Parents, Tulsa Public School Administrators Discuss 6th Grade Shuffle

Tuesday, October 18th 2011, 10:01 pm
By: News On 6

Ashli Sims, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Tulsa Public Schools is taking a second look at the sixth-grade shuffle. It was a controversial piece of the district's historic overhaul -- keeping most sixth-graders in elementary schools.

But was it the right decision? A meeting of parents and administrators tasked with answering that question met Tuesday evening.

9/29/2011 Related Story: Tulsa Public Schools To Take Second Look At 6th Grade Configurations

Lee Elementary is one of eight exceptions to the sixth grade rule. Now a task force will decide if the rule should be broken or applied across the board.

"I just don't think they belong in elementary school, that's just my opinion," said Lynda Chaplin, TPS Grandparent.

Chaplin worries about mixing pre-teens with pre Kindergartners.

"They're a lot older than the smaller children and they look like we do!" Chaplin said.

"It's a tough thing. It's a difficult thing," said Stephanie Andrews.

Stephanie Andrews wears two hats, as Grissom elementary parent and school counselor.

"I can tell you we love our sixth graders. We have sixth graders this year. I'm so excited they're here. They're doing great," she said.

Right now, only four middle schools have sixth grade. That's about a third of TPS' sixth grade population.

"I also know that we have sixth graders that are at Thoreau and Edison and Carver and they're very successful there. So I think it could go either way," Andrews said.

Andrews is part of the task force that would take a second look at sixth grade and make a recommendation to the Tulsa school board.

"I think that us doing what's equitable for all kids, doesn't always look the same. But that's really hard. I think a lot of people want things to be fair," she said.

While the task force is discussing, many parents are already wrestling with this decision. The district allows fifth graders to start visiting the middle schools they want to attend at the end of this month.

The 6th grade task force will meet for the next seven weeks and are supposed to deliver their recommendation to the school board by December.