PSO Donates Over $100,000 To TPS For Community School Training

Thursday, July 26th 2012, 6:48 pm
By: Emory Bryan

Tulsa Public Schools is adding community school programs this fall, where the goal is to meet more than just the academic needs of students.

Eventually, most schools could fit that model.

Schools can no longer count on students arriving ready to learn, without any distractions from what's going on at home.

That's been part of the drive towards community schools, which attempt to meet any needs the student has in the classroom, as well as at home.

1/25/2012 Related Story: Tulsa Elementary School Gets Big Boost

Lucky Lammons heads the Foundation for Tulsa Public Schools, which helps pay the cost of creating community schools.

"Schools traditionally take into consideration only the academic needs. Community schools also consider the social needs," Lammons said.

They brought in Dr. Pedro Noguera to encourage area school leaders to embrace the community school model.

"One of my messages is that: don't just think of this as school's work, because the kids don't live at school. They go home, eventually," Noguera said.

Noguera said community schools can eliminate the gap in achievement between poor and not-so-poor students.

"We can point to examples of people who've done it, but what we want to do is create systems that do it for lots of people, not just the exceptional few," Noguera said.

The people in this workshop are already on board, but with a new donation from PSO, in the amount of $135,000, TPS plans to create a community school training program for more teachers and principals.

Click here for a list of Tulsa's community schools.

Dr. Keith Ballard, TPS's Superintendent, said, "It takes a comprehensive approach that we have to meet all of the needs of the students. A Community school will be the cornerstone of the student's life, where we take care of their needs and, of course we'll provide an education."

As of this fall, the Tulsa district will have 18 community schools.

Dr. Ballard said the district hopes to double that number within five years, and expand beyond elementary to middle schools.