Tulsa students who are preparing for college will have better options in the very near future. For 30 years, Booker T. Washington and Carver have been the only full-fledged magnet schools in the Tulsa School district.
Magnet schools offer advanced classes to qualified students. But starting this fall, Edison Prep School will begin phasing in its own magnet program. Tulsa Schools say they have more kids who are qualified for the magnet program than they have room for. That's a story in itself. But whatever the case, they say there is a lot of interest in the idea.
The school just started taking applications for the magnet school program this week. And they say they've been taking a lot. Steve Mayfield, Edison Prep School Principal, â€œSince Monday, we've logged over 64 phone calls just at our office, about information regarding the program." For the first year, only the 6th and 9th grades would be involved. With more grades phased in each year afterward.
In about 3 years, they expect to have every grade included. Principal Mayfield says the program will be modeled very closely to the existing magnet school at Washington. Course offerings still have to be ironed out, but will basically be more advanced than what they offer now. For example, he says a senior level Spanish teacher might teach a 9th or even a 6th grade magnet class. Unlike Washington though, this will not be a magnet school exclusively. "The students who are within the boundaries of Edison will obviously be given the right to come to their school, because I wanted a neighborhood school with a magnet program, because I thought that was very important."
Mayfield says the competition with private schools has gotten fierce. And the district says they're listening to what are, for all practical purposes, their customers. John Hamil with Tulsa Public Schools "It provides for parents and students who would previously be disappointed simply because there's "X" number of openings at Washington each year." The school expects to have about 120 spots available for each grade, 6th and 9th.
Again, the new program starts in the fall. When the magnet school program is up to speed they expect to have about 50% of students enrolled in the program. Edison will be open for tours next Wednesday evening.