Partnership With TPS, Nonprofit Could Create State’s First 'Partnership School'

Monday, June 5th 2017, 10:53 pm
By: Justin Shrair

The state’s first partnership school may soon be up and running.

The Tulsa Public Schools board focused part of their meeting Monday on an informational session that may lead to a possible contract with a nonprofit that would oversee the school.

The school is called Greenwood Leadership Academy, and if approved it would operate inside the Academy Central Elementary School.

If the contract is approved between TPS and the Met Cares Foundation, the partnership school would use some of TPS’s resources.

"This year in August when the school opens, we'll have Pre-K, K and first graders. We have a capacity for 180 students," said Ray Owens, Chairman of the Board for the Met Cares Foundation and pastor of the Metropolitan Baptist Church in Tulsa.

Owens said the students in the academy would be considered TPS students and the school would be a hybrid - different from a charter school and a district school.

"The school actually considers the kids in Greenwood Leadership Academy as Tulsa Public Schools students. They are still TPS students, we will use a TPS building," Owens said.

Every student would be expected to learn how to develop his or her own business plan. It’s a model other schools around the country are already using.

"Target kids from this particular community, largely African American. Many of the kids in the neighborhood would be working class, maybe lower middle-class families, but the model is focused on business and entrepreneurship," Owens said.

TPS will provide maintenance and transportation. The Met Cares Foundation will then provide some of the remaining funding.

It will be used to pay teachers and administrators and for the curriculum. State money will fill in the rest of the gaps.

Owens said, "It’s by in large a publicly funded school, but in the initial stage it is a public-private partnership because, in order to get started, we do have to have some private funds."

Owens said they've already raised funds to be able to have a transition of about eight months.

Before it’s finalized, the contract still has to go for a vote. If it's approved, the school is slated to open in August.