Going back to school on time in Tulsa

Sunday, August 14th 2005, 6:46 pm
By: News On 6

School started early for 15 Tulsa schools on Monday. The elementary and middle schools on the north side opened a week earlier than the bulk of Tulsa Public Schools. Some of them also had earlier starting times.

Administrators used every avenue to alert parents to the early start and at Springdale Elementary School, it worked.

The signs of "back to school" at Springdale Elementary School at 2510 East Pine were everywhere. Principal Larry Smith says most students in their seats when the first bell rang. "Most of our children were here this morning and on time and ready to get started. We're down a few students. We'll begin the process of - if those students are still in the neighborhood - we'll get them to school pretty quickly."

There were 4 first graders on Mrs. Dorsey's attendance sheet that were not in their seats Monday morning. Students who don't make it to class on the first day get a phone call from the principal, just making sure they still live in neighborhood.

340 students showed up for the first day of school, but after a week of phone calls, Principal Smith expects that number to be closer to 400. "Really, our biggest challenge is we work to communicate with our parents.”

Springdale Elementary is tackling a short summer and an early start. The first graders are back to class one week and 45 minutes earlier. Smith says the school tried to make the message hard to miss. "We certainly put flyers in the report cards at the end of the year, we kept updated information on the marquee during the summer, and also on our voicemail in the office during the summer, and the district provided a call-out to parents to remind them we started on August 15, and we started at 8:00 in the morning."

And even though most got the message, several first graders could have new neighbors come Tuesday or next Monday.

Principal Smith says the biggest problem Monday morning was in kindergarten. Springdale Elementary expected 80, but only 50 showed up.