Ashli Sims, News On 6
TULSA, Oklahoma -- Some Tulsa schools are now nearly twice the size they used to be. That's because Tulsa Public Schools virtually eliminated middle schools, moving most seventh and eighth-graders onto high school campuses.
"We have seventh and eighth-graders that just bring a different level of energy to the building. They're exciting. They're excited to be here," said Dr. Oliver Wallace, Central High School Principal.
As part of Tulsa Public Schools consolidation plan, the district decided to move away from the concept of middle schools.
With only a few exceptions, most were renamed as junior high schools, and like Central, some were imbedded within high schools.
A red line that runs down the hall is the only thing that separates Central Junior High and Central Senior High.
Younger students have their own wing of the building, and they start and end a half an hour earlier.
"So in that regard it's great. they have their own lunch. they have their own passing time. It's like two schools in one that's what it reminds me of," Dr. Wallace said.
While they try to keep the mixing to a minimum, administrators say it can give students a leg up.
"If we have an eighth-grade student who has the ability to take Geometry, Spanish II, the sky is the limit. They don't have to go anywhere. They can take those classes right here on our campus," Dr. Wallace said.
TPS points to research that says the more students move from elementary to middle, middle to high school -- the higher the chance they will drop out.
So district leaders hope putting junior highs within senior highs will keep more students in school.