Emory Bryan, News on 6
TULSA, Oklahoma -- Monday was the first day of school under Project Schoolhouse, and all the students and teachers uprooted by the historic overhaul settled in to their classrooms.
The architect of Project Schoolhouse, Superintendent Keith Ballard, was on a walking and hand shaking tour most of the first day of school.
Ballard stopped by schools implementing the changes brought about by Project Schoolhouse, focusing on those where changes were most evident.
All that walking gave him a firsthand look at how things are working.
At Central High School -- a building pulled off the closing list -- he saw how a junior high has been added inside the building.
"I'm glad we didn't close Central, we made the right decision," Ballard said.
And he visited a junior high band class, one of the new programs made possible through consolidation.
The first day of school was the first chance to see how all the changes on paper would play out in the real world.
At Sequoyah Elementary, Ballard found larger classes because surrounding schools were closed. He delivered breakfast to the students and a pep talk to the teachers.
And Ballard was pleased with the first day at Rogers College High, greeting an entire school of new students as they start towards a combined high school and college degree.
"I've been looking forward to this for a long time, coming to Will Rogers College High, and you guys get to be first, to be part of it," Ballard said.
After a full day of seeing changes, Ballard says he more convinced than ever consolidation and all that comes with it was the right thing to do.
"I think we'll look back at this one day and say it was the turning point of restoring TPS to its greatness, I really believe that," he said.