Tulsa's McLain High School Graduate: Focus On Successes
TULSA, Oklahoma - New information is trickling in about a push to save a troubled Tulsa school. You can now send community input directly to Tulsa Public Schools about McLain High School and Junior High.
The chronically low-performing school is the focus of an intervention. The McLain reform has become a very emotional issue.
McLain graduate and community activist Ron Robinson thinks the discussion about reforming McLain got off to a rough start.
"I don't think anyone really expected for plans and announcements to be kind of unveiled," Robinson said. "I think that was part of the shock of it."
Robinson attended the meeting Wednesday. It was billed as an informational meet-and-greet with the advisory committee members who will come up with McLain's overhaul plan to boost student performance.
When the district said it's considering applying for a multi-million dollar federal grant that would require removing the principal and possibly half the teachers - Robinson says it was an emotional bombshell.
"The community, I think rightly, said, ‘Wait a second, we don't want to go there,'" Robinson said. "We certainly don't want to go there at this time."
Robinson graduated from McLain and lives near the school. He's active with improvement projects, like a community garden.
He suggests focusing on the successes at McLain and figuring out how to reproduce them. He says the feeder schools are also important.
"The schools that are feeding into McLain, how can we work in those communities, how can we get those students better prepared," Robinson said.
Tulsa Public Schools says it welcomes that input.
"We will not be successful in coming up with any plan unless we have the partnership with the community," TPS Superintendent Keith Ballard said.
Robinson knows McLain will need drastic steps to improve. He just hopes the district understands that the conversation about reforming a school with deep ties in the community is just as important as the actual reform.
The advisory committee is made up of nine community members, six people from TPS, one State Department of Education representative and two others from the Classroom Teachers and Parents Associations.
One member said they have not met as a group yet. TPS has created a page on its website for information and public comments about McLain.