Tulsa School District Presents Plan For Sweeping Changes To State School Board

State Superintendent Ryan Walters has been a harsh critic of Tulsa Public Schools' scores and the district is now making monthly appearances at state school board meetings to give a progress update. On Thursday, Interim superintendent Dr. Ebony Johnson said they’re making sweeping changes and already seeing results in the right direction.

Thursday, November 30th 2023, 5:10 pm



Tulsa's interim superintendent said the district is serious about helping students succeed and their hard work is already paying off.

The superintendent was in Oklahoma City at the state board meeting to give an update on the district. Thursday's discussion included a presentation from TPS about what they’re doing to make changes and what concerns the state still has, with specific targets the district needs to reach.

Related Story: Ryan Walters Shares New Accreditation Plans Ahead Of Dept. Of Education Meeting

State Superintendent Ryan Walters has been a harsh critic of Tulsa Public Schools' scores and the district is now making monthly appearances at state school board meetings to give a progress update.

Interim superintendent Dr. Ebony Johnson said they’re making sweeping changes and already seeing results in the right direction.

“Current schools on the F list are on the cusp of improving their grades," Dr. Johnson said.

Dr. Johnson said new objectives include more communication with parents, new progress tools, special help for multilingual and special needs students, a focus on stopping absenteeism and improving graduation rates.

On top of academic performance, the state also wants increased financial transparency after a former TPS administrator embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from the district last year.

“Part of our work in fiscal management is to make sure dollars are going where they’re supposed to be, which is supporting kids in the classroom," said Chief Financial Officer Jorge Robles.

The state also gave a presentation and Walters said the state expects at least 50 percent of TPS students to have a basic or above reading level or increase by 5 percent each year.

Right now, only 41 percent of TPS students up to 8th grade are reading at a basic level and the state average is 65 percent.

"Teach kids to read this year, let’s see the outcomes reflect that," Walters said.

The state is also requiring more reading training for teachers.

“Failure isn’t an option," Walters said. "We need drastic changes we need tough decisions made. Let’s see Tulsa do it and be the success story we all want it to be.”

TPS is set to have its next presentation at the December board meeting.

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