Tulsa Public School's Advisory Council Approves Final Schoolhouse Recommendation


Tuesday, April 26th 2011, 10:23 am
By: News On 6


NewsOn6.com

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Tulsa Public School's Advisory Council has issued a letter of recommendation in support of Superintendent Dr. Keith Ballard's Project Schoolhouse proposal.

Dr. Ballard unveiled his proposal on Friday, April 22, 2011.

Read Dr. Ballard's final recommendation.

In a news release from Tulsa Public Schools, the Advisory Council voted unanimously that the school board accept Dr. Ballard's recommendation.

The Advisory Council, appointed by the School Board, is one of three Project Schoolhouse committees.

The council is responsible for reviewing the measurement data related to the initiative and for compiling and making recommendations to the superintendent and the board.

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PROJECT SCHOOLHOUSE ADVISORY COMMITTEE LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION

Mission Statement of Project Schoolhouse:

To examine the equity, efficiency and effectiveness of all TPS schools in order to ensure that a quality educational experience is being offered on an equitable basis throughout the district.

Roles and Responsibilities of the Advisory Council:

The Advisory Council is composed of community members with a vested interest in the future of TPS. The Council has a forward-thinking focus and supports TPS' vision, mission and core goals. Members are representative of Tulsa's diverse communities within the district. The Advisory Council is responsible for reviewing the measurement data, and for compiling and making recommendations to the superintendent and the board.

Process:

The Advisory Council began meeting on January 7, 2011 and continued to meet each Friday for the next twelve weeks. During each meeting the Council was briefed by members of the Project Team regarding one or more of the categories of data, including:

  • Demographics
  • Facility utilization rates
  • Academic performance
  • Physical plant information
  • Location
  • Program considerations
  • Other community services
  • Culture
  • Safety
  • Legal obligations/restrictions

During Council meetings, each member received and reviewed a set of data, after which they could ask questions of the Project Team and then discuss the implications of the data. The Project Team provided any additional information or clarifications that were requested.

At subsequent meetings, the Advisory Council received three presentations from the Blue Sky Group. 

The Council discussed the three proposals. These proposals were then reviewed and edited by the TPS executive staff and presented to the public as Proposals A, B and C. Subsequently, the Project Team sought input regarding the three proposals through a series of public meetings and surveys. Based on this public input and the features that were considered the best of each of the three proposals, the Project Team developed a final proposal. This final proposal was presented to the Advisory Council for their review and consideration.

On April 22, 2011, Superintendent Keith Ballard released the Project Schoolhouse recommendation to the public prior to a Board of Education public hearing scheduled for Tues., April 26, 2011. The Board is scheduled to vote on the recommendation on Tues., May 2.

Recommendations:

  • Based on the data provided to the Council, we recommend:
  • The net savings from the school consolidations should be spent first on equitable Trade-Ups distributed evenly across the district and, secondly, on special projects (i.e., Rogers, other magnets.)
  • The Teacher-Leader Effectiveness initiative should be implemented in the most efficient and expeditious manner.
  • TPS review and improve student security at all facilities, especially on campuses where grades 7-12 are located on high school sites.
  • In addition to the mandated curriculums, every school student should have access to art, music aand physical education. We recommend that the district early childhood programs (grades PreK-3) receive additional curricular and instructional support through the assignment of literacy and math specialists.
  • Additional Community Schools, especially in under-served communities.
  • An annual review of the Project Schoolhouse plan. Community members from each feeder pattern should be represented in this process.
  • The development of early childhood centers throughout the district as proposed.
  • Alternative education sites should be centrally-located in order to make them more readily aaccessible.
  • The district report quarterly to the board on the implementation of the Trade-Ups.
  • The availability and access to counseling and social services be enhanced across the district.
  • Libraries and learning labs, including technology, should be made available to students, parents and the community to access during extended hours or on weekends.

Policy Recommendations:

  • Review current transfer policy to determine specifically why parents choose not to attend their neighborhood school.
  • Review the current transportation guidelines to conform to the needs of children and families within the new school boundaries.
  • Explore implementing parent/student/school accountability initiatives (i.e., contracts, Parent Education Resource Centers/PERC)

Conclusion:

  • After a thorough review, we propose that the Board of Education approve the Project Schoolhouse recommendation dated 4/22/11 subject to the above recommendation.

Endorsed by the Project Schoolhouse Advisory Council by a unanimous vote of its members.

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