Big changes proposed for several public schools in north Tulsa

Friday, December 2nd 2005, 10:45 am
By: News On 6

Tulsa Public Schools has released a new proposal to improve a group of schools in north Tulsa. It's a sweeping plan affecting 11 schools, which could lead to several schools being combined.

News on 6 reporter Ashli Sims says students at Monroe Middle School have been steadily improving. But after six years on the federal needs improvement list, the law requires a major shake-up.

Tulsa Public Schools chief academic officer Dr Mary Guinn: "students don't just begin to have difficulty with academics in the sixth grade and consequently they don't just begin to have academic problems when they enter high school."

That's why TPS is proposing changes for 11 north Tulsa schools. One of the biggest changes, combining two of the smallest elementary schools Greeley and Houston. "When you combine those enrollments you can provide a very comprehensive program including eliminating split classrooms and overcrowded classrooms."

TPS says it will launch a major recruiting effort for both Monroe and Gilcrease Middle schools. The goal, enroll more than 300 students at each site. If Gilcrease and Monroe Middle schools don't recruit enough students, the proposal calls for those two schools to be consolidated. And Gilcrease students would move here to Monroe.

Gilcrease's building would be turned into an elementary school for the newly combined Houston and Greeley students. Houston wouldn't close its doors, it would just be serving much younger students as a very early childhood center serving toddlers and infants.

And Greeley elementary would be reinvented as the district's first Family Education Support Center, providing tutoring and social services. "And we believe by locating services within the community including health services, social services and support services, we'll not only be helping the children get a quality education but we'll be supporting the families and the needs that they have."

The plans to combine schools didn't sit well with one Gilcrease parent. Yolanda Holloway: "it would be terrible if they closed this school down it’s like a lifetime thing here. We have students that used to go here who now working here.”

Tulsa Public Schools says these recommendations stem from more than a dozen community meetings in north Tulsa and they plan to have several more meetings to get reaction.