TPS Principals Post Ideas On Improving District

Monday, August 10th 2015, 7:16 pm
By: Emory Bryan

The principals are in the classroom this week at Tulsa Public Schools, as the district develops a new strategy for the next five years.

The time for a new plan came with the selection of a new superintendent who said she's trying to open up the lines of communication.

Superintendent Deborah Gist already met with teachers, so Monday, on Post-It Notes, principals listed all their ideas of how to make TPS better.

7/27/2015 Related Story: TPS Teachers Give Direct Feedback To Superintendent

Tulsa MET Principal, Michele Butler said, "If we could have every dream we ever wanted, what would TPS look like? And then what are the challenges to that dream, and what can we do as principals and as a district to fix that so our dream would come true?"

The professionally organized feedback sessions are a new initiative by Gist, who has overseen plenty of the meetings in her first month on the job.

It's designed to harness all the ideas with a process that matches categories of problems with possible solutions.

Again and again, the staff has to go back to the notes and see what they say.

The principals pointed out issues that many of them seem to share, trust and the lack of it was a big one.

They also want more help in their buildings and wonder if the district office isn't overstaffed.

They need more resources for classrooms and wish TPS had the better buildings they see in other districts. That's one of the biggest bones of contention between TPS and suburban schools, the quality of the buildings.

The district is still in the listening stage, but is promising teachers and principals the ideas will guide the decision makers.

"We're serving students, we're serving families, we're serving teachers - that's what matters. So we're working to get those voices heard in the process," said Development Class Facilitator, Jamie Lomax.

In the coming weeks, the district said it will continue the meetings on the school level and get parents involved.