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Tulsa school gets report card

Updated:
TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ Academics, enrollment and attendance are just a few of the issues that officials at the Tulsa High School for Science and Technology are dealing with after one semester of operations.

Superintendent David Sawyer's original enrollment goal of more than 400 students for the new ninth-grade curriculum was not met. As of Friday, 264 were enrolled in the program, and Sawyer said many of those are failing and will be required to attend summer school, along with some eighth-graders set to enter in the fall.

Student academic performance topped Sawyer's list of disappointments at Tulsa's long-time worst-performing high school.

``I was hoping we'd have a heck of a lot more success in our classroom environment there,'' he said. ``We anticipated we'd have some academic issues to deal with. They've brought with them a variety of preparations, interests and motivations.''

Student failure is hardly unfathomable, given the fact that some didn't meet requirements to be in the ninth grade in the first place, Sawyer said.

``There are a number of students it appears will not meet the criteria for promotion to the 10th grade. That's not the fault of the school _ they're coming ill-prepared,'' Sawyer said.

``Our objective is to take them wherever they are and do with them what we can,'' Sawyer said. ``On a scale of A to F, I'd give us a C for the first semester.''

Sawyer praised the teachers. Many have already ``carved niches for themselves in the future of the school,'' he said.

``I think we expressed a great deal of confidence in their ability to contribute to the school and its new programs by keeping the faculty there in place,'' he said.

Last summer, energy and telecommunications labs, as well as two new science labs, were added, but some weren't finished in time for the start of school and some lab equipment was late.

A third new specialty lab, for material sciences, is under construction. It was originally expected to be completed before December but the completion date has been extended to semester's end.

``It's a work in progress,'' said Principal Cynthia Macarevich, gingerly stepping over dirt excavated for new plumbing in the lab.

Enforcement of the districtwide dress code seems to be low on the list of Macarevich's priorities. A more pressing issue is getting students to show up, regardless of what they're wearing.

``Attendance continues to be a challenge,'' said Macarevich, in her second year at the school. ``We try to stress the importance of being here every day so they can take optimum advantage of the opportunities on this campus.''
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