By Ashli Sims, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- The search continues for a new home for Tulsa Public Schools' new alternative program. The New Vision Academy has been dogged by a negative vision of its students. That's made it hard for the district to place the program in a neighborhood. One Tulsa Public Schools mom wants people to see the program in a new light.
It seems New Vision Academy is still battling old perceptions. Philicia Carter says it's one of the reasons she hesitated enrolling her son in the program.
"He'd never been in a program with bad kids. And, that's what a lot of people in the neighborhoods with this program seem to think. That they're bad kids," said Philicia Carter.
New Vision is a very small, pilot program, aimed at helping students with drug and alcohol problems. The concept was introduced last year as Burbank Academy and was to be housed at Bell Annex, until parents from nearby Bell Elementary protested.
Then, Fulton Learning Center was suggested. Next, was the vacant Pershing Elementary.
"Here is another program that deals with individuals, children, who may have problems and those problems spreading out into the neighborhood," said Tulsan David Phillips.
Even Monroe Middle School, which has been empty for more than a year, was met with anger by the surrounding community.
"Well it irritated me. I know my son. He's not a bad kid. He works every day, after school. He works for Wal-Mart. And a lot of these kids they just need a little direction," said Philicia Carter.
Philicia Carter's 17-year-old son, Dominique Clemons, is one of 14 to finish the program. At New Vision, he got counseling, individual attention, and he even got ahead in school.
"They actually did help me to get moved up to a senior real quick so I could graduate early," said student Dominique Clemons.
Tulsa Public Schools now wants the Grant Building, near 41st and Memorial, to be New Vision's new home.
It's mostly businesses around the location, so the district hopes it won't run into past problems with neighborhoods. But, they plan to meet with area businesses and they still need zoning approval from the city.
Philicia Carter hopes TPS's vision is realized soon so students like her son don't slip through the cracks.
TPS is also set to vote Monday on a temporary location for New Vision students. They're trying to find space for them at the Education Service Center.