New Boundaries For Tulsa Public Schools

Monday, March 19th 2007, 3:27 pm
By: News On 6

Up to 1,500 students in Tulsa Public Schools will likely be switching schools this fall because the district is redrawing the boundary maps. In fact, it's the biggest change to the school attendance areas in 25 years. The maps for almost half of the elementary schools in Tulsa will be changing some and that will move students to new schools, unless they transfer back to where they are now. The News On 6’s Emory Bryan reports the maps are changing to reflect the new effort to bring back an old idea where all the kids in an elementary school stay together the rest of the way.

School is out for the week in Tulsa, but changes coming to the district will mean in the long run, students will spend a lot more time together. It's an idea to help students learn better while they build stronger relationships.

"This way the entire 5th grade class will be going to the same middle school," said Gary Lytal of Tulsa Public Schools.

Lytal is helping plan out how the district can return to keeping classes of students together throughout their education. He says it will help teachers plan for next year.

"This way they will be able to identify those weaknesses and talk to one another and the same is true with the middle school and the high school, where if you know your students and where they're coming from, you do not spend as much time at the beginning of the school year trying to figure out where everybody is,” said Lytal.

The idea came from the superintendent and has the support of the school board. They met Saturday to hammer out the plan for the new boundaries. The superintendent calls it clustering, and it creates distinct pathways to each of Tulsa's five high schools.

The changes will create four new clusters similar to the current west Tulsa cluster, where five elementary schools all feed into Clinton Middle School, and all those students go to Webster High.

Creating the clusters forced the changes to the map, which for some students will mean changing schools and leaving old friends behind.

"What we're hoping to do is identify each of those families and send a letter to each of those families," said Lytal.

Because Tulsa has an open transfer policy, the students could try to transfer back to their old schools, but that as always is based on space, and some of the schools are already crowded.

For a look at Tulsa Public Schools current boundaries click here.