Shaping Our Future
The 2019-2020 school year marks our 4th year of Destination Excellence - it's hard to believe that we are this far along in our journey! We have made some important gains during that time with double-digit increases in our graduation rate, continued academic growth based on NWEA MAP assessments, and significant improvement in employee engagement.
We have also had many opportunities to listen to and learn from our team, parents, and families about what is working well and where we need to improve. Based on that feedback, it is clear that we must redesign our system to make teaching and learning in Tulsa more equitable and more accessible.
With a focus on shaping our future to ensure that our students have robust, holistic, and engaging learning experiences, we are undertaking three important areas of work this year:
- *Updated* Implementing an improved enrollment system
- *Updated* Creating consistency in grade configurations
- *Updated* Identifying strategic investments and resource reallocations
With our improved enrollment process:
- Families have one application and one application period;
- Families can choose multiple schools and rank them in order of preference; and
- Families have access to relevant and timely information to help them make decisions about their child's education.
The application is now open for families who are enrolling children for the 2020-2021 school year. Find out more here.
The focus for the first year of this enrollment system is on ensuring that our system is designed to help all students have access to exceptional learning experiences, but the rules, criteria or priorities that govern who is accepted in our schools are not changing.
We know that transitions can be hard for students, and we want to minimize the number of times they move between schools.
- With 14 different grade configurations district-wide, our system is difficult to navigate.
- Creating consistency in the grade configurations of our schools will make it easier for students and families to move between elementary, middle, and high school as children grow.
In early December, Superintendent Gist shared with the community the proposed changes that will be submitted to our Board of Education in January 2020. If these recommendations are approved by our Board, beginning in the 2020-2021 school year:
- Rogers and Central would become 6th-12th grade campuses;
- Memorial Junior High would become a 6th-8th grade middle school;
- 6th grade at Burroughs, Emerson, Academy Central, and Tisdale would move to Central;
- 6th grade at Key, Marshall, and Salk would move to Memorial;
- Rising 6th graders at Sequoyah would have preference at Rogers or attend Monroe as their neighborhood school; and
- Rising 6th graders at Kendall-Whittier Elementary would have preference at Rogers.
We know from research and experience that minimizing transitions supports strong academic performance and helps foster meaningful relationships with teachers and peers. Additionally, in a middle school setting, students will have expanded access to developmentally appropriate activities, spaces, and experiences. It is our intention that by the 2021-2022 school year, students at Tulsa Public Schools would experience no more than two transitions - from 5th to 6th grade and from 8th to 9th grade.
We are also considering the possibility of creating a pre-kindergarten through 8th grade campus in the Memorial, Hale, and East Central neighborhoods. This is a model that has proven successful in school districts throughout the country, and we are working to consider this model for our district.
Over the fall semester, we initiated a community engagement effort to gather feedback from our teachers, parents, students, staff, and community members about the programs, services, and supports that matter most to them. While this was a hard experience for our workshop participants, they provided some invaluable feedback that ultimately helped us to shape a set of proposed recommendations.
Learn more about our Shaping Our Future budget redesign effort here: