TULSA, OK -- The University of Pennsylvania Netter Center for Community Partnerships has selected OU-Tulsa as its first regional training center on university-assisted community schools.
It will be part of the new OU-Tulsa Center for Community Engagement, which the university plans to use to deepen OU-Tulsa's involvement with the Tulsa Area Community Schools Initiative or TACSI for short.
OU-Tulsa says the training center will lead the way in getting higher education institutions in the Tulsa area more involved in community schools.
The university says the center will also provide training and technical assistance to universities and their partners in the five-state region that includes Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.
"OU-Tulsa is honored to partner with the University of Pennsylvania Netter Center in this exciting effort," said OU-Tulsa President Gerard Clancy, M.D. "Community engagement is a core component of our mission, and we engage in that mission every day through graduate programs in medicine, social work, education and more. This opportunity will allow us to expand that commitment, working in other collaborations to build better schools, stronger families, and healthier communities. Our hope is that the engagement of a university with the community leads to an urban revitalization that is so desperately needed."
"OU-Tulsa has demonstrated a significant commitment to its Tulsa community," said Ira Harkavy, Ph.D., founding director and associate vice president, Center for Community Partnerships at Penn. "Under the leadership of Dr. Gerry Clancy, OU-Tulsa is broadly engaging the university's resources, particularly its faculty, students and staff, in a range of mutually beneficial partnerships with the Tulsa community. The Tulsa Area Community Schools Initiative is an outstanding example."
OU-Tulsa says university-assisted community schools are designed to serve all members of the community in which the school is located.
The university says the idea is for them to function as neighborhood "hubs" or "centers," by offering comprehensive programs, services and opportunities to students, families and community members.
The Netter Center emphasizes university assisted because it says community schools require far more resources than traditional schools do and because it says universities can offer comprehensive support for community schools.
The Tulsa Area Community Schools Initiative was created in 2008.
OU-Tulsa was a founding member, along with the Office of the Mayor, the Greater Tulsa Community Service Council and the Tulsa and Union Public School Districts.
There are currently 18 elementary community schools in Tulsa, with 12 in the Tulsa Public School District and six in the Union School District.
Community schools provide everything from early childhood education to health care and after-school programs.
According to OU-Tulsa, community schools report better school attendance and reduced suspensions.
"OU-Tulsa has been a major contributor to the development of Tulsa's community schools through the school-based health clinics, neighborhood planning, developing new projects such as Neighborhood Kitchens, and serving on the TACSI management team," said Dr. Harkavy. "Other universities, colleges and their community and school affiliates in the southwest region will benefit greatly from learning about the OU-Tulsa association with TACSI."
For more information, visit OU-Tulsa's web site.