ratio: 1:1

Dormitory expansion[edit]

In April 2010, OSSM broke ground on a new dormitory expansion designed to eventually double the maximum student population, increasing it from 144 to 288.[12] As of fall 2011 it appears that this expansion has not opened, seeing that OSSM accepted only 75 students in the class of 2013.[13]

OSSM Administration/Staff of Main Campus[edit]


  • Frank Y. H. Wang, Ph.D., President
  • Xifan Liu, Ph.D., Vice President for Academic Services
  • Lynn Morgan, B.B.A., Vice President for Administrative Services
  • Rebecca Morris, M.A., Director of Admissions
  • Pam Felactu, M.A., Director of Development
  • Cynthia Brown, M.Ed., Director of College Counseling
  • Shannon Gorbet, C.P.A., Controller
  • Carroll Bennett, Dorm Supervisor
  • Chris Shrock, Ph.D., Dean of Students


  • Sena Brothers, Receptionist
  • Debra Cook, Administrative Assistant
  • Keith Forshee, Maintenance
  • Susan Greenwood, Administrative Assistant
  • Larry King, Computer Technician
  • Greg Madden, Maintenance
  • Al Shelton, Maintenance
  • Lori Webster, Information Officer
  • Pam Felactu, Development Office
  • Sharon Jorosky, Librarian

Faculty of OSSM Main Campus[edit]

  • Kurt Bachmann, Ph.D., Columbia University
  • Monique Baxter, M.A., University of Texas-Pan American
  • Kelly Chaves, M.A., University of Melbourne
  • Sara Marie Bodenstein, M.Div., Duke University
  • Shayne Johnston, Ph.D., Princeton University
  • David Kighuradze, K.ф.-M.H., Ph.D., Tbilisi State University, Oklahoma State University
  • Mark Y. Li, Ph.D., Iowa State University
  • Ruibo Li, Ph.D., University of Oklahoma
  • Xifan Liu, Ph.D., University of Oklahoma
  • Jan Post, Ph.D., State University of Groningen
  • A.K. Fazlur Rahman, Ph.D., Australian National University
  • Brent Richards, Ph.D., Georgetown University
  • Amy Roberson, Ph.D., University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
  • Jayanta K. Rudra, Ph.D., Lehigh University
  • Farideh A. Samadzadeh, Ph.D., Oklahoma State University
  • James Broda, M.A., University of Oklahoma
  • Joseph R. Skeen, M.A., West Virginia University
  • William Underwood, Ph.D., University of Tulsa
  • Dan Vossen, Central State University
  • Brian Chance, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania

Regional Centers[edit]

OSSM currently has 14 branches in local areas of Oklahoma. These branches are located on CareerTech campuses, affiliated with the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education. The primary focus in these regional centers are the Calculus BC and Physics C: Mechanics AP Exams.

The regional centers are:

* The Ardmore branch will close after the 2014-15 school year.

OSSM Regional Center Faculty[edit]

  • Afton - Jeremy Radebaugh, M.S. and Robert Miller, M.S.
  • Ardmore - Laurie McKown, B.S., and Wes Reddish, M.S.
  • Drumright - Brandon Bettes, M.A., and Jessica Decker, B.S.
  • Enid - Mike Jantz, B.S.
  • Muskogee - Olga Leeper, B.C.
  • Okmulgee - Ellen Barton, Ph.D.
  • Poteau - Sam Abbott, B.S., and Donald Murphy, B.S.
  • Shawnee - Heather Voss, M.S.
  • Tahlequah - Gil Brown, M.A., and Amanda Butler, M.S.
  • Wayne - Tony Cornforth, M.S.


http://newsok.com/oklahoma-school-of-science-and-mathematics-has-new-president/article/3727350 http://www.normantranscript.com/columns/x1746087353/Frank-Wang-is-Oklahoma-s-top-nerd-and-proud-of-it/print

External links[edit]

Regional Centers[edit]

Coordinates: 35°28′48″N 97°30′19″W / 35.48000°N 97.50528°W / 35.48000; -97.50528