After eight days out of school for the statewide teacher walkout, students at Shawnee Public Schools and Dale Schools return to classes today.

After eight days out of school for the statewide teacher walkout, students at Shawnee Public Schools and Dale Schools return to classes today.

Shawnee Superintendent Dr. April Grace made the announcement Wednesday and said the decision to return to classes today was teacher driven.

"We surveyed last night and 75 percent wanted to return on Thursday and continue with an advocacy group at the Capitol. We love the passion and work teachers have been able to do collectively across the state," she said.

Dale students also are back to school today, but several other local districts remain closed today: Bethel, Grove, McLoud, Pleasant Grove, South Rock Creek, Tecumseh and Seminole. Tecumseh plans to be closed Friday as well, but will resume classes on Monday, April 16.

During the eight days, many Shawnee teachers spent time at the Capitol, but they still plan to be active even though classes are resuming.

The Shawnee Association of Classroom Teachers released this statement Wednesday:

“The advocacy demonstrated and the Capitol over the last eight days has produced admirable and historical results. Without the ongoing support of our teachers, staff, administration, Board and community, we could not have achieved such success. On Thursday, Shawnee teachers will return to the classroom. We will send a daily contingency group to the Capitol to represent us as this vital fight for educational funding continues.

Our work is far from complete, but we know that as our efforts continue over the next few weeks and months, our district and community will persist in provided the same incredible support.”

Grace called the recent events historic.

“We are incredibly thankful for the ongoing support of the parents and community during the past week and a. half. The impassioned advocacy our teachers displayed over the last 8 days has been unbelievable. This will undoubtedly have historic implications as we move forward with ongoing conversations regarding the funding of public education as a state,” Grace said. “We know these were first steps and the conversations have to continue each year. I believe you will see school districts across the state be more actively engaged with advocacy teams each legislative session in upcoming years. We are excited to get students back to school.”

Teachers at Dale, via social media, thanked supporters.

“Our staff and faculty have appreciated the support and patience shown to them by our grandparents, parents, and students as they have advocated to make education a priority in the state of Oklahoma,” the Dale post reads. “We will continue to send a delegation of teachers to the Capitol to make sure our legislators know that we will not give up on our quest for funding public education.