State Superintendent Announces Record Turnaround Of Failing Schools; Local School Explains How They Made It Off The List

Walters' office announced that 117 out of 191 failing schools had improved enough to be removed from the list. One of the schools was in Tulsa. 

Tuesday, April 9th 2024, 6:12 pm



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Oklahoma State Superintendent Ryan Walters said he and his team have made big improvements to Oklahoma education. He said it was the biggest turnaround of failing schools in state history.

Walters' office announced that 117 out of 191 failing schools had improved enough to be removed from the list. One of the schools was in Tulsa. 

Students began filling the classrooms and getting to work at the Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences Middle School, but the rooms hadn't always looked like that. 

"We put in an initiative that we called TSAS is better when you're here, and that was geared towards students that we want them to understand that our jobs are better when they're here every single day," said the school's executive director, Jonathan Townsend. 

He said chronic absenteeism was one of the issues that placed the school on the state board's list of Comprehensive Support and Improvement Sites.

"It takes a village to really raise a child because the situation with absenteeism for most students is not something that is absolutely in their control," Townsend said. 

Oklahoma State Superintendent Ryan Walters said in 2024, 117 out of 191 schools were no longer comprehensive support improvement sites.

"So, it's a very exciting number, but what it really tells you is our work with these districts have been able to make sure that they're able to perform at a higher rate, so more kids are getting a better education, and that's big news for Oklahoma," Walters said. 

He said his team would still be working with the schools removed from the list but would focus more time on the schools who still fell in the bottom 5% for academic performance.

"You're going to see us continue to have an aggressive agenda towards our schools to get them on the right track because every kid deserves a great education, that's what parents are demanding, and we're going to deliver on that."

Townsend said the key to solving the absenteeism problem at the Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences Middle School. was to show students and parents how important it is for the kids to be in class every day, and he gives most of the credit to the teachers.

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