BAPS Considering Long-Term Options To Handle Growth
BROKEN ARROW, Oklahoma - Broken Arrow Public Schools took another step toward possible changes to its high school, which could even mean building a new one.
They've hired consultants to examine where the district is growing and come up with possible solutions.
The district continues to build - three new elementary schools and another middle school are on the way - but there's a choke point at the high school.
Even after another add-on that's in the plans, it won't be big enough.
Broken Arrow has only one high school for a district of 18,868 students. The campus has only three grade levels, but that adds up to 3,600 students - and the building is almost at capacity.
The size assures the district can have the finest programs for athletics and band - which just won another championship - but Broken Arrow now has to consider whether to continue adding on or split up students between campuses.
Superintendent Dr. Jarod Mendenhall, said, “It's more than just, ‘are we going to split into two or three high schools?’ It's really a shift in how you think.”
The superintendent said they're studying options and should have an answer in about 18 months.
”What we're looking at is everything from an academy approach, to multiple high schools, to grade centers - everything is on the table for the committee to consider,” Mendenhall said.
Parents like Mandy Bost and Nyra Moses said they see both sides, but some worry the school is too big.
"That is crazy. It's too much, and I do think they should split it up," Bost said.
Some think it's OK as it is for their children.
Moses said, "She didn't get lost and she graduated at the top of the class. So, I think she got a good education even though they have a lot of students."
Broken Arrow continues to adapt as they grow by adding space and trying new methods - like the program this year that gave every ninth grader a laptop loaded with textbooks.
But, with 350 new students coming into the district every year, the district’s greatest challenge is managing growth.
The superintendent said that's why they're carefully looking at the options over a long time.
“That's what this process will help us do, is really identify what are the next steps,” Mendenhall said.
The district plans to add ten classrooms, at least, to one building to handle growth while they figure out the larger strategy.
At the earliest, any rearranging of classes would be three to five years away - a new high school would be further out than that.