Middle School Shutting Its Doors For Good

Tuesday, April 10th 2007, 8:02 pm
By: News On 6

A struggling Tulsa middle school will close its doors. The Tulsa School Board voted to close Monroe Middle School and send the students to Gilcrease Intermediate. The student body at Gilcrease will more than double, and teachers will have to re-interview and sign on to a school philosophy to teach there. The district hopes a new plan in a new building will give students a fresh start. But The News On 6’s Ashli Sims reports the new plan is full of old ideas.

News that Monroe will soon close shocked and upset several parents.

"My reaction is it's a shame,” parent Delores McMillon said. “Because the parents aren't being involved, there's no notice, no letters or anything."

"I think it’s terrible. I think they need to keep it open,” said parent Vonda McClellan. “The children need their schools over here."

The Tulsa school board voted Monday night to close Monroe and send the students to Gilcrease. Now every teacher at Gilcrease and Monroe will have to re-apply and be interviewed by a team of people to be able to stay at the new Gilcrease. If selected, they will have to sign a contract agreeing to the school philosophy.

Chief Academic Officer Dr. Mary Guinn says the Gilcrease teachers will be constantly engaged in professional development. Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Zolkoski has talked about offering a stipend to encourage national board certified teachers to transfer. And Guinn says they also hope to attract students and teachers by offering arts electives, including vocal music and band instruction. Dr. Guinn says the district will start putting the new plan in place this month.

But some of these ideas were already supposed to be in place. A document dated December of 2005, and approved by the board a month later, promised more professional development for Monroe teachers, financial incentives for teachers and staff and more fine arts. But it seems like those promises never turned into action. The Tulsa Classroom Teachers Association says those salary incentives, promised last year, still have not been paid. In 2006 the district also promised to boost teacher recruiting and retention at Monroe, yet the school still doesn't have a full-time science teacher.

“We gave them a state of art science lab but we didn't give them a certified science teacher,” said Oma Jean Copeland of the Tulsa School Board. “They had teachers from the resource center that came out on a temporary basis."

There's lots of talk about Monroe students not making the grade, but Gilcrease students also did not meet state standards last year. Plus, more than half of them are not on grade level in math or reading.

Related stories:

12/16/2005 Meeting To Discuss Proposed Changes To Several North Tulsa Schools

12/2/2005 Big Changes Proposed For Several Public Schools In North Tulsa

1/10/2006 Tulsa School Board Tables Action On A School Consolidation Plan

1/18/2006 Tulsa Public Schools' North Tulsa Plan For Monroe

3/17/2007 Changes On The Horizon For Tulsa Public Schools

3/19/2007 New Boundaries For Tulsa Public Schools

3/22/2007 Monroe Middle School On The Chopping Block

3/26/2007 Child Development Center Faces Closing For Good

4/9/2007 Changes In Store For Some Middle School Students